*WARNING: Article contains graphic images*
Two dogs hardly recognizable as Staffordshire Terriers were seized from a woman’s home in Prince Edward Island. The dogs, Harley and Tikka, were taken in by P.E.I. Humane Society in December 2016 after they received tips about the dogs being neglected. They never imagined what how poorly the dogs looked when they finally seized them. Harley and Tikka were so emaciated their breed wasn’t even able to be identified. They were tied outside, alone, without food, water or shelter. Jennifer Harkness, the Society’s development co-ordinator, told CBC, “You could see all of the bones in their body.They appeared to be starving so they were in severe distress.”
Thankfully, the pups were assessed by veterinarians and put on a special feeding schedule, where they did eventually make it back to a healthy weight. After working hard to get the dogs to adequate physical health, they had to work to achieve their mental health as well. Tikka was unfortunately deemed unadoptable. Harley was adopted, but only for a short time. Alysha Campbell took 13-year-old Harley home, but his emotional state was too problematic. He suffered severe separation anxiety inside and outside of the house, and she knew he needed a different home. “He was amazing,” she told The Guardian. “He was the biggest gentle giant you would ever meet.”
Campbell and the rest of the shelter staff grew extremely attached to Harley and Tikka, especially after nurturing them back to health. Unfortunately, their efforts weren’t enough. Tikka and Harley both suffered from debilitating separation anxiety, aggression to people and animals and other behavioral issues. Because of their ages and the suffering they’d lived through, it would have been unfair to force them through any sort of recovery that may not even be possible. The decision to euthanize Tikka and Harley was heartbreaking for the shelter staff.
Their previous owner initially told investigators on the case that the dogs had escaped and been missing for several months, only to have arrived home just days before they were seized. This didn’t go over well with the court and she eventually pleaded guilty to two charges under P.E.I.’s Companion Animal Protection Act of causing or permitting a companion animal to be or continue to be in distress. She has been banned for owning pets of any kind for 5 years, will be on probation for 2 years, and was ordered to pay back the Humane Society $2,876 for the veterinary bills incurred.
The court heard this case to be one of serious neglect. The dogs were seized from outside, in the lowest possible score of physical condition, when temperatures outside were below freezing. Jennifer Harkins and the rest of P.E.I. Humane Society urge that anyone who is unable to care for their pets surrender them to someone who can. She opened the doors to offer sanctuary for pets at the Humane Society, “because no animal should have to suffer.” This is indeed a heartbreaking case of animal cruelty. These dogs may have easily been adoptable had they been relinquished to the Humane Society much earlier. If you or anyone you know is unable to provide adequate care, please seek the assistance of those willing to help.