More than 50 animals, including dogs, cats and rabbits, were seized from a Chilliwack River Valley home this week due to “environmental issues,” according to the SPCA.
Neighbours complained for months about the property where the owner built structures to house the animals, along with fences and gates around the property.
“The 24-hour barking and whining and the potent feces smell for two years doesn’t compare to the worry everyone on the block had for these poor animals,” next-door neighbour Tyler Janzen said.
In all, nine dogs, 24 cats and 18 rabbits were seized by SPCA officials who obtained a warrant to do so.
On Tuesday, another neighbour counted four RCMP vehicles and seven SPCA trucks on the road and in the driveway as officers in white suits and masks pulled out “animal after animal.”
“They do have some health issues,” said SPCA spokesperson Lorie Chortyk of the 51 animals seized. “They are in our care.”
Janzen said the man moved in just under two years ago with three dogs, “which were never taken care of and went wild always.”
Neighbours said the owner immediately started putting up structures and fences, and when questioned he said he would only have the three dogs.
“Within a month there were too many animals to count,” Janzen said. “I could see all this going on 40 feet away, and never once did he show any affection to any of them. All day long for over a year all we could hear was ‘shut up, shut up.’”
Because the property is not in the City of Chilliwack, the FVRD has jurisdiction.
Chortyk said the SPCA has visited the property on a number of occasions as per policy, always giving the owner the opportunity to rectify the situation, which in this case was unsuitable housing.
“Then we do a recheck and then that’s when we have the authority to apply for a warrant to remove the animals.”
SPCA procedure is that if the owner does not improve the situation after being warned, he or she is given the option to surrender the animals. If not, the warrant is carried out, which is what happened this week.
“What happens is each animal comes in, they get a thorough veterinarian exam and a behavioural exam, and a plan of treatment is set up for each animal,” Chortyk said.
She said both the physical and psychological well-being of the animals is assessed, and the animals in this case already have shown some health issues.
The owner has 14 days to apply to have the animals returned, after which they will be cared for in SPCA facilities and then will be available for adoption.