The BC SPCA is taking the unusual step of holding mandatory public information sessions before the adoption of nearly two dozen dogs seized from a Langley, B.C., puppy mill.

Twenty three of the 66 dogs and puppies removed from the property on Feb. 4 have been medically cleared and are ready to be placed in forever homes.

But due to the overwhelming interest in the dogs – and their potential emotional difficulties – the animal welfare agency is requiring potential adopters attend one of three information sessions on Wednesday at Vancouver Community College. 

The sessions discuss the potential special care these purebred pups may require in their new home. The dogs won’t be at the session but shelter staff will be made available to discuss each of the dogs in detail.

“We want to get the pups into homes as soon as possible but we want people to understand the psychological hurdles these dogs face,” says community relations manager Lorie Chortyk.

“We just really want this to be a success, that these animals have a great adoption.”

The adult dogs include eight Wheaton terriers, three Old English sheepdogs, three Portuguese water dogs, one Bernese mountain dog and one standard poodle.

The puppies include five 11-week-old standard poodle puppies and two five-month-old Portuguese water dogs.

Animals rescued from puppy mills often experience emotional and psychological issues, often because they are not socialized around people.

The two most common issues are compulsive behaviours that isolated dogs develop as a coping mechanism in their environment: pacing back and forth, and spinning.

Others struggle with house soiling, because they’ve never been house trained.

“Other times they are very fearful in the home, and even putting a leash on a dog can be very stressful because they haven’t had any experience with human touch. They freeze up,” said Chortyk.

Each dog is different and Chortyk emphasizes that the behaviours are manageable, but will require patience, love and training. The SPCA just wants potential adopters to go in with their eyes open before opening their home to these pups.

“They are affectionate and loving and fun but they haven’t had the best start in life,” she said.

The BC SPCA has received thousands of calls and emails about the pups, and more will be up for adoption in coming weeks.

The sessions will be held at 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in Room 1228B at Vancouver Community College, 1155 East Broadway. Pre-registration is required at

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