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Owner of seized dogs will not try to reclaim them

Deadline for owner to appeal was Wednesday

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The owner of 79 dogs seized from a residence in West St. Paul will not try to get the animals back.

No appeal of the seizure was filed before Wednesday’s deadline, a representative from Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives confirmed on Thursday.

That means that the province now takes full ownership over the assortment of bulldogs, spaniels, wheaten terriers and Lhasa Apsos that were pulled from a barn on Jan. 24.

The office of the Chief Veterinary Officer will work with the Winnipeg Humane Society, where most of the dogs are being housed, to evaluate the animals to see if they are suitable for adoption based on health and temperament.

"It will be a staggered process," Bill McDonald, the humane society’s executive director, said Thursday. Not all of the animals are physically and emotionally ready, all have to be spayed or neutered and two are about to have pups, he said.

The dogs were thin, thirsty and covered in feces when they were rescued. Some had gum disease, fleas and other health problems.

"Those needing treatment are getting it," McDonald said Wednesday.

"A lot of the bulldogs had eye infections and are getting treatment," he said.

The animals have been cleaned up and are getting their strength back, he said.

"They're gaining weight. One of the moms has given birth," he said.

The wheaten terrier's puppies are all right, but in quarantine, McDonald said. Blood work was done on the mom and they have to make sure she and her pups are all right and free of infectious disease before they can be around other dogs and people.

None of the dogs seized had to be euthanized.

Ten were moved to Darcy's ARC, a no-kill shelter, said McDonald.

"It was to help take some of the pressure off us," he said.

The dogs ended up in shelters after the province received complaints the morning of Jan. 24 about the animals' well-being and their living conditions. That afternoon, investigators found 79 dogs housed in deplorable conditions inside a large garage on a property near the St. Andrews airport.

That night, the province ordered that the animals be removed from the property. Humane society staff and volunteers, along with the RCMP, seized the animals and brought them back to the shelter's facility in Winnipeg.

Four teams of veterinarians worked through the night, photographing each dog and subjecting each to a detailed physical exam, including blood tests and intestinal exams.

McDonald said the animals had received no dental care or exercise and were housed three to a crate, violating the rules for breeding operations.

If the owner had appealed their removal by the Wednesday deadline, there would have been a hearing, forcing the dogs to remain in the shelters for a few weeks until their fate was determined.

Now that the province has assumed ownership of the dogs, the shelter could begin finding homes for them in 48 hours, McDonald said.

It's not clear whether charges will be laid against the dogs' owner -- that's up to the provincial vet and his investigation, McDonald said Wednesday.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 2, 2012 0


Updated on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 11:42 AM CST: updates with full writethru

6:10 PM: Adds comment from McDonald on adoption process

8:51 PM: Changes deck

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