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UPDATED: SPCA raids Langley home for second time

Two of the puppies from the litter of 10 seized by the SPCA. - BC SPCA
Two of the puppies from the litter of 10 seized by the SPCA.
— image credit: BC SPCA

The woman running a private animal rescue operation said a second seizure in seven months by the BC SPCA was unwarranted, and insisted all the animals were well cared for.

BC SPCA officers seized 17 animals Monday from Sandra Simans home. The same location was raided last September, when 88 animals were seized. Simans also had animals seized in 2012 when she was operating in Burnaby.

SPCA trucks and an RCMP vehicle were in the parking lot of the home on 216th Street south of 56th Avenue in mid-afternoon.

BC SPCA spokesperson said the animals seized included a rabbit, four cats, a greyhound with a skin issue, and a Rhodesian ridgeback dog and her 10 puppies. The mother dog has mastitis, said Chortyk.

There were other animals on the property that were not seized, as they were not considered to be in distress, Chortyk said.

Simans, who runs the 1atatime Rescue Society, confirmed that the animals seized were in her care, but rejected the notion that the animals were in distress.

“I don’t take animal care lightly,” Simans said.

She said the ridgeback didn’t have mastitis, and said the greyhound’s skin issue was a small patch of missing fur from a scrape.

Simans allowed the Langley Advance access to her house on Tuesday.

The older home had damaged floors and scuffed walls, and smelled faintly of animals, but not of urine. The living room carpet had recently been cleaned.

If charged or convicted, Simans could be temporarily banned from keeping animals.

“That would be the biggest travesty,” she said. “I’m sure that’s what their [the BC SCPA] goal is.”

On Sept. 19 last year, SPCA officials seized 88 animals from the same house. The animals included 45 dogs, 18 cats, 24 farm animals including goats, chickens, and ducks, and a turtle.

According to later reports, rooms were found full of dogs and cats, most of them crated. Some dogs were two to a crate.

Cats were in a room with an overflowing litter box with urine and feces on numerous surfaces.

Three animals were later euthanized, and a later report by veterinarians found that 95 per cent of the cats and 58 per cent of the dogs were underweight.

Asked if she felt overwhelmed when she had 88 animals on the property last fall, Simans said no.

Some of them were ducks or chickens, and many of the dogs and cats were elderly, she said.

“The vast majority were over the age of eight,” she said.

She laid the blame for some conditions on the SPCA for keeping the dogs crated while investigating her home.

The SPCA has recommended charges in the first case, but Crown has not yet laid any.

“It’s not unusual that we wouldn’t have heard back yet,” said Chortyk. With 88 animals and numerous vet reports, the case has created a lot of data for Crown lawyers to go over before making a decision on charges.

Simans later appealed for the return of her animals, but was instead ordered by the B.C. Farm Industry Review Board to pay $81,000 in costs to the BC SPCA for their care and feeding.

She is now awaiting the results of a judicial review of the decision, and says she has filed a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal as well.

In 2012, the SPCA seized 52 dogs and 19 cats from Simans’ Burnaby residence. Some of the animals were adopted out, but others were returned to Simans after she moved to Surrey.

Simans sued the SPCA. A judge found the seizure of the animals was justified, but awarded Simans $2,500 in damages for defamation, for a statement by SPCA officials implying she had caused harm to one dog, which she had been caring for after it came to her with a broken jaw.

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