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article imageOfficials aware of animal cruelty 2 years before action taken

By Lynn Curwin     Dec 3, 2010 in Crime
Swan River - Animal welfare officers had been contacted about the condition of animals at a Manitoba farm two years before action was taken and 44 emaciated animals were seized.
On November 27, 2010, Swan River RCMP were contacted by a civilian and began an investigation into allegations of cruelty to animals on a farm in Swan River.
“On December 1, 2010, with the assistance of local veterinarians, staff from the provincial office of the chief veterinarian, and local animal control officers, a total of 27 dogs, 15 horses and 2 donkeys were seized and removed from the property,” said RCMP Cst. Miles Hiebert in a press release.
“Investigators found the live animals unhealthy, neglected and not being properly cared for.”
A 68-year-old man was arrested and released on conditions. He is scheduled to appear in court on January 5, 2011 to face charges of cruelty to animals.
Jeff Blythe, an animal protection officer in the Rural Municipality of Swan River, said that officials could not enter the property earlier, but would not provide details about why this was the case.
"We finally had an opportunity to act on it according to our bylaws, and we had a chance to do that [this week]," he told CBC News.
Susan Otto, of Winnipeg, told CBC News that she contacted officials after buying a dog at the farm in 2008.
She called the provincial veterinarian's office and Rosann Wowchuk, who was the minister of agriculture at the time.
"I spoke to her on the phone, and she told me that she was going to go out there and look over the place," Otto said.
About a month later she called again and was told that monitoring was being done.
She said the photos released by the RCMP on Thursday look very much like what she saw two years ago.
"The dogs were in their own feces. Some of them were enclosed without access to light," The Winnipeg Free Press quoted Blythe as saying. "The horses were basically without feed and water and didn't have access to any at all.”
CTV News reported that Blythe said some animals could barely walk because their hooves were so overgrown, and a chain had become so deeply embedded into one dog’s neck that surgery was necessary for its removal.
The animals are all currently receiving veterinary care.
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