Rescued dogs in need of homes: Barrie OSPCA has dogs ready for adoption

LANCE HOLDFORTH, Special to the Examiner

More than 120 dogs rescued from a Huron County property have received the green light to go to good homes.

The Barrie branch of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) took in a few of the 126 dogs removed after an OSPCA Animal Act investigation on Oct. 26 determined the property, in the Goderich area, was no place for animals.

"The dogs were in poor living conditions with severe medical conditions," said Melissa Bainbridge, Barrie's OSPCA manager. "The dogs did come with puppies. Barrie got a mother with three puppies and I do know that other local OSPCAs received dogs with pups."

OSPCA staff have cared for the lovable pets and ensure all their medical needs are met, including being spayed and neutered, and are ready to go to loving homes.

"We have a female cocker spaniel here who had lumps all over her body and one has been taken out for biopsy," Bainbridge said. "She's doing great and her spirits are up. She's absolutely lovely, and she's running around the office and she enjoys people's company, and that's nice."

The Barrie branch has rescued six dogs and three puppies from cocker spaniels, pug mixes, Boston terriers mixes and Jack Russell terrier mixes.

A veterinarian, under the animal act, asked OSPCA investigators to remove the dogs from the home when it was deemed unfit for animals.

Dogs were found with severe dental damage, skin issues and fleas.

"When they came in they required severe grooming," said OSPCA spokeswoman Alison Cross. "When we go into a property we make sure the animals are getting the proper food, water, shelter and health requirements."

Because the investigation is ongoing Cross couldn't say if the property is considered a puppy mill, but say there were a large amount dogs in the birthing process.

"There were dogs found, there were puppies found and there pregnant dogs found," she said. "If the animals aren't getting the care and there is concern for the living environment then they can be removed."

Other branches helped saved basset hounds, shar-pei, golden retrievers, dachshunds, beagles, pomeranians, Jack Russell terriers, shih-tzus and King Charles cavaliers.

Bainbridge has been at the Barrie shelter for five years and the recent large-animal intake is the seventh she has been involved in with the OSPCA.

"You never get use to it. Every animal that comes to the shelter, whether it's from a situation like this or not, it's a surprise what you're going to find out," Bainbridge said. "When we first get them in we focus on our job and when we're done we get together later and cry."

When staff at Barrie's branch heard about the large-animal removal, they scrambled to find space in their shelter which was already at capacity, Bainbridge said.

"The animals arrived at 3 a.m. and we did an intake and got them settled and they are all doing great," she said. "We had to reach into our foster pool and do some begging."

Although many of the dogs have received medical treatment and are now in good health, Bainbridge said the abuse animals receive at the hands of neglectful owners is something she'll never understand.

"Everyday is different and every dog and cat teaches us something new," Bainbridge said.

"We just take what the day throws at us and that's what we're here for. It's what we live for."

Animal cruelty is something Bainbridge sees everyday, and about three weeks ago she arrived at work to find someone had left a dog tied to the shelter's fence with nothing to indicate what the dog's name was.

"We focus. There's time for crying later," she said.

If residents are looking to adopt a dog, Bainbridge said the holiday season is a great time to connect with a new pet and spend some well needed time with a lovable animal.

"If anyone is interested in adding an animal to their home during the Christmas holidays then it's a perfect time to add a family member," she said. "They are available now. We don't them to be in cages too much longer."

The Huron County home remains under investigation and officials have said if the home is classified as a puppy mill or if charges will be laid.

Bainbridge reminds Barrie residents the dogs are healthy and ready to go to good homes.

"They (dogs) are ready for their debut," she said. "We want them (Barrie residents) to be aware they are available for adoption now."

Anyone interested in adopting a dog should contact the OSPCA at 705-728-7311.

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