Dozens of wiener dogs seized earlier this month from a Kamloops-area property have apparently been returned to the breeder.
A representative of the breeder told Castanet Kamloops she was scheduled to receive the dogs on Friday.
The breeder, Marisa Panter, has maintained the SPCA was in the wrong when they took a total of 38 dogs — 10 adults and 28 puppies — from her Heffley Creek property on April 6. Panter told Castanet Kamloops her lawyer warned her not to speak to reporters.
The representative said the SPCA has handed Panter a bill for $5,570.25 to cover boarding costs for the dozens of dachshunds that were housed by the organization over the last couple of weeks.
Castanet has been told Panter has taken measures to construct new kennels for the dogs, complying with a kennel code the SPCA provided when they first came to inspect her property.
Upon seizing the dachshunds, the SPCA issued a statement saying the dogs were living in cages and areas with excessive feces and high levels of ammonia from urine — allegations that Panter, along with dozens of families who have purchased dogs from her, has disputed.
Castanet Kamloops has reached out a number of times to the SPCA for comment and has not yet heard back directly. However, multiple emails sent to members of the public from SPCA officials were forwarded to Castanet, indicating the dogs have indeed been returned.
“We are required, by law, to follow an appeal process in which an owner can dispute a seizure and seek the return of their animals. ... In this case, the submission by the breeder included two glowing recommendations from her veterinarian, even though this veterinarian had seen the environment in which the dogs were living in (environment was the primary reason the dogs were seized),” one email said.
“Given this, and that the owner has also now made changes to the environment, we had no option but to return the animals under an Agreement of Care that outlines specific care conditions that must be upheld moving forward. The BC SPCA will be doing follow up visits to ensure compliance.”
In an earlier interview with Castanet Kamloops, Panter said the dog runs were cleaned three to four times per day, and pens housing the puppies were cleaned every couple of hours.
She said the dogs had excellent vet care.
“I called our vet out here to do a walk-through of our house. And she was not concerned with any of the conditions of our house,” Panter said.
Those claims were disputed in court documents — namely a warrant application written by SPCA investigators, which laid out a number of allegations about the conditions on Panter’s property. The document quoted Panter’s vet as saying changes had to be made on the property.
A social media post on the breeder’s Facebook page that has since been deleted, indicating the dogs would be returned, garnered varied reactions online.
Dozens of people have voiced support for Panter on her social media pages and through messages to Castanet Kamloops, with many donating to help cover Panter’s legal fees.
One person reached out to Castanet saying they had received a puppy from RD Dachshunds in the fall of 2020, an “incredible, healthy, confident, smart dog.”
“Marisa is not a ‘backyard breeder’ neglecting the dogs like the SPCA is making her out to seem,” the message said.
Another person said they chose to purchase dogs from Panter as they saw she truly cared for the dogs’ wellbeing.
“She still cares about how they’re doing long after she’s given them away. Every time I have a question about my dogs she is willing to answer.”
However, a number of people have spoken out against Panter’s operation.
Heather Gernack said she almost purchased a dog from Panter, but reconsidered after having conversations from others who had been on the property.
Gernack said she believes many of Panter’s supporters had interactions with Panter when she was a “good family breeder,” but haven’t seen how the operation has grown.
“If they release those dogs to her, I’m no longer donating to the SPCA, ever again,” Gernack said.
One woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Castanet Kamloops in an email she has visited Panter’s property, and was “distressed” by what she saw.
“Lots and lots of dogs, in one pen outside … dogs pooping and peeing inside her house, dogs locked in dirty cages. The house was simply just dirty,” the email said.
The woman said she is fostering a puppy from Panter, and although the dog’s temperament is “amazing,” she has some health problems.
“She could barely use her hind legs at all, and to top it off, she had several ear mites.”
The woman has said she is “willing to fight as long as possible” to keep this dog from being returned to Panter.