Long recovery for dogs

Animal shelters are already filled to capacity, caring for our furry friends who are unwanted and in need of care.

Animal shelters are already filled to capacity, caring for our furry friends who are unwanted and in need of care.

Three Central Alberta shelters recently welcomed 76 dogs following what is said to be one of the largest seizures of neglected dogs in Alberta’s history.

In total 201 dogs were taken from a rural property outside of Milk River in southern Alberta in two stages by the SPCA. Sixty dogs were voluntarily handed over in December, and the remaining 141 were seized through a search warrant on Jan. 13th.

The SPCA reached out to the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) to help find animal care facilities across the province to care for the dogs due to the large number.

The dogs, a mixture of huskies, Irish wolfhounds, malamutes and komondors were in horrendous condition upon arrival to the shelters. They were extremely emaciated, with badly matted fur, dehydrated and very hungry. Some had broken bones, gapping wounds and were riddled with parasites. Most were found on chains around the rural property, attempting to find shelter under vehicles and sheds, at the mercy of the winter elements. The dogs still have a long way to go on their road to recovery, but shelter organizers are optimistic they will all fully recover.

The SPCA continues their investigation and charges are pending against the owner.

The SPCA was first alerted about the property and the dogs’ wellbeing after receiving tips from the public.

A petition calling for the owner involved in the animal cruelty case to be banned from owning animals for life is now being circulated and is gaining momentum.

Animal advocates are also reeling after learning that the accused owner allegedly has had more than 300 dogs seized from her care in Alberta and Saskatchewan over the past eight years.

In 2010, 82 dogs were removed from the owner’s property in Leslie, Sask. She was charged and convicted under Saskatchewan’s Animal Protection Act of non-criminal neglect and fined $5,000. She was also banned from owning no more than two dogs at a time for a 10-year period, but the ban was only applicable in Saskatchewan.

It’s obvious the owner just moved to another province where the ban was not enforceable.

The petition calls for provincial and federal animal neglect and cruelty charges against the woman and the maximum penalty, including a lifetime ban from owning animals, if she’s convicted.

More should be done to keep animals out of the hands of people who are re-offending animal abusers. Something similar to a sex offender registry should be created nationally to track these abusers.

For more information about AARCS or how you can help, visit www.aarcs.ca.

For more information about the local animal shelter, CARES, visit www.centralanimalservices.com.