February 8, 2018 7:05 pm

Danielle Smith: Help these guys get their dogs back

Members of the City of Calgary's safety response unit were on scene at a Fred Brokop's farm as part of a public health investigation.

Global News

Calgary Humane Society: what in the world are you doing? Holding dogs for ransom?

On Wednesday, I interviewed Michael Murphy, who was a tenant at the Calgary acreage of Fritz Brokup that was raided a few weeks ago. I wrote about the bizarre use of force at the time – three tactical units with dozens of officers and bureaucrats descending on the place with guns drawn and smashing down doors. Seemed like overkill to me. But it gets worse.

LISTEN: Michael Murphy wants to be reunited with his dog, Tilly.

Story continues below

READ MORE: Guns found, arrest made in Calgary animal cruelty investigation: sources

Murphy was only living on the farm for a few weeks when the raid occurred. He was handcuffed and removed from the property until he was allowed back a day later. His 11-year-old dog Tilly was taken.

Murphy said he was told this week he couldn’t have her back until he paid a $2,000 vet bill. Apparently, the dog had parasites and needed “emergency” dental work.

Michael was told he had until Friday at 7 p.m. to pick her up or she’d be adopted out to someone else.

I spoke to his roommate Anthony Moore on Thursday. He has a similar story. He has a purebred Siberian husky named Leo and two of his puppies. They are expensive dogs.

His vet bill is $4,500 for the same thing – parasites and “emergency” dental work. The puppies were sent for blood work, but didn’t show any signs of problems. Once again, he was told, “hand over $4,500 by Friday or your dogs are gone.”

LISTEN: Danielle Smith talks to Anthony Moore about his 3 dogs who have been taken away from him

READ MORE: ‘Public health concerns’ in residences on Calgary farm where animals seized: AHS

As many of my dog-owning listeners pointed out, nothing they heard from these two owners is evidence of neglect or cruelty.

If you have an outdoor dog, it is going to get into all kinds of stuff and pick up parasites. It happened to my dogs at the end of last year and I treated them with deworming pills. No big deal.

If you have a dog that chews bones, a broken tooth is not unusual either. Moore said his dog had no sign of pain so he was going to get it looked into at his regular vet visit in a couple of months. That also happened to my dog: the doggie dentist I went to told me Caine was showing no signs of pain so it wasn’t necessary to fix it.

Do either of these owners sound like degenerate scofflaws abusing animals? Not to me.

I asked the Calgary Humane Society to explain themselves and they declined to comment. But they did send this email to one of my listeners:

“We have received several calls and emails from members of the public regarding the recent Postmedia story about a gentleman by the name of Mike Murphy claiming he and his dog Tilly are ‘caught up’ in his landlord’s animal neglect investigation.

This is an ongoing investigation which limits what we can say, however, we are able to say this claim is completely false. Charges are pending against anyone responsible for animals in relation to this property and we will be in a position to go public with charges in the next couple of weeks.

While we know it is difficult to see stories such as this, please know Calgary Humane Society only treats animals that are seized in order to relieve their distress and does not do any unnecessary, elective or cosmetic procedures on them.

While costs for these emergency treatments can sometimes be costly, Calgary Humane Society is also not able to provide free or even discounted medical treatment as it could jeopardize our license and ability to operate.

These medical bills –  in most cases– are the result of a failure of the owner to provide the necessary care, which is a criminal offense.

We thank you for your patience while we work to complete this investigation. We urge the public to reserve judgment until the file resolves.”

I’m sorry Calgary Humane Society, but I simply don’t believe you.

It seems to me that someone overreacted and called in a massive raid on this property with very little reason and now everyone is scrambling to justify the mistake.

READ MORE: Animal carcasses, bones among AHS findings on rural Calgary property

After hearing these stories, if you are as outraged as I am I’d like you to do two things.

First, contact the Calgary Humane Society and tell them to give these men their dogs back. Also, tell them you will not give them a single red cent in a donation until they start focusing on real cases of animal cruelty. You can reach them through their website.

Second, if you have $10 or $100 you can help Moore get his dog Leo and his two puppies back by donating to his Go Fund Me page. You can do that here.

(Note: Murphy also has a Go Fund Me page but has raised enough money to pay the bills.)

We’ll keep you posted on how this turns out.

Danielle Smith can be reached at danielle@770chqr.com.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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