FORT NELSON, B.C. — The British Columbia SPCA says the recent and unexpected surrender of 119 dogs from a property near Fort Nelson is straining the non-profit society’s resources.
Chief prevention and enforcement officer Marcie Moriarty says RCMP officers who visited the property last Thursday for unrelated reasons indicated the owners wanted to surrender up to 22 dogs.
Moriarty says SPCA staff went to the property on Friday and found 119 dogs of various breeds and ages, and later had to ask the local RCMP and fire departments for support in transporting the animals to care facilities.
The dogs surrendered include terriers, Shih Tzus, papillons and other small-breed crosses that are being treated for an array of medical needs, from severely matted coats to dental, eye and nutrition issues.
There’s no evidence that the owners were breeding dogs for sale and Moriarty says animal cruelty charges are not being recommended in the case at this time.
She adds that the dogs’ owners were in an “overwhelming situation” and addressing the case through the legal system would not be appropriate.
In addition to the dogs’ physical health, Moriarty says some of them are fearful of handling by humans and will require ongoing behavioural support.
Shelter and medical costs per dog are high, with a single dog’s dental needs costing up to $2,000, she says.
“In the first three days veterinary costs are already over $14,000,” her statement released Monday says.
The dogs are not yet up for adoption, but Moriarty says she’s hopeful all of them will find the right homes when they’re ready.
It’s not the first time the society has taken in more than 100 animals at once, but in the past they’ve been able to plan ahead, she says.