When the SPCA raided a Waterford area residence late last week, neighbor Rayvin Squires wasn’t surprised.
"Everyone would ask, ‘doesn’t the barking drive you crazy?’" she said of the home next door to her own on Thompson Road.
She noted one family would often complain that there appeared to be dogs living on the property, but no people.
"I would see people come and go every once in awhile," Squires said.
"I knew that the new tenant was supposed to be breeding dogs there. I don’t know what is a normal number of dogs for a breeder."
Hamilton Burlington SPCA workers removed nearly 150 small breed dogs from the property on Friday, describing the living conditions as "deplorable," but releasing few other details due to an ongoing investigation.
The property is owned by a Lisa Avery of Brantford and rented to Johnnyangel Voyager, the Hamilton Spectator has reported.
When contacted on Wednesday, Voyager told CBC Hamilton there is an SPCA investigation and he will not comment.
"Once it’s done and complete, I’d be happy to speak with you," he said.
"But I’m not going to answer any questions until then because I don’t want to jeopardize the integrity of the investigation."
Voyager’s website indicates he breeds Italian greyhounds — or "iggies" as they’re known in the show dog world — and shows them in competitions.
In July, Norfolk OPP received a complaint about the animals’ living conditions, according to Const. Ed Sanchuk.
"When we receive a complaint, we investigate ourselves and if we need further assistance, we contact the SPCA," Sanchuk explained.
The Norfolk OPP did contact the HBSPCA following its investigation, according to Sanchuk. But Vivian LaFlamme, an inspector at the HBSPCA, said they received the tip last week from the Simcoe Humane Society.
Catherine Hosken, president of the Simcoe Humane Society, said a private citizen, not the OPP, notified them about the property last week.
In response, Sanchuk suggested a second complaint may have been made, but said the OPP contacted the SPCA about the July complaint, as well as Norfolk County animal control and bylaw, who are currently assisting with the investigation.
"We receive quite a few animal complaints and we take them seriously," he said.
When asked whether the SPCA was contacted within a few weeks of the July complaint, Sanchuk replied:
"I would assume so, yes."
Norfolk County by-law officer, Fritz Enzlin, said the local animal control was contacted by OPP about the dogs, but animal cruelty cases are outside their jurisdiction.
"Sometimes, out of the goodness of their hearts, they may go on their own to look, but they can't take any action," Enzlin said.
However, he said they pass along any animal cruelty cases to the OSPCA so that proper action can be taken.