North Okanagan kennel owner loses fight to have seized dogs returned | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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North Okanagan kennel owner loses fight to have seized dogs returned

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A North Okanagan kennel owner has failed in a legal attempt to get her dogs returned to her after the B.C. SPCA seized 19 dogs living in "horrible and deplorable" conditions.

According to a B.C. Farm Industry Review Board decision, Nov. 12, the B.C. SPCA seized the dogs from Monika McIntosh's Coldstream property Sept. 10 following several complaints about unsanitary living conditions inside her house.

On the day the animals were seized, one dog named Wooky died, and a puppy died less than two weeks later.

The decision doesn't state the exact breed of all the dogs but it appears the majority were Chihuahuas. The decision says she'd been breeding Chihuahuas for eight years and owned her kennel business, All My Children Pet Boarding Kennels, since 2011.

A vet called to access the animals following the seizure and found all of the dogs to have 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, adding the condition would have been painful.

Four of the dogs seized were found to have a condition where their knee caps were on the inside of their legs and could not be put back into place.

The vet also testified that only one dog was friendly and the others were "fearful and withdrawn."

The decision says the pandemic's travel restrictions had caused the kennel business to collapse. McIntosh said she does breed and show dogs, but didn't have puppies at that time.

In the decision, McIntosh, 72, argues if she doesn't have the dogs returned she will be forced to go bankrupt.

According to the decision, following the complaints about McIntosh, one of which came from a former employee, the B.C. SPCA attended the property with a search warrant and entered her house.

The B.C. SPCA officer reported feces and urine throughout as well as a buildup of garbage in the house.

"The garbage and general clutter pose a significant risk to these small dogs in particular," The B.C. SPCA officer said in the decision. "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."

The officer said the animals suffered a general lack of care, including access to clean drinking water, suitable food or adequate shelter.

McIntosh admitted that the cleanliness of her house was an issue and that since COVID she no longer had a cleaner. However, McIntosh argued the dogs lived in the kennels, separate from her house, and the B.C. SPCA had should not have seized them.

"You state that the dogs do not live in your house, however, the photos from the day of the warrant prove otherwise," the B.C. SPCA officer said in the decision.
"You do not address the state of your home and where dogs had also been removed from, including the mother dog and her four puppies, which were being housed in a cardboard box with soiled blankets."

In her appeal to get her dogs back, McIntosh called several witnesses, one who had previously worked for her, as well as a couple of people that had bought dogs from her.

The witnesses spoke highly about McIntosh's care for her animals.

However, the B.C. Farm Review Board pointed out none of the witnesses had seen the vet reports or witnessed the situation inside the house at the time.

The Board ruled the B.C. SPCA was justified in seizing the dogs as they were in distress at the time and dismissed McIntosh's appeal to have them back.

If the dogs were returned there would be a "very real risk" of the dogs falling back into distress the board ruled.

McIntosh was ordered to pay $17,951 in cost to the B.C. SPCA to cover the cost of care for the dogs.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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