The dozens of animals seized from a Langley property last September will not have to be returned to their owner, who will have to pay costs to the BC SPCA.
Sandra Simans had been running a small animal rescue non-profit, 1atatime Rescue Society, out of a home on 216th Street south of 56th Avenue.
After a tip to the SPCA in August, officers visited and spoke to Simans, but by September they decided to get a warrant and seize the animals.
On Sept. 19, SPCA officials took 88 animals, three of which were later euthanized.
Simans had appealed for the return of her animals. Instead, the ruling ordered her to pay more than $81,000 in costs to the BC SPCA for the care and feeding of the seized animals.
Cory Van’t Haaff of the B.C. Farm Industry Review Board made the ruling in early December.
When they arrived, they found rooms full of dogs and cats, most of them crated. Some of the dogs were two to a crate, and few had enough room.
The cats were in a room with an overflowing litter box and urine and feces on numerous surfaces. There was a hole in the drywall.
Some animals had food and water bowls available but others did not.
Van’t Haaff relied on a report by veterinarian Dr. Adrian Walton in making a judgment on the animals’ health.
The vet’s exam found that 95 per cent of the cats and 58 per cent of the dogs were underweight.
Overall, the animals were not getting enough food, according to Walton’s report.
Claws were not trimmed, and the dogs were rife with dental disease, for many causing severe pain.
Van’t Haaff noted that video evidence taken during the seizure offered a window into the animals’ living conditions.
“Watching what can only be described as a skeletal looking black cat find access to a bag of food anddive in to eat provided a clear picture of inadequate food for some of these animals,” Van’t Haaff wrote in his ruling.
There were a number of sheep and goats living largely in the garage, as well as other animals including a pot bellied pig, a turtle, chickens, a one-eyed duck, and a rabbit.
Simans has indicated that she will appeal to the B.C. Supreme Court.
She represented herself during the proceedings, and argued that she was providing adequate care in most cases, arguing that the dogs’ dental disease was not as bad as claimed.
She also accused the veterinarian of being biased in favour of the SPCA.
This was Simans’ second animal seizure by the SPCA. She had a number of animals taken in 2012, but most were eventually returned to Simans. She then successfully sued the SPCA for defamation, after they implied that she had caused injury to one dog that had come to her injured. Simans was awarded $2,500.
Some of the same animals seized in 2012 were again taken in 2016.
– with files from the Vancouver Sun