Some of the most expensive and sought-after breeds of dogs are being nursed back to health in Vancouver after being seized from an alleged puppy mill in nearby Langley. Sixty-six animals

Some of the most expensive and sought-after breeds of dogs are being nursed back to health in Vancouver after being seized from an alleged puppy mill in nearby Langley. Sixty-six animals

Broken limbs, missing eyes among injuries found in dogs seized from B.C. breeder

Some of the most expensive and sought-after breeds of dogs are being nursed back to health in Vancouver after being seized from an alleged puppy mill in nearby Langley.

LANGLEY, B.C. — Some of the most expensive and sought-after breeds of dogs are being nursed back to health in Vancouver after being seized from an alleged puppy mill in nearby Langley.

Sixty-six animals, including 34 puppies, were seized Thursday in what British Columbia’s SPCA said was one of the largest puppy mill seizures in the province’s history.

Veterinarians and staff at the society’s Vancouver shelter have been working non-stop to care for a range of injuries including broken limbs, missing eyes or ears, malnourishment, infections, abscesses, and psychological issues, Marcie Moriarty, the society’s chief prevention and enforcement officer, said Tuesday.

“Many others show signs of fearfulness due to lack of socialization,” Moriarty said.

Breeds that were seized include standard and miniature poodles, Old English sheepdogs, Bernese mountain dogs, soft-coated wheaton terriers and Portuguese water dogs.

A member of the public who was checking the background of a dog advertised for sale on a social networking site alerted authorities to the plight of the dogs.

“A key step in shutting down puppy mills is for those who are purchasing animals to be educated and aware of the signs of unscrupulous operations,” Moriarty said.

“We have to make it clear to unscrupulous breeders who sacrifice animals on the altar of profit that this type of neglect and cruelty is not acceptable to British Columbians.”

Society spokeswoman Lorie Chortyk said at least two people are believed to be involved in the operation.

The SPCA is preparing a report for the Crown and is recommending charges under the Criminal Code as well the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, she said.

The highest penalty is five years in prison, a $75,000 fine and a lifetime ban on animals, Chortyk said.

“We’re hoping, given the severity of this case and the fact that this is such a sophisticated operation, that Crown counsel will approve charges and that the sentencing will reflect the degree of suffering for these animals.”

She said the SPCA received a complaint about the same property in 2009 and again last year but it’s often tough to investigate allegations because some puppy mill operators know how to evade detection.

“They know we can’t go on without a warrant so when we go they say, ‘This isn’t a good time, come back tomorrow.’ By the time we go back they’ve moved the animals.”

However, in this case a woman who was on the property to buy a puppy saw enough before calling the SPCA, which meant the agency was able to access the property without a warrant, Chortyk said.

“It’s a classic puppy-mill situation where dogs are bred repeatedly. They were kept several dogs to a cage, stacked up in unheated dark buildings with dangerous ammonia levels from the urine and their fur was matted and caked in feces and urine.”

Puppies that typically cost about $1,000 at such operations may appear healthy but are often sick and have genetic issues from overbreeding, Chortyk said.

She said tell-tale signs of breeders that churn out “quick-sale designer dogs” include not letting potential buyers see the property or a puppy’s parents, not providing veterinary records for the dogs or meeting a buyer off site.

The dogs and puppies seized last week continue to receive vital care and are not yet available for adoption, but the Vancouver shelter is requesting donations of blankets, towels and dog beds to help keep them warm and comfortable as they recover.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Activists against open-pit coal mining in the Rocky Mountains hung a protest banner outside Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon’s Rocky Mountain House constituency office. Exploratory coal leases in the Nordegg area were recently granted by Nixon’s UCP government, and many local residents say they feel betrayed, as they had been promised eco-tourism opportunities by Clearwater County. (Contributed photo).
Anti-coal mining activists post banner on Environment Minister’s Rocky constituency office

Activists call for clean water protection, ban on strip mining

Justice Anne Molloy, from top left, John Rinaldi, Dr. Scott Woodside and accused Alek Minassian are shown during a murder trial conducted via Zoom videoconference in this courtroom sketch on December 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Verdict expected today in Toronto van attack trial

Alek Minassian admitted to planning and carrying out the attack on April 23, 2018

(Image from Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer students enter Skills competition

Regional competition begins this month

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Commissioner Roger Goodell talks about the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award during the NFL Honors ceremony as part of Super Bowl 55 Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Annual NFL women’s forum enhancing career opportunities

When Sam Rapoport envisioned conducting virtually the NFL’s fifth annual Women’s Career… Continue reading

Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020), speaks during a news conference with Toshiro Muto, left, CEO of Tokyo 2020, after a council meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (Kimimasa Mayama/Pool Photo via AP)
Fans from abroad unlikely for postponed Tokyo Olympics

Olympics scheduled to open on July 23

FILE - Singer Jhene Aiko poses for a portrait on Dec. 7, 2020, in Los Angeles. Aiko will host the 63rd GRAMMY Awards on March 14. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Jhene Aiko to host Grammy Award premiere ceremony

63rd annual Grammy ceremony set for March 14

Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault holds a press conference in Ottawa on November 3, 2020. The Heritage Department is committing $40 million to a “COVID-safe events fund” designed to encourage arts and cultural plans to move forward in the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Heritage minister unveils COVID-19 events fund for arts and cultural sector

Financial support tops out at $100,000 per eligible applicant

opinion
Opinion: Crisis in long-term care must include data-driven change

More than 19,000 people in Canada have died from COVID-19 – more… Continue reading

The Dawe family home in the Michener Hill subdivision in Red Deer. This house was designed and built by Robert G. Dawe, a local engineer, in 1911 and has remained in the family ever since. (Contributed photo)
Michael Dawe: 65 years of Red Deer history

As a major milestone birthday looms, I thought that it might be… Continue reading

Dallas Stars' Mark Pysyk (13) and Tampa Bay Lightning's Ondrej Palat (18) compete for control of a loose puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Dallas, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Vasilevskiy 3rd straight shutout as Lightning top Stars 2-0

Vasilevskiy 3rd straight shutout as Lightning top Stars 2-0

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) grabs a loose puck as Canadiens defenceman Ben Chiarot (8) and Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) battle for the rebound during first-period NHL hockey action Tuesday, March 2, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Hab down Sens 3-1 to snap 5-game winless streak; Ducharme earns 1st NHL coaching win

Hab down Sens 3-1 to snap 5-game winless streak; Ducharme earns 1st NHL coaching win

Most Read