The BC SPCA has seized emaciated dogs from a property in Clearwater, located about an hour and a half north of Kamloops.
In a press release, the BC SPCA said 15 Cane Corso puppies were rescued by animal protection officers this week from a breeder who was selling the puppies for profit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The condition of these animals was just horrific – many of them were extremely emaciated,” Eileen Drever, senior BC SPCA officer of protection and stakeholder relations said. “It was one of the worst cases I have seen in my 42 years with the BC SPCA.”
Drever said the organization’s animal help line received a call from a member of the public informing them of the dogs. Officers attended the property on Jan. 9 and the owner surrendered two dogs over to the society, which were immediately transported to a veterinary hospital. The SPCA returned the following day with a search warrant and removed the remaining 13 dogs, she said.
In total, seven 10-week-old puppies and eight dogs under the age of three years were seized. Three of the dogs remain under intensive veterinary care due to their emaciated state.
“Some of the dogs were kept outside all day in sub-zero temperatures, with no shelter from the elements, no food and water bowls frozen over,” Drever said. “The pens had compact snow and ice and no dry place for them to lay down. I don’t how much longer these poor dogs would have lasted.”
The ten-week-old puppies were kept indoors in a wire crate, but did not have access to food, she said.
“There was evidence that at least three of the dogs had eaten parts of a blanket from the floor, desperate for anything to eat to try to stay alive,” she said, adding some of the puppies also had wood splinters in their stool.
The dogs were rushed for medical treatment and are now in the care of the BC SPCA.
Drever told KTW the BC SPCA will be recommending charges to Crown prosecutors agains the breeder, but is not sure, at this time, whether if those will be criminal code charges or via the provincial prevention of cruelty to animals act, which comes with a maximum penalty of a $75,000 fine and or two years in prison sentence and or a prohibition from owning animals.
Drever said the dogs medical needs will likely be significant due to their starvation, and many of the dogs are fearful, unsocialized and will need on-going behavioural support before.
Anyone wishing to help these dogs and other animals in need in their recovery can make a donation to the BC SPCA at spca.bc.ca/donations/emergency-alert.