On Sunday, Edmonton police officers and peace officers from Animal Control and Care searched an acreage near 247 Avenue and 18 Street.
“The investigating officers described the residence as having pretty much every square inch puppies in it,” Edmonton Police Service spokesperson Scott Pattison said.
“They were in playpens, some were on a porch outside — a covered porch — some were in hallways, in kennels. It appeared the breeder had tried to hide some of them as well during the raid.”
While investigators were searching the home, police said they discovered several puppies hidden inside a closet and beneath a hutch in the home.
According to police, a total of 72 dogs — mostly Havanese ranging from two-week-old puppies to fully grown dogs — were found inside the house.
The dogs showed signs of severe neglect and potential illness, according to police, who said they were in “less than appealing” conditions.
“One officer described the residence there to have an overwhelming stench of urine and feces,” Pattison said, adding the officers said it was difficult to breathe.
At that point, the dogs were seized by peace officers.
Police say they were tipped off after reports of serious neglect from several people looking to purchase puppies. According to EPS, the puppies were posted for sale on Kijiji.
Pattison said on the weekend, a potential customer went to the acreage but refused to buy a puppy when he saw what condition it was in. “The dog was not as pictured on the website.”
On Tuesday, police said the puppies were undergoing physical examinations at the Animal Control and Care facility, located adjacent to the Edmonton Humane Society in the city’s northwest.
Animal Control and Care said its officers first attended the property alone, but returned a second time with Edmonton police.
Gloria Sears, 57, was charged under both the Criminal Code and the Animal Protection Act (APA) with causing animals to be in distress and failing to provide adequate care.
Police said Sears is also facing additional charges under the APA, including causing an animal to be in distress, failing to provide adequate food and water and failing to provide adequate shelter, space and ventilation.
Police would like to speak with any other potential consumers who may have visited the property.