16 dogs seized from Swan Hills property after inquiry launched into ‘deplorable’ conditions

A property in Swan Hills, Alta., shows the location that the SPCA is investigating. Supplied to Global News

WARNING: The details in the following story are graphic. Discretion is advised. 

Just over a week after launching an investigation, the Alberta SPCA has seized 16 dogs from a northern Alberta property.

Global News received photos of the property in Swan Hills on Sept. 25 and the SPCA said it was aware of the property, but didn’t have enough detail to launch a formal investigation into the claims that had been circulating on social media.

Later that day, the SPCA said it received enough information and launched the inquiry.

READ MORE: Alberta SPCA investigates dogs in distress at Swan Hills property

Photos of the area, which Global News has chosen not to publish because of their graphic nature, show a dead dog on the ground in deplorable conditions.

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The photos were shared with Global News by a resident, and show what appears to be a dog in a state of decay in a yard littered with discarded and soiled household items like bedding, cushions and pillows.

Click to play video: 'Dozens of animals removed from Alberta property connected to animal cruelty case' Dozens of animals removed from Alberta property connected to animal cruelty case
Dozens of animals removed from Alberta property connected to animal cruelty case – Jan 8, 2019

On Thursday, the Alberta SPCA said it removed the dogs from the property after accessing the property on a warrant.

“Once inside, [peace officers] made the decision to place all dogs in protective custody due to concerns over distress.”
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All 16 dogs will receive medical assessments and any necessary treatment that may be required.

No charges have been laid and the SPCA said no further information could be released, as the file is still open.

READ MORE: 72 dogs seized from alleged puppy mill in rural northeast Edmonton

Residents in the area told Global News last week the woman who owns the property runs it as a rescue centre, but they say the dogs live in deplorable conditions.

“I’m a huge animal lover and this is going on in my own backyard,” Paige Snell said. “It’s horrible.”

Snell is the resident who reported the problem to authorities.

“I do believe her heart is in the right place and she wants to help animals, she’s just not set up and able to give them the proper care that they need.

“It’s heartbreaking to see how horrible it is… to see that dog,” Snell said, fighting back tears. “I have no words to describe how upsetting it is. It blows my mind.”

Alberta SPCA peace officers have authority to enforce the Animal Protection Act. 

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While the SPCA can’t get into specifics about possible charges related to this case, a spokesperson did say the most common charge it lays is for causing an animal to be in distress.

The maximum penalty for that charge is a fine of $20,000.

— With files from Allison Bench, Global News

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