The BC SPCA in Surrey, British Columbia is asking for help to find the owners of a puppy that was found in some bushes, with severe rope burns on its muzzle. It's being investigated as a case of animal cruelty.
The female puppy, suffering from severe rope burn, is in foster care but getting daily veterinary treatment at the Surrey Animal Care Centre.
Marcie Moriarty, the general manager of the BC SPCA cruelty investigations tells The Province, “It looks like it could possibly have been rope that was used and rope burn and infection could have set in.” She says there would be no legitimate reason to muzzle a puppy and even if the owners believed the pup needed to be muzzled, using rope is “absolutely not acceptable.” “At no stage would there be any reason why you’d have to muzzle a puppy unless they were under veterinary treatment and vet direction. If there is a reason to use a muzzle on (an adult) dog, do it in consultation with a vet to get it properly fitted. It should never restrict a dog’s breathing or ability to pant.”
CTV News reports that the burns are not the puppy's only health problems. Kim Marosevich with the Surrey Animal Care Centre says the pup also has an eye infection, serious flea infestation, is malnourished and suffering from bad bone development. Marosevich says, “We are certainly not out of the woods yet. Her eyes have gotten worse, the infection is getting progressively worse, and she’s on antibiotic treatment as well as a variety of ointments.”“At this point, I’m concerned about whether or not there are any puppies remaining in that individual’s care that are in the same circumstances.”
Moriarty says, if the owner is found, charged and convicted under the criminal code, they could face up to five years in jail, a $10,000 fine and a lifetime ban on owning animals. If convicted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals act, they could face up to two years in jail, a $75,000 fine and a lifetime ban on owning animals.