PEACHLAND — When Okanagan SPCA investigators received the complaint, alarm bells starting going off.
A hiker had claimed to have stumbled upon an eerie scene near Peachland — abandoned dog houses in the middle of nowhere with no sign of the animals.
With visions of the sled dog slaughter in Whister in 2010, the SPCA immediately began to investigate.
After a 45 minute walk, the officers found what they were looking for. Deep in the bush were several dog shelters — all of them empty — just like the complainant had described. The place was deserted.
But despite appearances, investigators say it doesn’t look like they’re dealing with a case of animal cruelty.
“It appears to be a legitimate outfitting camp where they would bring their dogs after a hunt,” says Senior Animal Cruelty Investigator, Kathy Woodward. “My worst fear was another Whistler where a group of dogs was left to breed and from the information we had received the animals had met their end.”
But the investigation doesn’t end here.
The complainant also claims to have found several bones at a nearby gravel pit and the strong smell of rot.
“The complainant said they came across a pit with charred remains of dogs and very foul odours,” says Woodward.
But an extensive search of the area failed to find any charred remains but investigators could smell the foul odour, however, they couldn’t pin point where it was coming from — meaning the investigation isn’t closed.
The SPCA says it has learned that owner of the dogs is an American citizen who uses them to hunt bears. Investigators are currently tryingto contact that individual.
The SPCA says it will also be contacting the complainant in an effort to pin point the bones she claims to have seen at a nearby gravel pit.