Concerned for the welfare of a large number of dogs under the care of a single person in Brentwood Bay, the B.C. SPCA this week seized 45 poodle-bichon frise cross dogs, including 35 adults, nine puppies and one that had died.
On Jan. 9, B.C. SPCA constables executed a warrant to take the animals into their custody. Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the B.C. SPCA says it is a case of hoarding and where breeding was going unchecked in the home. The agency, she continued, felt they had to act as the situation met the definition of distress under the province’s animal cruelty act.
“There were so many dogs in there that there was no way the man could have taken care of them,” she said.
In this case, Chortyk explained, the environment in which the 45 dogs were living did not provide adequate food and shelter and led to physical and emotional distress. She said the SPCA had concerns about the man and his dogs and had met with him before with limited success in getting him to give some of the dogs to a local rescue group or to other homes.
“We did try to befriend this individual and have him cooperate, but he was very, very resistant.”
When the situation of hoarding and breeding did not change after previous visits and discussions, the SPCA took action, she said.
“He did not want to give up his dogs. We try to be compassionate, but it was too much.”
The SPCA did have the police on hand in case of a confrontation. Chortyk said hoarding animals is a common occurrence, adding that often the owners don’t see it as an unhealthy situation for themselves or the animals.
The dogs are in the care of the Victoria branch of the B.C. SPCA, where Chortyk said they are being examined, groomed, treated for any health issues and the females examined to determine how many are pregnant. Chortyk said the owner had bred and sold some of the dogs in the past.
The dogs are currently not up for adoption. The owner, said Chortyk, has 14 days to apply to the B.C. SPCA to get the dogs back. If he does so, she said the agency will pursue further legal avenues to ensure he can adequately care for the animals that he might get back. If the owner does not apply, the dogs would then be put up for adoption. Chortyk said they have a 90 per cent “live release” rate and chances are good that if these dogs were put up for adoption, they would find new homes.
Chortyk said it’s too early to say what the outcome might be, adding the SPCA continues to investigate and care for the 45 dogs.