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12 dogs, including 6 puppies, seized from home after cyclist bitten near Dorchester, Ont.

The owner of a kennel that took in a dozen dogs from a Thames Centre, Ont., home over the weekend said they’ve been fielding complaints about the home for roughly a year.

Tracey Gibson, owner of Hillside Kennels Animal Control, said the municipality recently contacted her to say police were ready to execute a warrant at the home.

“We’ve had multiple calls — in the middle of the night, during the day, all kinds of things — by the time we get there, the dogs are usually long gone and we can’t find them.”

After seizing the dogs, however, Gibson claimed that only one is aggressive.

“One is not nice at all. We can’t touch him … we cannot rehome him,” she said.

“The other dogs are all very friendly. Very, very big, big dogs, but they are all friendly.”

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The dogs are all fairly young as well, she said.

OPP Const. Jeff Hare said police were already investigating complaints “over the last couple of months” when a cyclist was bitten while riding past the address, prompting the warrant.

Provincial police said its members executed a search warrant at a home on Marion Street just outside of Dorchester at around 4:10 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, with the assistance of a local kennel.

Twelve dogs were seized and a 63-year-old has been charged under the Dog Owners’ Liability Act with failing to exercise reasonable precautions to prevent a dog from behaving in a menacing way and failing to prevent biting or attacking a person or domestic animal. Hare said police are not anticipating any Criminal Code charges in connection with the investigation.

Gibson said the kennel ended up taking in more than twice as many dogs as expected.

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“There was only supposed to be five dogs. That’s what we were told,” she said. But then she recognized one of the dogs and realized she had recently had a litter.

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“When we pulled Zoe out (on Saturday), we know that she had milk, so we knew she had puppies, so we had to go in and find the puppies.”

Gibson said six puppies, only about a week old, were found on blankets on the floor of one of the rooms in the home. While she alleged they were found in dirty conditions, she said that all 12 dogs, including the puppies, are in good health.

Gibson said the kennel had picked Zoe up in Brantford two years ago. At that time, the brindle mastiff had a piece of metal through her eyelid and required surgery. She said the owner later contacted the kennel and said the dog had gone missing and came to collect her and pay for the surgery.

Zoe before and after surgery in 2022. supplied by Tracey Gibson

She added that all of the dogs have now been surrendered to the kennel and will be quarantined until Thursday. She’s hoping the dogs, aside from the aggressive one, can be rehomed but it may be difficult.

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“We’ve had three puppies up on our page for two weeks now, and they’re finally getting adopted now. So even puppies these days are not easy to adopt.”

Including the dozen dogs they just picked up, Gibson said the kennel currently has about 50 dogs. Because they are an animal control they have to respond to strays found in their service area.

“We’re not afraid to say that we have to euthanize because it’s a reality,” she added.

“People need to understand that that is the reality. And then maybe they’ll think twice about dumping their dog. Or letting their dog get bred.”

Gibson urges everyone to spay and neuter their dogs.

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