A Merville dog breeder had 71 dogs seized in July, and now she’s been handed a $9,000 bill by the BCSPCA.
Last week, Green Acres Kennels owner Nancy Kitching received a bill for boarding and vet costs for the few days time between when her dogs were seized by the BCSPCA and when she formally ‘surrendered’ them.
“I have no money,” said an upset Kitching. “This is like my whole life they’ve taken away from me. I have no retirement money. I have nothing.”
Kitching raised bulldogs and terriers among other breeds, but was left with just six dogs and eight puppies after the seizure, which she said basically shut down her business. She said she doesn’t know how she will pay the bill.
BCSPCA’s general manager of cruelty investigations Marcie Moriarty said billing for seized dogs before owners surrender is common practice for the BCSPCA.
“The costs that she’s responsible for are all the costs to relieve her animals of distress up until the point that she surrendered them, and then we took on all the costs,” explained Moriarty. “Seventy-one dogs, and significant health concerns – I mean, we spent way more than the $9,000 on those dogs.”
Kitching said she did not immediately surrender the dogs because she was considering legal help to get them back. However, she decided not to as it would have cost too much money including lawyer costs, and BCSPCA boarding fees that could wrack up during the legal battle.
Kitching said she received the bill Tuesday and she and was called Thursday by BCSPCA special provincial constable Tina Heary, who was present at the time of seizure, asking when Kitching would pay the bill.
Kitching was so upset after the call she decided to go on a hunger strike.
The hunger strike is “not just about the $9,000,” said Kitching. “I want what happened revealed.”
However, Moriarty said she spoke with Heary who said she only phoned to ensure Kitching received the bill via email, and did not ask when Kitching would pay it.
Moriarty said health concerns included periodontal disease, untreated dermatitis and a condition where the dogs have trouble breathing through their noses due to poor genes in the breeding pool, and can only be fixed through surgery.
Kitching said she tried to accomplish all of the orders on the BCSPCA checklist but didn’t have enough money or time to do everything, and added that the health concerns were “minor.”
Moriarty said that the BCSPCA gave Kitching plenty of warnings, and she did comply with some of them, but not all.
“We have a very lengthy history with this individual,” said Moriarty. “It often happens – unfortunately people run a very borderline operation and in this case these animals were in distress. She’d been given an opportunity many times and it took a warrant.”
Moriarty said animal cruelty charges will be recommended sometime “soon.”
Kitching remains adamant that her dogs were well cared for.
“I treat the dogs the way I would want to be treated,” said Kitching. “I’ve been breeding for 20 years. I’m a legitimate business. I’m open to the public.
They (BCSPCA) made it impossible to bargain with them or negotiate, they just shut it all down.”