“This is probably the largest amount of dogs we’ve taken from a seizure situation,” said executive director Michelle Spark.
The shelter has a capacity of 26 animals. Spark said they’re now caring for more than 40.
“It’s been pretty crazy,” she said.
Last week, Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan (APSS) said it removed 34 dogs from a property in the RM of Fish Creek.
“We had a number of complaints come in from members of the public regarding dogs at large or dogs that appeared thin in nature,” said Don Ferguson, executive director of the provincial agency.
“Veterinarians body condition score animals on a scale of one to five,” Ferguson explained. “One being emaciated and five being obese. Most of the dogs were in a body condition score of one.”
The humane society in North Battleford took in 21 of the seized dogs. Spark said some of them are up to 20 pounds underweight and many of the puppies are underdeveloped.
“They’re about the size of five-week-old puppies instead of eight-week-old puppies,” Spark said.
Despite the circumstance under which they were found, Spark noted the dogs were very friendly.
“They’re really social,” she said. “Some of them have some resource guardian issues with other dogs, but with people we haven’t seen any aggression.”
Since posting about the situation on Facebook over the weekend, there’s been an outpouring of support.
“We’ve had an overwhelming response — we have lots of foster home applications to go through,” Spark said.
However, caring for the dogs, particularly the puppies, is a lot of work according to Spark.
“There’s lots of cleaning to do,” she noted. “Puppies are fed four to five times per day — small amounts — so that takes up a lot of time.”
The humane society is looking for volunteers and help with medical bills.
Emaciated dogs can spend up to a month in a shelter before they can go.
“We can’t vaccinate them right away,” Spark said. “We have to wait till they get good body condition. We can’t spay and neuter them right away.”
Typically, when people have animals seized they have five days to claim them according to APSS.
“They are required to pay associated costs to the seizure and rectify the conditions of why the animals had to be seized in the first place,” Ferguson said.
In this case, the owner failed to do any of these.
The investigation into the property owner is still ongoing.
“In consultation with the Crown, determining if this warranted criminal code charges as well as animal protection act charges,” Ferguson said.