A Saskatchewan dog breeder is facing animal cruelty charges after 12 dogs were seized from his property earlier this year.
"I intend to clear my name," said Mark Fischer, who runs a dog-breeding business called Serpentine Mastiffs on a rural property near Preeceville, which is 273 kilometres northeast of Regina.
As Fischer spoke on the telephone, loud barking could be heard in the background. He would not say how many dogs he has on the property, except to say it is fewer than 100 animals.
"Whatever amount of dogs I have, I have enough space," said Fischer, who said he lives on a large rural property.
"What's the difference between having 300 dogs and 300 chickens?" Fischer said. He added that unlike an animal shelter, he doesn't confine his dogs in kennels.
Fischer said he was held inside a police vehicle for more than five hours without being given anything to eat or drink while animal protection workers and police searched his property.
"There were certainly concerns with the food that was available to the animals, the water, the conditions in the home," said Kaley Pugh, executive director with the province's Animal Protection Services.
"There were also some concerns with lack of appropriate veterinary care for them."
Pugh said she is limited in what she can say until the matter goes to court, but she said Fischer was known to animal protection workers.
"This was not the first complaint that we had received about his operation," she said. "However it was the first time that we had seized dogs from him."
Ironically, Fischer came to the media's attention by applying for a publication ban to "protect his credibility as a dog breeder."
A judge will consider that request at Fischer's next court date, set for Feb. 15, 2018 in Canora.