61 dogs seized from rural Manitoba home

The Winnipeg Humane Society has taken in dozens of dogs among the 61 that were seized from a residence in rural Manitoba.

The Winnipeg Humane Society has taken in dozens of dogs among the 61 that were seized Friday from a residence in rural Manitoba.

The head of the shelter said the animals were transported to Winnipeg on Friday afternoon. The animals were taken from a home in the Gull Lake area of Manitoba, about 90 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

A total of 61 animals were taken from the place, with 44 arriving in Winnipeg on Friday. Seventeen were taken to a rural animal shelter and may also end up in Winnipeg.

Bill McDonald, CEO of the humane society, told CBC News on Saturday that provincial officials initiated the investigation and described it as a case of "animal hoarding."

He said almost all of the dogs were mature animals living in an extremely unsanitary home, a separate dwelling from that of the dogs' owners.

According to McDonald, the animals were being fed but their home was full of urine and feces. When officials went to pick up the animals, they treated it like a hazardous materials site.

"We have dealt with some nasty situations, not of this volume though," McDonald said. "This is the largest of this degree of neglect."

At the shelter, many of the animals appeared in very poor condition. One had severely matted fur coated with excrement.

Another animal seemed to have a large number of bite wounds on its head, presumably from fighting with other dogs.

McDonald said the dogs are getting medical assessments. He said the information gathered may lead to charges.

The investigation is being led by Manitoba's chief veterinary officer.

Three of the dogs have been euthanized, one because of severe injuries believed to have been caused by fighting. The other two were put down because they were too dangerous for shelter staff to handle.

The shelter has implemented procedures under a "major animal influx" plan.