BC SPCA ordered to return dogs to breeder facing cruelty charges
Published Wednesday, March 1, 2017 1:03PM PST Last Updated Wednesday, March 1, 2017 1:59PM PST
SPCA animal protection officers removed 18 adult dogs and 11 puppies from a Squamish, B.C., breeder in November 2016 after receiving a tip from the public. (Handout)
A B.C. breeder facing cruelty charges who had 29 dogs seized over a "multitude of maladies" has had the majority returned, but officials hope incoming legislation will prevent similar frustrating situations from happening in the future.
In a warrant execution on Nov. 30, 2016, animal protection officers from the BC SPCA removed 18 "high value" adult dogs and 11 puppies meeting the definition of "in distress" from a Squamish property belonging to Neddy Tsin (also referred to as Tsin-Minions).
The brood included purebred Old English sheepdogs, Coton de Tulear, bearded collies and a Tibetan terrier.
The agency said the majority of the canines were suffering from eye and ear infections, overgrown nails, skin infections and dental disease. Fourteen more puppies were born while in the custody of the SPCA’s West Vancouver shelter.
Animal cruelty charges are being recommended, but in the meantime a ruling from the BC Farm Industry Review Board, the agency tasked with reviewing BC SPCA cases, has ordered the majority of the pups be returned to Tsin.
A web listing shows that Tsin and her husband Robert run Awesome Grace Coton Kennel, which describes itself as a "home and family-run kennel" that loves and breeds Coton du Tulear dogs with "world champion bloodline lineage."
The website says the breeder is a registered member of the Canine Federation of Canada, and also lists the American Kennel Club and Orthopedic Foundation for Animals crests.
Of the 29 dogs removed, 19 pups plus the 14 puppies born while in shelter care, have now been given back to Tsin, while the BC SPCA was allowed to keep 10 dogs found inside two separate parked cars on the property.
A sworn affidavit said no food or water was found inside a car in "deplorable condition," and there was urine and feces inside it. The panel ruled the BC SPCA could keep those dogs because they were deprived of adequate water and shelter and kept in unsanitary conditions. One was so thirsty when it was removed from the car it pulled an SPCA staffer to a puddle to drink from it.
The panel also ruled Tsin had a "clear history" of leaving dogs in cars and trailers "and failing to take steps to properly alleviate distress." In 2015, two dogs were "confined to a room in a fifth wheel" trailer on the property that was submerged in water.
Marcie Moriarty, the Chief Prevention and Enforcement officer for the BC SPCA, said it appears the breeder had two very different standards for her dogs.
While dogs found inside Tsin's house were in mostly adequate condition – with access to “good food,” water and bedding -- the review panel said they had no confidence the breeder would "address the shelter, water, food, veterinary and sanitary needs" of the dogs outdoors.
Tsin was ordered to repay $1,543 to the BC SPCA before getting her dogs back, but the agency says it's still on the hook for more than $23,000 for vet care, grooming, seizure costs and caring for the seized animals – and it will vigorously fight to recoup its costs. The panel heard that Tsin “admitted to a profit of $1,800 per puppy.”
"She is making a profit from these dogs," said Moriarty.
While having to surrender animals back to a breeder facing serious accusation is frustrating, Moriarty is hopeful "this is exactly the type of case" new welfare legislation targeting irresponsible breeders will address.
The amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act will establish regulatory and licensing systems to monitor dog and cat breeders in the province.
That legislation will hopefully require breeders to have to register with the province, and be subject to regular inspections.
"Given the number of dogs [Tsin] is breeding and the number of litters, she would be a high priority for inspections," said Moriarty.
The new legislation could mean breeders are not able to sell animals without a registration number, and they must maintain standards in order to keep their registration.
There is currently nothing stopping the breeder from selling puppies, but the tougher rules could shut down Tsin entirely, said Moriarty.
"She'll either up her animal welfare game and do things according to registration or will have to get out of the business," she said.
Tsin has not responded to multiple interview requests from CTV News since Dec. 2016.