A Williams Lake man who had 46 dogs seized from his property in February, has been formally charged with two counts of animal cruelty.
The BC SPCA seized the dogs from Terry Baker on Feb. 22, due to concerns of neglect, undersocialization and distress. The animals ranged from puppies, to adult and older dogs.
“The dogs were seized because of lack of shelter, poor sanitation and inadequate veterinary care, but the biggest issue once they were in our care was that they were terrified of human contact,” said Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer for the BC SPCA.
Read more: BC SPCA seizes 46 dogs near Williams Lake
The animals included American Eskimo, border collie, husky and Samoyed breeds, some of whom were pregnant when they were seized.
“One of the complications was that several of the dogs were pregnant and gave birth shortly after coming into SPCA care, but were too frightened to let staff near them or their puppies. Thankfully we have some extremely knowledgeable and dedicated staff members who were able to provide the care and treatment they needed despite the challenges,” said Moriarty.
The SPCA said veterinary and behavioural staff worked with the dogs hourly to help them adjust to everyday sights and sounds.
“This was a very intensive undertaking involving hundreds of staff and volunteer hours,” said Moriarty.
“The fact that the majority of the dogs have responded to the behaviour modification to the point that we were able to adopt them into new homes is quite incredible, given the condition they were in when they were seized.”
While the SPCA had been fearful they would have to euthanize some of the animals, today, only eight remain in SPCA care.
In April, Baker appealed the seizure, asking to have 10 of his animals returned.
In his appeal testimony, Baker said while the situation was not “perfectly ideal,” the dogs were well-fed, happy and none were harmed or abused.
He said things had “got away” from him following the death of his mother, and the seizure was simply a case of bad timing, after he had been sick with the flu.
The appeal was ultimately denied by the B.C. Farm Industry Review Board.
Baker has previously been convicted of animal cruelty in a case in Saskatchewan involving more than 70 dogs.
His sentence included conditions that he was not to own or possess more than 10 dogs, six horses, or 10 chickens, with an exception of an additional 20 dogs, horses, or chickens under the age of six months.
If convicted in court, Baker could face a fine of up to $10,000, five years in jail and a lifetime ban on owning animals.