December 24, 2015 11:01 am
Updated: December 24, 2015 4:41 pm

‘Happy ending’ for emaciated and neglected dogs seized in southern Alberta

WATCH: We’re getting an update on how hundreds of emaciated dogs seized in southern Alberta last year are doing. Dallas Flexhaug reports.


CALGARY – The Alberta Animal Rescue Society (AARCS) is showcasing the tremendous progress dozens of neglected dogs have made since being seized from rural property in southern Alberta last year.

A total of 201 emaciated dogs were apprehended from an area outside of Milk River, Alta on Dec. 23, 2014.

READ MORE: SPCA removes 201 emaciated and neglected dogs from southern Alberta property

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The emaciated animals were living outside in the cold with no food or water and little to shelter them from the elements. AARCS, which took ownership of the dogs in January, described the conditions as “horrendous.”

The Alberta SPCA, said the seizure was the largest removal of dogs in its history.

“This was the worst case of neglect we had ever seen,” said Deanna Thompson, executive director of AARCS. “The dogs came to us extremely emaciated with badly matted fur, dehydrated and very hungry. Some had broken bones, gaping wounds and were riddled with parasites.”

Of the 201 dogs seized only one had to be euthanized.

The remaining dogs have recovered and almost all have found new homes.

Frills was brought to the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) from Milk River. She had surgery to fix an old break in one of her legs which hadn’t healed properly and will now live a pain-free life.


“They were adopted into loving forever homes and we can only hope that they have forgotten their past and will live happily ever after.”

“They have all gained back their weight, their fur is clean and groomed and they will never know another cold day or empty stomach.”

AARCS took 60 of the neglected dogs during the seizure and say all but two, Frills and Hamilton, have been adopted out (although Fills has an application pending). Two others are still available at the Red Deer SPCA.

Hamilton arrived at the Alberta Animal Rescue Society (AARCS) from Milk River and was “significantly malnourished.”


“The majority of the public are animal lovers and they don’t want to see any animal suffering,” Thompson told Global News. “We always look at it as a happy ending for these dogs.”

April Irving, 56, is charged with animal abuse in connection to the seizure.

READ MORE: April Irving complains she has received death threats

Her last court appearance was on Dec. 18, when her lawyer made an application to the court for a psychiatric assessment.

The assessment will take place at the Alberta Psychiatric Centre, during which time her mental well-being at the time of the alleged incidents will be under review to determine if she can be held criminally responsible for her actions.

Irving is next scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 21.

– With files from Dallas Flexhaug and 

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