Surrey pet facility raided by BC SPCA also facing lawsuits from former customers
Owner says trouble with authorities is due to her inability to speak English
The owner of the pet boarding and breeding facility raided by the B.C. SPCA on Tuesday is also facing lawsuits from former customers who say their pets suffered under her care.
The B.C. SPCA seized 84 cats and dogs from the Surrey facility, claiming the business "failed to provide adequate care for the animals." The SPCA said an adult cat and a kitten were in such critical distress they had to be euthanized.
Ivy Zhou, 50, the owner of Pet Daycare Grooming and Sales, denies disease was an issue at her facility. She gave CBC News a tour of the business, pointing out new cages and a special antibacterial floor she had installed.
She says she plans to treat the raid as a learning experience and hopes to begin operating again soon, under the SPCA's guidance.
Zhou caters primarily to customers in the local Chinese community, advertising exclusively in Chinese. Speaking through an interpreter, she told CBC News she has done nothing wrong and that any trouble she's had with regulations is due to her inability to speak English.
Former customers suing
But CBC News has learned two of Zhou's former customers have filed small claims lawsuits against her.
One of the complainants alleges their cat became very ill after an incomplete declawing operation, requiring additional surgery.
Another complainant, Ming Zhang, says she returned home from a 40-day trip to China to discover one of the two dogs she had boarded at the facility had died — a pet she'd owned for 12 years.
"I ask her 'where is my two dogs.' She told us one of my dog was dead 10 days ago. I keep asking her, 'What happened, why my dog is dead here and you didn't tell me?'" she said.
Zhang says she later saw her dog's body on the floor of a bathroom in the facility, covered with a sheet.
Zhou has not filed a legal response to these claims and they have not been proven in court.
A search of court records reveals the SPCA raided a pet grooming operation run by Zhou at another Surrey location in May 2014.
At that time, the SPCA alleged animals were in distress and seized a number of them, including two of Zhou's own dogs.
No charges have been laid in that case. Zhou subsequently sued the SPCA to have her two dogs returned to her, but her claim was dismissed by a provincial court judge in January.
The SPCA says it's continuing its investigation and will be recommending charges.
With files from Eric Rankin and Paisley Woodward