Kennel operator who had animals seized by SPCA wants to open breeding business in Vulcan County

A dog breeding operator who had a large number of animals in medical distress seized from his property in April, is seeking a permit from Vulcan County to have them returned so he can continue his business.

Tyler Marshall is still waiting to face the charges in court and is trying to get his animals back

In April, 131 dogs were seized from a property in Vulcan County because of unsanitary conditions and health problems. (Kris Ketonen/CBC)

A dog breeder who had a large number of animals seized from his property after they were deemed in immediate distress in April has applied to Vulcan County for a permit to run a dog breeding and sales operation in the small Alberta community.

On April 24, Tyler Marshall had 131 dogs, 62 rabbits, eight cats and three tortoises seized from a property in the village of Milo in Vulcan County, said Roland Lines with the Alberta SPCA.

He was subsequently charged under the Animal Protection Act with allowing animals to be in distress and failing to provide them with proper care.

The charges have not been proven and he is set appear in a Lethbridge court on June 26.

Lines says when the animals were seized they had been fed and given water.

"It was more untreated medical conditions and unsanitary conditions and ventilation issues on the property," he said. 

Owned Okotoks pet store

Meanwhile, Marshall has a permit application for a dog breeding and sales operation called Marshall Kennel, which comes before the county council on Wednesday.

Vulcan County spokesperson Nels Petersen says his office has been getting bombarded with emails and calls over the kennel permit hearing.

"If they want to protest that's fine, it is a quiet community, so it would be a little different for us," Petersen said. "That being said, we do have measures in place we're hoping that no one gets unruly in council chambers."

Marshall is also the former owner of Animal House pet shop in Okotoks. He said he was forced to shut down after becoming the unfair target of animal rights protesters who vandalized his store in January. They claimed he was running a puppy mill.   

Tyler Marshall owned the Animal House pet shop in Okotoks, which was vandalized in January. (RCMP)
The April seizure of the animals in Milo came after a complaint from someone who had purchased an animal from Marshall, Lines said. The SPCA followed up and found animals in distress on the property.

Lines says the animals were not taken at that time, but the SPCA returned with a search warrant and a veterinarian who identified which animals needed immediate care.

The SPCA and the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) have been holding the animals ever since because Marshall started legal proceeding to get the animals returned.

Typically, Lines says, the SPCA would keep the animals for 10 days until they were claimed by the owner. If they weren't claimed they would be put up for adoption.

$300,000 animal care 

"In this case, we are still holding on to these animals. Our expenses for various veterinary treatments and care of the animals is in excess of $300,000," Lines said. 

He says it's had a huge impact on the finances and resources of both the Calgary Humane Society and AARCS.

On June 14, a judge signed an order for an independent assessment to see how many animals Marshall's property in Vulcan County could reasonably accommodate.

"It's a lower number than what we took," said Lines,

Under SPCA rules, Marshall would be on the hook for repaying the organizations for the costs they incurred to keep the animals.

Lines said the SPCA has no role in kennel licensing; that will be up to the County of Vulcan.

"I'm not sure how the County of Vulcan will view this information," he said. "He has not been found guilty in court, these are two separate issues going on at the same time."

Lines noted there is no prohibition against large dog breeding operations as long as they comply with municipal licensing.

Marshall responds

In a statement Ty Marshall said he's been trying to resolve these issues with the SPCA and abide by the Animal Protection Act. 

Marshall said the county had been allowing him to run his operation without a permit and he plans to contest the charges against him in court.