A North Okanagan woman has lost her appeal to have her dogs returned to her after they were seized by the SPCA due to unsanitary living conditions, according to a decision by the B.C. Farm Industry Review Board.
Monika McIntosh has operated All My Children Pet Boarding Kennels in Coldstream since 2011. Following several complaints about the dogs’ living conditions — including one from a person who was working for the kennel and living on the property who called the conditions “horrible and deplorable” — the BC SPCA conducted an investigation.
According to the Nov. 12 decision, 15 dogs and four puppies were seized from McIntosh’s property by the BC SPCA on Sept. 10. A dog named Wooky died later that day, and one of the puppies died less than two weeks later. Both deaths were unassisted.
Another dog gave birth to four puppies on Oct. 26. One puppy had to be euthanized two days later. Before the appeal hearing, the SPCA had a total of 14 dogs and six puppies in protective custody.
An SPCA officer attended the property on Sept. 8 after being told by McIntosh’s former employee that she had observed feces and urine inside McIntosh’s house. The officer was denied entry by McIntosh, which led the BC SPCA to obtain a search warrant on Sept. 10.
Following the seizure, a veterinary expert found that all of the dogs had severe dental disease.
“There was inflammation and infection of the tissue and their gums and bones were being eaten away by infection,” reads the decision’s summary of statements from Dr. Deanna Jenner, who added that this would have been painful for the dogs.
Jenner also found that four of the dogs had a condition where their knee caps were on the inside of their legs and could not be put back in place. She advised that only one dog was friendly and the others were “fearful and withdrawn.” She stated that all the dogs had redness on their feet and overgrown nails.
BC SPCA chief prevention and enforcement officer Marcy Moriarty said she was “saddened to see such unsanitary and hazardous conditions which you yourself and these small dogs had to contend with.”
“The conditions are simply dismal and perhaps at one time you were able to manage the kennels, your home and the animals in your care but currently it is simply unsafe,” she said. “It appears that all animals in your care, whether boarded or otherwise, seemed to have suffered a general lack of care, whether that was an access to clean drinking water, suitable food or adequate shelter.”
Moriarty concluded that it would not be in the dogs’ best interest to have them returned to McIntosh.
McIntosh called several witnesses in her appeal, all of which spoke favourably about her care for the dogs. But the panel did not find their evidence helpful, according to the decision, because except for one witness, none of them had been inside the house recently and they did not see the veterinary reports.
The panel also found that the veterinary reports “paint a clear picture that the seized dogs suffered from various medical issues” and were also deprived of general care.
Ultimately, the review board was not convinced that any of the seized dogs would receive proper care if returned to McIntosh.
In addition to denying the return of the dogs, the board decided McIntosh will have to pay for the cost of caring for the seized animals while they are in custody — an amount totalling $17,951.59.