When the BC SPCA found two terrier-cross puppies tethered outdoors in freezing temperature outside a home near Ladysmith on Nov. 17, they were severely emaciated and extremely weak.
The male puppies, who are only a few months old, were being kept outside without food or water, and they weighed only two or three kilograms each, according to the SPCA.
One week later, the puppies, who have been named Casey and Finnegan by SPCA staff, are heavier, stronger and playing.
“I’m happy to report they are continuing to improve in our care,” BC SPCA senior animal protection officer Tina Heary said Monday morning. “They have been gaining weight. They were both so exceptionally thin. One of them was even more emaciated than the other one and was exceptionally weak when the SPCA first arrived on scene. It’s just so nice to see his strength regained. If you can imagine, they lose weight and they lose all their fat stores, and after that, they get all the muscle wasting. They’re supposed to be growing little puppies with bone development, and that’s not happening properly with nutrition. So the one little guy was exceptionally weak, and he almost looked malformed … Whereas now, it’s just wonderful to see him ripping around and playing and being like a little puppy. They’re steadily doing better.”
When the SPCA found the two puppies, they were huddled together, wet and shivering.
“It was heartbreaking to see how these little puppies were being forced to live,” Heary noted in a press release issued last week. “They were outside in the freezing cold, tangled up on tethers, emaciated, filthy, matted and covered in urine. Their only shelter was a plastic doghouse that was wet and muddy inside with no insulation or bedding.”
When Casey and Finnegan first arrived at the Nanaimo SPCA, they were so flea infested that they needed to be treated for their parasites, and they were matted and filthy, so they needed to be groomed, explained Heary. Then, the veterinarian had to put them on a very carefully monitored re-feeding program. The puppies are weighed regularly to make sure they’re gaining weight, and they needed some other medications.
Casey and Finnegan are expected to make a full recovery.
Heary says the SPCA is very grateful to have received a number of offers from people offering to adopt the puppies, and they do have a couple of pending adoptions, but they’re not available for adoption yet because they need to be a little bit stronger.
“We’re trying to remind people that there are many other dogs in our shelters up and down Vancouver Island and elsewhere in B.C. that could benefit from a new home, so people who were interested in these two, keep looking because there are so many in our shelters who have very similar sad stories and are also deserving of a new placement,” she said. “It would be great if some of these shelter animals had the ability to go home somewhere for the holidays.”
Heary says there are many ways that people who have been touched by this story can help the SPCA.
“There are a number of things that people can do because it really takes a whole community to make a difference,” she said.
Heary hopes people become more aware after hearing this story that they can call the BC SPCA and report any concerns they see, and someone will go help that animal.
“Just a gentle reminder to people to be that voice for animals in the community that they might have concerns over to phone it in, because that’s what was the case with this,” she said. “We’re not patrolling up and down the neighbourhoods, so we would miss things if we didn’t have the public phoning us and alerting us to problems. So it was because somebody in the community was concerned enough with what they saw and phoned us that we actually went out there. It was because someone reported this that we actually saved these little guys, and we know there are more animals in need out there; we just need somebody to call us to inform us.”
If anyone has any concerns about animals they see, they can report them to the toll-free provincial call centre at 1-855-622-7722.
People can donate online through www.spca.bc.ca/support and specify how their donation is to be used, such as to the cruelty investigations department or to the shelters. People can also call the local SPCA and ask them if there is something specific that they need donated, such as kitty litter or dog biscuits.
Heary says people can also consider opening up their own home to a pet in need and call a shelter and offer to volunteer. Sometimes, shelters need people to volunteer to foster animals. Volunteers were crucial in Casey and Finnegan’s case, as they were too weak to stay at the shelter overnight by themselves, so two people volunteered to foster them, she explained.
Heary spoke to the BC SPCA’s lead investigating officer Monday and learned that she now has all the information that she feels is necessary to recommend charges of animal cruelty to Crown counsel.
“We are going to be submitting a file for Crown’s consideration,” she said. “The SPCA puts a file together that will include all of our reports and evidence, and we hand it over to Crown counsel, and Crown counsel decides whether they will prosecute.”