B.C. SPCA seizes 15 starving dogs from Clearwater breeder
'They're walking skeletons,' says protection officer with SPCA
Animal protection officers with the B.C. SPCA seized 13 starving dogs from a breeder in Clearwater, B.C., about 125 kilometres north of Kamloops on Tuesday — a day after two other adult dogs in similar condition were surrendered from the same property.
"The condition of these animals was just horrific," said the animal welfare organization in a statement, adding that the individual was breeding Cane Corso-type puppies and selling them for profit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eileen Drever, the organization's senior officer for protection and stakeholder relations, says it's one of the worst cases of animal cruelty she's seen in decades.
"They're walking skeletons," Drever said in an interview. "I've never, ever seen, in my 42-year career, a dog so painfully thin."
Drever says some of the dogs were left in sub-zero temperatures with no food, no fat on their bodies and no way to keep warm.
"Their water dishes were frozen over. They were living among feces," she said, adding that a few of the animals were eating whatever was around — including their own excrement and blankets.
The SPCA says a group 10-week-old puppies were kept indoors in a wire crate but had no access to food.
The rest of the dogs were held in outdoor pens, which were filled with compact snow and ice, without a dry place for them to lie down.
Drever says the B.C SPCA is continuing its investigation and will "most definitely" recommend charges of animal cruelty to Crown counsel.
'Keeping my fingers crossed that they pull through this'
The dogs were immediately brought to a veterinarian for treatment and will remain in the care of the SPCA with staff doing everything they can to nurse them back to health.
Drever says SPCA employees have adjusted their schedules to be able to stay with the dogs that require around-the-clock care and feed them small amounts of food at a time.
On top of the animals' medical needs, she says many of them are fearful, not socialized and will require behavioural and emotional support once they heal physically.
"I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that they pull through this," said Drever.
"It breaks my heart thinking how long these dogs must have suffered."
Drever says she's angry that a breeder would neglect their responsibility to care for their animals, and anyone who's overwhelmed or struggling to keep up with providing care shouldn't hesitate to reach out to the B.C. SPCA.
She adds that anyone looking to buy a new puppy should also carefully consider where the animal is coming from, who its parents are and who's responsible for breeding them.
"If you're looking to purchase a dog and you don't want to adopt, do your homework," she said.
"I'm so sick of animals being used to make money."
With files from Marcella Bernardo