British Columbia

50 dogs abandoned outside Metro Vancouver shelters

RCMP in Richmond, B.C., are trying to find out who abandoned dozens of dogs outside the city's animal shelter.

38 dogs including Yorkies, terriers, and Chihuahuas crammed into 20 cages in Richmond and 12 dogs left in New Westminster

38 dogs in Richmond, 12 in New Westminster, found Friday a.m. 0:58

Fifty dogs have been abandoned outside two animal shelters in Metro Vancouver, launching a police investigation and forcing officials at the city-owned facilities to cover thousands of dollars in expenses.

The dogs were abandoned in Richmond and New Westminster between Thursday night and Friday morning.

Richmond city spokesman Ted Townsend said 38 small dogs — among them Yorkies, terriers, and Chihuahuas — were stuffed inside 20 metal cages and plastic kennels and left under several tarps outside a locked gate in front of the city's animal shelter.

Townsend said it is possible the dogs were abandoned by the owner of a puppy mill, or even rescued by some sort of canine crusader.

In New Westminster, city spokesman Sukh Maghera says a security guard found 12 dogs abandoned outside the animal shelter at about 4 a.m. PT.

Officials do not know if the two incidents are linked, but the Richmond RCMP is now investigating.

B.C. SPCA spokeswoman Marcie Moriarty said it is illegal to abandon dogs and, in this case, also inhumane given the timing of Thursday night's electrical storm.

The 38 dogs were left stacked in 20 cages outside the Richmond animal shelter. They are now being cared for by the Richmond Animal Protection Society. (Ted Townsend)

"Look at the weather last night.. the thunder and lighting must have been terrifying," she said Friday.

The 38 dogs left in Richmond are apparently well-behaved and in good physical condition, and Townsend said the shelter's phone has been ringing off the hook with people calling to adopt them.

"The good news is that they're being well looked after now, and we believe that they should find homes," he said. "It's just unfortunate that it didn't happen under better circumstances."

Townsend says it will cost at least $12,000 to care for the dogs until officials can track down the owners or find new ones through adoption.

Though there were tarps covering the abandoned dogs in Richmond, a B.C. SPCA spokeswoman said the dogs were likely terrified if they were dumped before Thursday overnight electrical storm was over. (Ted Townsend)

With files from The Canadian Press