An Ottawa Valley woman has been charged with animal cruelty after 38 dogs were found in what the head of a local rescue agency described as “traumatizing” conditions.
Police were called to the home in Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan Township on Tuesday afternoon, where they discovered the dogs. They called Laura Pelkey, the president and founder of Riverview Rescues, who said she reacted with “horror and disgust” at what she found on the property.
Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan Township is located west of Ottawa near Barry’s Bay, Ont.
“They were locked in cages in absolute filth,” she said. “All of the males were caged, and the females were just free-roaming. It was horrible.”
Pelkey rescued 22 of the dogs that day and returned twice more last week to get the rest.
“I could not stop thinking about the ones that I didn’t get on Tuesday night,” she said. “It’s traumatizing. There was a dog with no front legs, there was a dog with a prolapsed rectum. … They’re not in good shape.”
Other dogs were suffering from tumours and bites to the face. All the dogs examined by a veterinarian had Lyme disease, she said.
38 dogs were found in what the head of a local rescue agency described as “traumatizing” conditions. All of the males were caged, in absolute filth.
OPP said in a news release Monday that Tracy Knight, 40, has been charged with cruelty to animals. She is also charged with causing damage or injury to an animal by failing to provide adequate, food, water, care or shelter.
She was released from custody and is due to appear in court in Killaloe, Ont. in May.
“Killaloe OPP offer a sincere thanks to Riverview Rescues who were instrumental in ensuring all surrendered dogs were rescued and are receiving care,” OPP said in their news release.
Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan Township is about 180 kilometres west of downtown Ottawa.
Dogs need foster homes
Pelkey and her organization, which is entirely volunteer-run, sprang into action looking for foster homes or other rescue agencies to help.
Laura Pelkey, the president and founder of Riverview Rescues
Of the 38 dogs, 18 of them went to other rescue agencies and one was taken into a foster home. Riverview Rescues still has 19 dogs who are looking for homes.
Because they all have severe behavioural and health issues, none of the dogs will be available for permanent adoption, Pelkey said, but still have an immediate need for foster families to care for them.
“They’re all really good dogs. They’re just so scared,” she said.
Pelkey described the property as a backyard breeder, also called a puppy mill.
“People who buy dogs and don’t do proper research are supporting this industry,” she said.
Most of the dogs are Siberian Huskies, she said. There are also German Shepherds. They range in age from five days old to 11 years old.
A dog with no front legs gets a belly rub and head scratch after being rescued.
“We’re trying to get them acclimatized to a normal life, not being locked in cages with no water or daylight,” she said.
Anyone who is interested in fostering one of the dogs can fill out this form.