The 119 small dogs surrendered to the BC SPCA near Fort Nelson on March 12 are now receiving round-the-clock care at various locations throughout the province.
The mix-breed dogs included Terriers, Shih Tzus, Papillions and other small-breed crosses. Although none were emaciated, the BC SPCA confirmed, most had medical issues that needed immediate attention.
Eileen Drever, senior protection officer and stakeholders relations for the BC SPCA told Global News Monday they initially received a call from the RCMP in the area expressing concern about the number of dogs on the property.
The owner then spoke to a cruelty investigations officer with the BC SPCA, and said he would be willing to surrender the dogs to the organization, Drever confirmed.
“Now, as far as the owner was concerned, he had between 20 and 30 dogs,” she said, living in a trailer on the property.
“So it took a couple of days to organize to arrange for us to be able to bring in 20 to 30 dogs, that’s quite a high number. Anyway, we attended there, three officers attended the property along with members of the RCMP, and unfortunately the door to the trailer could not be opened, it was frozen closed and the dogs were being handed out through a window.”
Drever said the investigating officer was shocked when they had been handed 45 dogs and there were still many more to come.
“This resulted in the surrender of 119 dogs, and in my 41 years, I’ve never had 119 dogs surrendered to the society.”
Drever said they were not prepared to take 119 dogs, but the living conditions were not ideal so they had to remove them.
The fire department and the RCMP helped transport the dogs, with the closest shelter being about four-and-a-half hours away.
They were all evaluated and assessed for various injuries including dental issues, hernias, nose abrasions, eye issues, nutritional needs and nail issues. Some of the dogs are also pregnant.
“Obviously we’re concerned about their physical welfare but we’re also concerned about their psychological welfare,” Drever said.
They are not yet available for adoption at this time, but special homes will be needed for the dogs as they are not housebroken and some have special and particular needs.
Even though the BC SPCA initially said no charges were pending in the case, Drever clarified the full investigation into what happened has not concluded and charges may still be recommended to Crown Counsel.
“A person living in a trailer with that many dogs is quite vulnerable as well,” she added. “I believe the individual was quite relieved once the dogs were surrendered because he cared for his dogs the best that he could, but it wasn’t ideal.”
Anyone can make a donation to help the dogs on the BC SPCA website.