CALGARY – The SPCA has seized dozens of pets from a southern Alberta animal sanctuary after an investigation sparked by a tip from the public.
45 dogs and 20 cats were temporarily taken from Oops-a-Dazy on Tuesday.
“The Alberta SPCA had a couple of concerns that we had already identified,” says Christine Campbell, chairwoman of the Oops-a-Dazy board.
One of the concerns is a large outdoor area for dogs, which the SPCA felt should be altered to become several smaller pens.
“We have a couple of main, large play yards for the dogs,” says Campbell. “[The SPCA] wanted additional fencing put in place, so we could help house them in more behaviorally compatible groups.”
Campbell says the suggestion was one they “whole heartedly agreed with.”
“We actually had fencing installers scheduled for this week,” she adds.
The SPCA says the dogs and cats were in distress at the time of the seizure.
“It was determined that all of the animals that were removed were in distress, that is the reason that they were removed,” says Roland Lines, SPCA.
While he wasn’t able to comment on the specific state of the animals in question, Lines clarified what is meant when officials say a cat or dog is ‘in distress.’
“In general it may be sick, it may be injured, it may be malnourished or dehydrated… it can also be in distress because the surroundings of where its being kept are dangerous,” says Lines.
Campbell disagrees, and says that she isn’t aware of any of the animals at Oops-a-Dazy being in distress.
However, the organization admits the number of pets in their care was lofty at the time of the seizure.
“Definitely the number was high, that’s higher than we want,” says Campbell.
Oops-a-Dazy had issued a hold on animal intake two months ago, but says area residents who were aware of their location continued to anonymously drop off pets.
“This foster home has been there for ten years and is well known in the community for taking animals in need, so when community members find them, they’ll often just bring them there,” says Campbell. “If nobody is home, sometimes they’ll just leave them, and we don’t necessarily have control over these new animals coming in.”
In a statement posted on their Facebook page, the organization said they “have been reviewing [their] foster home program and policies for the last several months and will continue to do so,” adding that “the board had identified a number of strategies to prevent overcrowding and ensure that all animals receive the best of care.”
Meanwhile, Campbell says Oops-a-Dazy hasn’t been shut down. The organization has ten days in which they must fix the issues identified by the SPCA.
“All of [our foster homes] are still functioning absolutely as normal.”
The SPCA says their investigation is still active, and it’s unknown if they will lay charges.
The investigation was sparked by a tip from the public.
BELOW: Read the complete statement from Oops-a-Dazy regarding the seizure of their animals by the SPCA.
“We are cooperating with the Alberta SPCA to complete a review of our foster home who recently became overwhelmed with animals. We implemented a hold on animal intake several weeks ago because we were at full capacity. Unfortunately, animals continued to be dropped off anonymously to this location and our calls for foster homes just couldn’t keep up. We were actively working on addressing the situation.
We have been reviewing our foster home program and policies for the last several months and will continue to do so. The board had identified a number of strategies to prevent overcrowding and ensure that all animals receive the best of care. We had arranged for additional fencing planned for installation this week so that we could create smaller groupings of dogs while we were avidly recruiting additional foster homes.
All of the animals were very well cared for but we appreciate the SPCA’s assistance while we complete some planned facility upgrades, such as the fencing.
We appreciate your support while we continue to investigate and make improvements to our policies.”