Woman charged after 8 distressed dogs rescued from Alberta motel room has history of animal cruelty

Police say a woman who was arrested for keeping eight distressed dogs in an Alberta motel room was found guilty of animal cruelty in B.C. four years earlier and banned from owning animals.

Karin Adams was under 20-year ban from owning animals after 2014 incident in B.C.

Three of eight dogs rescued from a motel room in Innisfail, Alta., after Karin Adams, who was found guilty of animal cruelty in B.C. four years ago and banned from owning animals, was arrested by the RCMP. (Klassic Kennels)

Police say a woman who was arrested for keeping eight distressed dogs in an Alberta motel room was found guilty of animal cruelty in B.C. four years earlier and banned from owning animals.

RCMP were investigating reports of a suspicious woman Tuesday morning when they found her at a motel in Innisfail, 30 kilometres southwest of Red Deer.

Police confirmed Thursday the woman in custody is Karin Adams, 46, of no fixed address. She faces numerous charges that include impersonating a peace officer, trespassing, mischief and harbouring dogs, driving without a licence and failing to have dog licenses.

Police were acting on reports that a woman had posed as a law enforcement officer and tried to take a dog from its owner after asking questions.

Jim deBoon, owner of Klassic Kennels north of Red Deer, assisted the RCMP to remove the dogs from the motel.

The dogs hadn't been in Adams' care long enough for their physical condition to deteriorate, deBoon said, but they were mentally stressed.

Jim deBoon holds one of eight dogs rescued from an Alberta motel. (Klassic Kennels)

"They were not doing well mentally," deBoon said. "Three of them were quite upset at the time we arrived … now that they're at the shelter they've all reverted back to a normal behaviour pattern and mindset."

Adams was released by a justice of the peace on multiple conditions, including a prohibition from owning, having the custody or control of or residing in the same premise of any animal. 

This was the second time deBoon said he was called in to assist with a case where Adams was involved. 

Calgary family reunites with beloved dog

For Calgary woman, Samantha Sparrow, the seizure of Adams' dogs is bittersweet. Sparrow's three-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, Millie, was among those found at the motel. 

Sparrow said awhile back she went through a break up, but because she was staying at her parents' home, where two large dogs already live, there wasn't room for Millie, so she stayed with the ex.

"We had a little bit of a disagreement and he decided that he no longer wanted to have the dog there so he took it upon himself to try and re-home her," she said. "At the time I wasn't completely opposed to [it], but I wasn't exactly a fan of the idea."

Samantha Sparrow's dog, Millie, was one of the dogs seized from Adams. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

Sparrow said she was heartbroken, but her ex reassured her that the new owner he'd found for Millie was loving. 

"He comforted me, telling me that it was a very lovely woman who had an acreage just outside of Red Deer, so there was lots of room for Millie to run," she said. "[He said] she was a stay at home wife, she had kids, and that she'd recently had a Jack Russell that just passed away and she was really wanting to fill that void in her heart."

But, on Wednesday Sparrow got some startling news when her ex texted her around 5:30 p.m, saying he was terribly sorry and that he'd seen Millie on the news.

"She wasn't with a woman who owns an acreage outside of Red Deer, she was with a woman who had other dogs and she was found in a hotel room," Sparrow said. 

When Sparrow watched the news and saw the dogs, she said she knew immediately that it was Millie. 

"She still had her collar on that she half ate the first day I got it for her," she said. 

A photo of Millie before she was re-homed. (Samantha Sparrow/CBC)

In a panic, Sparrow called the kennel where the dogs were being held. 

"I called maybe five minutes before they closed saying, 'I think you have my dog, but I don't know,'" she said. 

Sparrow said dealing with the shelter has been amazing, and the staff has gone above and beyond to help her and care for the dogs. 

On Thursday Sparrow visited Millie at the kennel where she will be held for the next eight days while she is vaccinated and spayed. 

"It's like being reunited with someone in your family you haven't seen forever."

Sparrow said Millie came running out of the room right to her, jumped up and started licking her face.

"It's just sheer joy," she said. 

Convicted in 2014

Adams plead guilty in 2014 on similar charges, along with her daughter Catherine Adams, and was banned in British Columbia from owning animals for 20 years after officials seized 18 horses, 18 dogs, 15 birds, two cats and 104 fish from a property near Houston, B.C.

The animals were malnourished and kept in unsanitary, overcrowded conditions. 

The mother-daughter duo, who at one time lived in Houston, B.C., pleaded guilty to animal cruelty in 2014 after 18 horses, 18 dogs, 15 birds, two cats and 104 fish were seized from their property suffering from severe neglect. (BC SPCA)

The two were ordered to pay nearly $5,500 in restitution to the B.C. SPCA to cover care costs, and to stay in regular contact with the B.C. ministry of justice.

In that case, Karin was sentenced to 15 days in jail and two years probation, while Catherine was given six months conditional house arrest and three years' probation.

Earlier this year, Catherine was again convicted on animal cruelty charges, this time in Alberta.

Nine malnourished horses, 25 dogs and 17 birds were seized from the Adams's property in Hanna, northeast of Calgary, in 2015.

She is set to be sentenced on Aug. 22 for willfully causing pain, suffering or injury to an animal, and cruelty to an animal.

Charges against Catherine's mother were dismissed.

'Extremely frustrating' to deal with repeated offenders, B.C. SPCA says

On July 4, SPCA officers in B.C. again seized 16 dogs in distress that the two women were keeping on a property in Quesnel, according to a release.

The dogs were being kept in crates too small for their size in a poorly ventilated area, with little or no access to water and with feces and urine-soaked matting, the SPCA said.

These four dogs were among eight rescued from an Alberta motel room. (Klassic Kennels)

"It is extremely frustrating when we deal with repeat offenders, particularly those who breach the terms of their sentencing," said Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer for the B.C. SPCA.

"[The two women are] a very persistent couple. We'll put it that way. They don't seem to be getting the message … that they need to stop."

The SPCA says it will recommend new charges of animal cruelty.

Court date set in Red Deer

Karin Adams is set to appear in Red Deer provincial court on July 31 at 8:30 a.m. to face the latest charges.

It has been determined that Adams legally owned seven of the eight dogs, police say.

RCMP said in a release that anyone looking to rehome a pet should conduct a thorough background check before giving anyone their animal.

Investigators want anyone approached by a woman asking questions about dogs, or who has had their dog recently stolen in the area, to call RCMP at 403-227-3342 or contact Crime Stoppers.

The eight dogs that were seized will be fixed and vaccinated, and if possible returned to their original owners, deBoon said. 

With files from Anis Heydari, John Gibson,Sarah Rieger and Lucie Edwardson