Two Edmonton dog breeders have been charged after several dogs were found living in what Animal Protection officers called “some of the worst conditions ever seen at a breeding operation.”
Animal Protection officers were called to a local breeder last week after receiving a complaint of a “dire situation” at the operation.
“In my six years as an Animal Protection officer with EHS (Edmonton Humane Society), this was the highest density of dogs I have witnessed being kept in kennels, living in their own urine and feces,” peace officer B. Grey said in a media release. “As a result of the conditions these dogs were kept in, their health has deteriorated.
“In general you can see things such as urine burning and scalding on the feet when it actually eats away at the skin and causes these raw burns for animals. That’s very typical of a situation where animals are being kept in those conditions.”
Grey said it’s not known how long the animals were living in these conditions. She would not specify exactly how many dogs were seized but said it was dozens.
“A lot of these were bully breeds. They’re a variety of ages – puppies, adult dogs – it’s a variety of everything.”
With help from Edmonton police, the dogs were seized and are now being kept in protective custody at the Edmonton Humane Society. A few of the dogs have been surrendered by their owners.
Justin Iverson and Christine Archambault have been charged with eight counts each of animal cruelty under the Animal Protection Act. The charges include causing or permitting an animal to be in distress, failure to provide adequate food and water, failure to provide adequate care when wounded or ill and failure to provide adequate shelter, ventilation and space.
“Four charges are for a specific dog and the other four charges are encompassing the other dogs,” Grey explained. “There’s many more than eight dogs. The way we charge is per species.”
The maximum penalty a person can face for charges like these is a fine up to $20,000 and a lifetime ban on owning animals.
“In our cases, the prohibition is really what we aim for. If a person can’t have animals again, they can’t do it again,” Grey explained.
Edmonton police said Iverson was also charged under the Criminal Code with two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
The Edmonton Humane Society said this was a high profile case on social media and suspicions about the breeder had previously circulated, but officers aren’t able to investigate concerns without a complaint from someone with first-hand knowledge.