Quiet homes sought for 16 border collies seized from breeder

The Nova Scotia SPCA is looking for homes for 16 border collies seized from a breeder near Wolfville, N.S., last month.

The animals were among 35 dogs found Dec. 10 living in what the SPCA called “unsanitary conditions.”

At a hearing held Dec. 30, witnesses described seeing dogs living in crates, soaked in urine, with matted fur, dental issues and worms. Some of the animals had severe behavioural issues, including anxiety and extreme fear of humans.

The animal welfare agency has already found homes for the breeder’s Jack Russell terriers, but many of the border collies needed extra training and socialization before they could be placed in new homes.

The dogs have been through weeks of intensive training and socialization. (Amy Smith/CBC)

Sandra Flemming, the SPCA’s director of animal care, said the dogs have been through several weeks of intensive rehabilitation.

“They’re very sweet dogs,” she said. “The best thing about them is that they’re not aggressive when they’re scared — they just kind of shut down.”

The SPCA is looking for homes outside of urban centres because the dogs could be startled by traffic and other stimuli.

Applicants must also:

  • Have a quiet home.
  • Have children aged 16 or older, if any.
  • Be experienced dog owners.
  • Have time to continue rehabilitating the dog, including attending training sessions or speaking with a trainer over the phone.
  • Have a successful meet-and-greet with any other dogs in the household.

For some of the dogs, simple skills like walking on a leash or taking a treat from someone’s hand are challenging. (Amy Smith/CBC)

The agency says other criteria that are beneficial, but not required, include:

  • Having other dogs in the home to learn positive behaviours.
  • Having a fenced yard.
  • Having experience with border collies or another active, intelligent breed.

Flemming said applicants will need to give the dogs lots of positive reinforcement and give them time to settle in.

“Just to be patient is the probably the biggest thing and to know that you’re going to have some great days and then you’re going have some some setbacks.”

The SPCA is looking for quiet homes outside of urban centres to rehome the dogs. (Amy Smith/CBC)

Those who end up adopting the pups will receive ongoing assistance from the SPCA.

“Taking them home doesn’t mean you’re on your own. These are dogs that we probably will have in our family for quite a little while. And anything that people that bring them home need, we’re going to help them with that.”

Karin Robertson, the original owner of the dogs, is facing charges of failing to comply with orders in relation to bringing the environment of the animals up to minimum standards and for causing an animal to be in distress through her actions.

Robertson has said the dogs were always cared for, fed and loved.

She is scheduled to appear in Kentville provincial court this Tuesday.

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