An animal rescue in the Peterborough, Ont., area, which earlier this year refuted claims of animal neglect and abuse, has been charged with permitting stress to animals under Ontario’s Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act.
In May, the Ministry of the Solictor General announced it was conducting an inspection of the non-profit 4 Lucky Paws Animal Rescue in Douro-Dummer Township, just east of Peterborough, following “multiple complaints.”
The rescue cared for neglected, sick or injured dogs. In lengthy social media messages in late May the rescue admitted it had accepted too many dogs from northern Ontario and Manitoba this spring. The animal rescue said over past the eight months it had received 97 dogs and that 22 puppies died due to an outbreak “but not without a fight” while receiving vet care.
“We apologize for taking on more than we were able to handle, we should have asked for help and didn’t,” the statement concluded.
A series of several videos surfaced on social media claiming to show conditions at 4 Lucky Paws including puppies in small, cramped dirty crates, dogs with health issues and alleged text messages claiming some dogs had been buried on the property.
The rescue denied the accusations, claiming videos were not from their site. The rescue also blamed former volunteers for misleading the public.
Shortly after, a group of concerned citizens held a protest outside the Peterborough County OPP detachment demanding action be taken against the dog rescue. A lobby group called Stop Mills Now claims it has been advocating since May 2022 for an investigation into 4 Lucky Paws.
On Wednesday, the Ministry announced that two people involved with the animal rescue face charges under the PAWS Act.
A resident of Douro-Dummer has been charged with three counts of permitting distress to an animal, two counts of failure to provide adequate and appropriate medical attention and one count of failure to provide care necessary for an animal’s general welfare.
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Another individual from Peterborough was charged with two counts each of permitting distress to an animal and failure to provide adequate and appropriate medical attention.
“Given this matter is now before the court, it would be inappropriate for the Ministry to provide further detail,” Ministry spokesperson Brent Ross stated.
The two accused are scheduled to appear in court in Peterborough on Nov. 27.
In its statement in May, the organization said after eight years of rescuing dogs, it stands behind the work, stating they are not “monsters” or “puppy killers” or a “puppy mill.”
“Our close supporters know the efforts we put forth to help these communities and the dogs that come through our rescue,” part of the message read.
“We are a dedicated team that used to work well together even in the toughest times but we took on too much and everything came to a head.”
Global News has requested comment from lawyer Asher Honickman who is representing the animal rescue.
More to come…
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