Saskatoon dog owner relieved to see charges in kennel deaths

A 50-year-old man has been charged with negligence after 14 dogs died of heat exhaustion at a Saskatoon dog kennel last year.

Dogs left unattended overnight in 'dangerously warm' room in Playful Paws Pet Centre

Sydney Loessin's therapy dog, Linc, was one of 14 dogs who died of heat exhaustion at Playful Paws Pet Centre last September. (Dawn Loessin)

Linc, a one-year-old husky-shepherd cross, was more than a pet. Linc was a member of the Loessin family and a valued therapy dog for 15-year-old Sydney Loessin.

That's why Sydney's mom, Dawn, was happy to hear someone has been charged in the death of their dog and 13 others in Saskatoon last fall.

"I feel relieved. It's been a long process," Dawn Loessin said.

Linc and other large breed dogs died of heat exhaustion in a second-floor room at Playful Paws Pet Centre in September.

A 50-year-old man has been charged with negligence after an investigation by the Saskatoon SPCA. The SPCA recommended the charges to Saskatoon police.

No one at Playful Paws was available for comment.

Dog irreplaceable

When Linc died, Dawn's daughter stopped sleeping. The dog had been key to alleviating the girl's anxiety disorder, her mother said.

"He did everything with her, like, she would cuddle with him; she'd talk to him. It gave her a purpose outside of herself," Loessin said. "His role was to be her confidant."

After a rough period, the family found a new therapy dog, Zoe. But Loessin said nothing will ever replace the bond her daughter had with Linc.

Lengthy investigation

Saskatoon SPCA executive director Patricia Cameron said they recommended charges after a "complicated, lengthy and labour-intensive investigation."

Investigators found the dogs were left without water and in a room that was dangerously warm.

Kelsey Friesen says that her daughter's dog (left) died while in the care of a Saskatoon kennel. (Submitted by Kelsey Friesen)

According to previous interviews with the kennel's owners, the building's heating system malfunctioned and pushed hot air into the upstairs, windowless room for hours.

In the aftermath, many of the angry dog owners considered taking legal action against the clinic.

The 50-year-old will appear in provincial court next month.

Alix Tumback organized memorial plaques for the dogs following the incident. She hopes the charges will send a message to those caring for animals.

"I'm actually really excited, not only that there's something being done for the 14 families that lost their pets," she said," but that this is a step forward in taking the Animal Protection Act seriously."


  • A previous version of this story said the investigation was conducted by the Saskatchewan SPCA. In fact, Saskatoon SPCA and the Saskatoon Police Service were responsible for the investigation.
    Feb 22, 2017 10:16 AM CT