The B.C. SPCA says it has seized 39 dogs and five cats from an unspecified island community off Vancouver Island, after finding them in “shockingly unsanitary conditions” in a home filled with feces and garbage.
When animal-protection officers entered the home, they discovered the main floor “was covered in what can only be described as a carpet of feces,” said senior protection officer Eileen Drever.
The animals, which included 37-small-breed dogs, were taken by boat to Nanaimo and are being placed at SPCA centres across the Island. It has not been determined when the animals will be available for adoption.
The smell of feces was apparent even before animal-protection officers entered the home, said Drever, who described the conditions as horrific, with “incredible” amounts of garbage in many of the rooms.
She said the unusual size of the seizure has put a strain on the SPCA’s resources. “But I’m just thrilled that we’ve got the animals out of there.”
Based on the condition of the animals, the B.C. SPCA plans to recommend charges to Crown counsel, Drever said.
The animals were very dirty and smelled of feces, as well as urine, she said, with urine-stained paws and overgrown nails.
She said animals were all over the house — even inside the walls — and had no visible food or water. “The home had no running water at all.”
The dogs seized included two females with seven puppies, two of them about three weeks old and five about six weeks old. There were also two Bernedoodles (a cross between a Bernese mountain dog and a poodle), Havanese, Papillons, poodles and Pomeranian mixes.
The dogs and cats are now under veterinary care. Many are emaciated and show signs of dental disease, Drever said.
Despite what they have been through, Drever said the animals are doing “remarkably well.” “A number of the dogs were fearful, but after a night in the animal centre, they were excited to see B.C. SPCA staff,” she said.
She said the SPCA found out about the animals from a call to its helpline at 1-855-622-7722.
A group of donors inspired by Giving Tuesday is doubling donations to the animals up to a total of $125,000.
The matching funds are coming from Eileen and Anna (in honour of Rogue, Jaide and Leo), the Eldon and Anne Foote Fund at the Edmonton Community Foundation and an anonymous donor.
While there was government funding to build its centres, Drever said that the SPCA depends solely on the public to do its work.
Donations can be made at spca.bc.ca/donate/holiday.