Rescue at centre of massive seizure had 71 animals removed in 2012
Published Tuesday, September 20, 2016 11:32AM PDT Last Updated Tuesday, September 20, 2016 7:11PM PDT
The woman at the centre of a massive animal seizure in Langley says she will not allow the BC SPCA to re-home any of the animals.
A total of 88 animals requiring immediate care were removed from the home of a B.C. rescue group Monday, amid protests from the owner that she's only trying to help aging and discarded animals.
The 45 dogs, 18 cats and 24 farm animals met the definition of distress under the Cruelty to Animals Act, including being malnourished, emaciated and some suffering severe periodontal disease and other medical issues, according to the BC SPCA.
The farm animals include five goats, five doves, five chickens, three ducks, three sheep, one rabbit, one quail, one turtle and one pot-bellied pig.
Three other deceased animals were found in a freezer on the property, on 216th Street in Langley, says the BC SPCA.
One dog had a tooth fall out during an examination, according to the animal welfare group.
A paraplegic dog named Peanut had to be euthanized after a vet consultation that deemed it was the only option to relieve its "extreme suffering."
"[The dog] had an ulcerated sore from only being able to lie on one side and he was only able to move one limb," said Marcie Moriarty, the BC SPCA's chief prevention and enforcement officer.
Moriarty said many animals were in crates in the home and exhibiting stereotypical behaviour, including repetitive pacing.
The warrant was executed after receiving complaints that animals were in distress, she added.
"Even if it's a well-meaning person but the animal remains in distress, we want to get involved and work with that individual," she said.
Sandy Simans, who runs 1atatime Rescue Society through the home, said she takes in suffering animals that no one else wants. She estimates many of the dogs are between nine and 15 years old.
"Some of them are old, some of them needed dental, some have flea-allergic dermatitis," she told CTV Vancouver.
Simans denies that she was overwhelmed by the amount of animals in her care, and says one was adopted out as recently as last month.
"I'm not over my head. We don't take new animals, we haven't taken any in a long time," she said.
The owner of the dog that was euthanized, Ryan Nicholson, called Simans "a saint," and said she had taken care of his dog free of charge while he was undergoing treatment for brain cancer.
"This is a woman who took my dog and didn't ask for a penny. Who does that? For me, she is an angel," he said.
Simans was allowed to keep one rabbit, one cat and several birds. Under B.C. law, she has 14 days to dispute the seizure.
The farm animals are being cared for in Surrey, while the Vancouver BC SPCA branch has shut down temporarily to care for the brood of animals now in its care.
The BC SPCA is offering to rehabilitate and rehome the animals seized from the Langley property, and pay the vet costs.
"If she wants to surrender the animals we will take on the medical care and place these animals in loving homes," said Moriarty. "If rehoming is a goal of her rescue, then we are happy to help with that."
Simans told CTV Vancouver she won't allow the group to adopt out any animals, claiming her adoption criteria is stricter than the animal welfare agency.
This isn't the first time Simans has been at the centre of a large-scale animal seizure.
In 2012, 52 dogs and 19 cats were removed from the Burnaby home Simans was using for the rescue, after she was evicted for non-payment of rent, according to a court judgement. A dead cat was also seized.
Simans fought the seizure, and the BC SPCA returned 39 dogs and 19 cats to Simans later that month for transport to a new location in Surrey, once "they could be assured that a new location for the animals was suitable for the large number of animals," according to the court case.
Thirteen dogs were not returned: one was euthanized and the rest were adopted out by the BC SPCA.
Simans was subsequently awarded $2,500 in damages from the BC SPCA, after a judge ruled the agency's press release about the seizure suggested she had caused injury to a Chihuahua in her care.
The animal rescuer took issue with the BC SPCA characterizing her as a "hoarder," but Justice John Steeves ruled the statement was fair comment and denied her claim for defamation.
"There is an element of obsessiveness in Ms. Simans’ care of her animals and this includes not being able to let go of animals she takes in. I conclude that the reference by the BCSPCA to her being a rescue hoarder was fair comment," Steeves wrote in his judgement.
The website for 1atatime Rescue Society was not in operation as of Monday evening.