Online pet store owner to be billed for seized animals

The owner of a now-defunct pet business in P.E.I. will be held financially responsible for the animals seized from him last month by the Department of Agriculture

The owner of a now-defunct pet business in P.E.I. will be held financially responsible for the animals seized from him last month by the Department of Agriculture.

More than 80 animals were taken from kennels belonging to Bud Wheatley, who owned PuppiesAcrossCanada.com. The website has since been suspended.

The pets were taken to the P.E.I. Humane Society, which said it would bill Wheatley for the extra costs.

"It was the first time in the history of the P.E.I. Humane Society that anything that large had been undertaken and that we had helped that many animals so suddenly," said Kelly Mullally, the organization's executive director.

She said under the Companion Animal Protection Act, it is the group's responsibility to take care of the animals seized and to bill the owner of those animals for any expenses incurred.

"We're responsible for that debt and we have to collect that debt," she said. "If we're not able to collect that debt within 24 months from the owner, then we're able to go to the provincial government and get some assistance."

The seizure doubled the population at the animal shelter, which now cares for more than 200 animals.

Danielle Dunn-MacLean, a veterinarian at the shelter, said the animals had to be brought in and treated in three groups because there were so many.

"We have volunteer veterinarians from the Atlantic Vet College — some of the professors of mine — who came, and we set up a triage team to examine, vaccinate, de-worm and microchip all the animals on intake," she said.

Mullally said there have been corporate donations and extra volunteers to help, but the task has been expensive and time-consuming.

"We could certainly use some extra supplies — clean, gently used towels, blankets, bundled newspapers, shredded paper, gently used collars and washable toys. Lots of ways to help."

In an effort to increase adoptions, the shelter is keeping its adoption floor open until 8 p.m. on Thursday and on Nov. 12.