Over one year after 34 dogs were seized from a breeding operation, the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS) has been granted ownership of the dogs.
The dogs were living in “some of the worst conditions ever seen at a breeding operation,” Animal Protection officers said in December 2016.
“We are pleased with the judge’s ruling to grant EHS ownership of these dogs,” Miranda Jordan-Smith, chief executive officer of the EHS said in Thursday’s release. “This case sets a precedent for animal welfare in Alberta, where EHS exercised the full extent of the law to ensure the humane treatment of animals in our care. Now that ownership has transferred to us, the extensive care necessary to give these dogs the best possible futures can be provided.”
The EHS filed a civil suit against Justin Iverson, who has been charged along with Christine Archambault, in April of last year for ownership of the dogs.
No additional information can be released on the dogs’ conditions, or when they may be available for adoption. Many still require specialized medical treatment and surgeries before they will be ready.
“So now that we have full custody of these animals we’re able to address some of the ongoing medical concerns that they have.” EHS manager of animal health and protection Jamey Blair said. “And as we begin to do that then we’ll be looking to get these animals into forever homes over the coming weeks and months.”
Those procedures could not be performed previously due to the “complexity and length of both the civil and criminal cases,” the release read.
“We’re not set up to house animals for long periods of time, it’s more of a temporary stop,” Blair said. “So we wanted to ensure that we are able to provide the best medical treatment for these animals and be able to get them into their forever homes.”
The dogs were seized from a home in November 2016 after EHS received a complaint about the conditions at the breeding operation. Animal Protection officers said the dogs were being kept in kennels, living in their own urine and feces.
The conditions had cause significant health problems.
“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,” peace officer B. Grey said in a media release in 2016. “That’s very typical of a situation where animals are being kept in those conditions.”
The dogs seized were bully breeds and ranged in age from puppies to adults.
The charges laid against Iverson and Archambault 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.
Iverson was also charged by Edmonton police under the Criminal Code with two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
With files from Caley Ramsay, Global News/Thomas Dias, 630 CHED