WARNING: This story contains information and images that some readers may find disturbing.
Second Chance Animal Rescue Society (SCARS) recovered 15 dogs from what it said looks like a backyard breeder in Parkland County, just outside of Edmonton.
“They were tremendously matted, tremendously dirty — the smell from the areas we got them from was very overpowering in terms of urine and feces,” said Pat Annetts with SCARS.
“They’re emaciated to the point where they’re starting to lose muscle mass in order to survive.”
SCARS said all of the animals appear to be a doodle-mix and initial vet assessments suggest they ranged from three-months to seven-years-old.
“We are under the impression that there are still more animals out there,” Annetts said.
“We have not yet been able to ascertain their condition. We haven’t been able to get access to see them.”
SCARS reported this case to the Alberta SPCA and other law enforcement agencies which are now investigating.
“We’re still not sure the extent of what’s going on in this particular situation,” Annetts said.
The Alberta SPCA told Global News because there’s an open investigation it can’t provide details of what’s happening.
“With any investigation, the number one priority is to relieve the distress in the animals. If and when animals are seized, it’s for the purpose of relieving their distress. It’s not intended to be punitive towards the owner.
“Once the immediate welfare of the animals has been addressed, the Peace Officer has up to six months to complete the investigation and determine whether to lay charges under the Animal Protection Act (APA). The Peace Officer will consider if there is a reasonable likelihood of a conviction, and whether laying charges is in the public interest when making a decision on whether to lay charges,” a statement reads.
The maximum fine under the APA is $20,000. A person would have to be charged and convicted under the Criminal Code in order for a judge to hand down a jail term.
The dogs are now in the care of various foster homes, but the road to recovery will be long.
“We do anticipate that for the most part they will all be able to lead kind of a healthy life again,” Annetts said.
“It really affects their personalities and their spirits, so to speak.”
SCARS said this case is a reminder to do your research and make sure any breeder is reputable.
“If ever possible adopt, don’t shop — we’ll always have enough animals,” Annetts said.