Nova Scotia

Appeal board upholds Nova Scotia SPCA's seizure of 35 dogs

The Nova Scotia SPCA has been awarded custody of 35 border collies and Jack Russell terriers seized in Wolfville, N.S., last month.

Karin Robertson, 57, faces 2 animal cruelty charges

One of the dogs seized on Dec. 10, 2019, from a property near Wolfville, N.S. (Nova Scotia SPCA — Enforcement/Facebook)

The Nova Scotia SPCA has been awarded legal custody of 35 dogs seized from a Wolfville, N.S., property last month.

The decision was made late on Thursday, said Jo-Anne Landsburg, chief provincial inspector of the Nova Scotia SPCA.

"We're very pleased with this decision," she said. "It means we can continue giving the support and the care that they've already received."

Thirty-five Jack Russell terriers and border collies were seized from 57-year-old Karin Robertson's home near Wolfville on Dec. 10.

Three of the five animal welfare appeal board members heard Robertson's case on Dec. 30 where she appealed the seizure of the dogs. She faces two charges of animal cruelty.

Jo-Anne Landsburg is the chief provincial inspector for the Nova Scotia SPCA. (Paul Poirier)

Landsburg said the dogs are being kept in the Dartmouth, N.S., area. She said the SPCA hopes to get the dogs to a point where they can be rehomed, adding that all the puppies in their care will be able to be raised in home environments.

"It was a very difficult case, but we're happy with the end result so far," she said.

The SPCA said this is one of the largest dog seizures in the province's history. More than 150 people showed up in support of the SPCA at Monday's appeal hearing.

'My dogs have always come first'

The dogs were seized after the SPCA began issuing compliance orders about "unsanitary conditions" and "space regulations" at Robertson's property in September.

Robertson is facing charges of failing to comply with orders in relation to bringing the environment of the animals up to minimum standards and for causing an animal to be in distress through her actions.

Karin Robertson speaks to the media after her appeal hearing on Dec. 30, 2019. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

On Monday, Robertson admitted she had too many dogs on her property, and said she suddenly had more dogs than she could handle after online complaints hampered her business.

"They were always fed, they were always well cared for and well loved, but I was getting tired because it was a lot of work," she said. "But my dogs have always come first."

Robertson is scheduled to appear in Kentville provincial court on Jan. 21.