The Saskatoon SPCA is wrestling with the fate of seven dogs rescued from a rural home near Yorkton after the animals ate the remains of their deceased owners.

RCMP last week found the couple — a man, 67, and woman, 57 — who had died on a rural property near Springside. Police do not suspect foul play, but the matter is being investigated by the coroner.

'You can't place a dog that's been eating on human flesh for two or three weeks and put it in a home where there might be a child.'—Neighbour Margaret-Ann Irving

Police concluded that for more than a week the dogs — five Shelties and two mixed breeds — survived by eating the remains of the couple.

The question now is whether the dogs should be put down or given a new home.

Neighbour Margaret-Ann Irving, who knew the dogs' owners, said the animals cannot now be adopted.

"Those dogs need to be put down," she said. "You can't place a dog that's been eating on human flesh for two or three weeks and put it in a home where there might be a child."

Saskatoon SPCA spokeswoman Tiffiny Koback said it was not an automatic conclusion that the animals should be euthanized.

"They're simply doing what it takes to survive, given the circumstances," said Koback. "So we're not concerned that they're going to go out there and start looking at someone and equating it as a meal."

The dogs are being assessed by a local animal rescue organization to determine whether they are adoptable. Potential owners would be told of their background.

The provincial SPCA said the fate of the dogs in cases like this rests with the local shelter, in this case, the Saskatoon agency.