A number of neglected dogs who were brought to Central Alberta after being seized off a property in Milk River are getting a second chance and finding their forever homes.
The Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society, along with numerous other rescues, SPCAs and humane societies in Alberta, recently stepped up to help in what is said to be one of the worst cases of neglect officials have seen in AARCS’ history and the largest removal of dogs in Alberta’s history according to the Alberta SPCA.
In total, 201 dogs were taken from a property in Milk River starting in December.
The dogs were malnourished, dehydrated and lacking sufficient shelter from the winter conditions.
The animals, a mixture of huskies, Irish wolfhounds, malamutes and komondors were in horrendous condition upon arrival. They arrived at their rehabilitation facilities throughout the province extremely emaciated, with badly matted fur, dehydrated and very hungry. Some had broken bones, gapping wounds and were riddled with parasites.
Charges are pending against the owner of the property under the Animal Protection Act. Other media reports have indicated the property owner was previously charged in Saskatchewan under similar circumstances and 82 dogs were seized at that time as well.
Erica Coomber, shelter administrator for Alberta Animal Services, said of the 22 dogs they took in, 16 have been adopted to new families.
“We have been very successful. We have five Milk River dogs left at the adoption centre (Petland) of the 22 dogs we had. Two of the dogs are in foster care at the moment because they needed extra care, but one of the foster parents is going to be adopting the dog they have, so we can count that for another one,” she said. “We’re really happy and they have gone to some really good homes. We had one couple adopt two of the dogs which is really good because they were a bonded pair of huskies.”
Coomber said when the facility began accepting the Milk River dogs, her and her staff were extremely proactive and she credits that approach to the number of adoptions that have already taken place.
“The first day they came in we were vaccinating and de-worming them. We were getting them ready so on the 10th day of the seizure we were booking them for surgery. We wanted to get them 100 per cent and into homes as soon as we could because they have been through so much – they don’t need to be in a kennel any longer than they have to be.”
Coomber added in addition to treating the dogs for parasites, they had to fix broken teeth, had to take off tumours, one of the dogs had cancer on its tongue which had to be addressed and some of the dogs also had old fractures which needed to be looked at.
“Everything they needed we got done at the time of their spay and neuter.”
At the Red Deer and District SPCA, some dogs rescued from Milk River are also being adopted out to new families. After the seizure, the SPCA took in 40 dogs.
“We have had a total of five adopted in the last two weeks, so that has been really great. We have four dogs currently up for adoption at the shelter and then the rest of them we are still working on their medical work and hoping to get them up for adoption soon,” said Amy Corpe, animal care manager at the Red Deer and District SPCA.
Meanwhile, Coomber said the community support has been amazing.
“The community has been incredibly supportive. We have had a lot of people supporting us and it has been really good.”
Corpe added the SPCA has also seen great support from the community as well.
“We have definitely been getting an outpouring of support from our community which we are so grateful for. In a time like this when we are in so much need, our community has certainly rallied together and joined forces to help our agency. It’s been amazing for us to see all the love and support people are giving the SPCA.”
Donations are still welcome at both Alberta Animal Services and the Red Deer and District SPCA as well as Klassic Kennels who took in dogs as well. The Red Deer and District SPCA can be contacted at 403-342-7722; Alberta Animal Services can be reached at 403-347-2388. Dogs up for adoption through Alberta Animal Services can also been seen at Petland. Klassic Kennels can also be reached at 403-340-0128.