CRESTON, BC, AUGUST 2002: PAWS RESCUES 56 DOGS
CHAINED TO TREES IN THE WOODS AFTER THE SPCA REFUSED FOR YEARS TO ACT.
(See the Beaverdell Seizure/Topaz Creek Rescue Comparison:

TWO CASES- A COMPARISON AND OUTCOME
(See the Beaverdell dogs pictures, click here)

August 17, 18, 19, 2002

Given by hand to: BC SPCA Special Constable Kathy Woodward and two others:

STATEMENT RE: WOUNDS FOUND ON TOPAZ CREEK DOGS
See some of the Topaz Creek dogs here

Creston, Rufus 2.JPG (73627 bytes) 1.    June 25/02    Dogs retrieved from 837 25th Avenue (Meyer's Residence)
RUFUS - Approx. 10-yr old intact male spaniel cross;
Multiple bite wounds on head, face, neck, ears and
hind-leg. Very strong odour of cat urine.
Creston, Raven.JPG (39628 bytes) 2.        July 1/02     RAVEN    Approx. 3yr old intact male Aus. Shepherd Mix;   Large infected wound (approx. 3 inches in diameter -  to the bone) to left hind leg. Would not allow anyone to approach to treat the wound or pet him.  He appeared to be in extreme pain.
Euthanised July 12/02

SUMAC    Approx. 1-year husky mix. Owner Mr Meyers claimed Sumac was a  Hermaphrodite. Veterinarian examination revealed this dog was a malformed male with an exposed penis shaft, deformed testicles, and numerous urinary tract fissures and lesions and severe and chronic bladder infection.

Mr. Meyers claimed he used this dog to service the females in heat because they would not be impregnated and that he used this dog to service and relieve the male dogs sexual frustration.
Judith Cartwright (Mr Meyer's common-law partner) corroborated this story.

This dog was euthanised to end its suffering on June 26/02

July 1/02 all the dogs in PAWS care appeared to have tick wounds on ears and necks.

2.    July 2/02        July 2 was the first day that PAWS volunteers accompanied Mr. Meyers to Topaz Creek to become "familiarized with the dogs" and to begin feeding and watering them. Mr. Meyers claimed this was the last day he would be coming up the mountain to feed - that he had no more food, his truck would not be on the road after this date.

At this time, Mr. Meyers gave us a "lesson" on how to treat the dogs. He called it the "3 Keys" and gave us a very graphic demonstration.

The first key - kneel for permission to enter the dog's circle
The second key - SPIT into the dog's mouth to establish dominance and identification.
The third key - when finished with the dog, you wiped your hands to indicate you were finished or the dog would not allow you to leave the circle.

We were then walked up the line and told the "names" of the dogs. Mr. Meyers advised us that the dogs were "colour prejudiced" and white dogs could not be placed near black dogs. He also bragged that we could take the dogs, but that they would escape and come back to him.

All the dogs displayed varying degrees of fear aggression or terror. All were very hungry. There were no dishes and had to be fed on the ground and feces were everywhere. He claimed they were watered with 5-gallon buckets so that they could stand in them (because they perspire through their feet). What we saw was that they could not reach the water in the buckets and consequently the buckets were knocked over and they went without. Mr. Meyers claims that the water was spilled because people were coming up and spilling the water. He also claimed he packed 180 gallons of water a day to the dogs.

All the dog's coats were in very poor condition, and very matted. Mr. Meyers claimed "someone" had come and poured oil on the dogs' backs. When we started to comment on the wounds, Mr. Meyers claimed it was bear, cougar and other people inflicting the wounds.

A lick sore on the foot of the top-most dog in the line, he claimed was caused by some person pouring acid on the dog's foot. The wounds noted that day included:

Creston, Duchess abscess.JPG (58127 bytes) DUCHESS    Severe open wound with large (12-inch) abscess on her right side. It was an old wound. Mr. Meyers claimed it was a new injury that must have "just happened the night before". This wound required 3 drains and an antibiotic treatment. The wound was too old to be sutured closed. Because we were assuming full care of the dogs the next day, we moved her to the bottom of the line to bring her in for medical treatment. When we returned the next day, Mr. Meyers had moved her back up to the top of the line.
CAPPY    Approx. 1yr old intact male husky cross. Large open wound on top of head, which Mr. Meyers claimed was a gunshot wound and that the bullet was probably still imbedded in his head. The wound was washed out and treated with antibiotic ointment. At this point, there was no alternate location established and we treated him on site.

BEAR        This 1-yr old intact male was at the top of the line and absolutely stressed and later, we determined, was terrified to be left alone. The lick wound on his foot was large and extremely inflamed. His long coat was tremendously matted that he could hardly lift his tail.

MAT        Approx. 1-2 yr old intact male Samoyed mix. On July 3 when PAWS began examining the dogs for ticks etc., it was discovered that, under the chain on his neck was an open wound infested with maggots. When we cut away the hair from the wound, the fur was thickly matted with thorns, dirt and other foreign objects. The neck chain was removed and replaced with a cloth collar. The wound was washed and treated with antibiotic ointment on site, as there was no established alternate site to remove the dogs to at this point.

RIVER    Approx. 9mo-1yr old intact male husky mix. Suffering from chain so tight around his neck that the links were embedded in the flesh. The flesh had to be peeled back to remove the chain. The wound was cleaned and treated with antibiotic ointment. A cloth collar replaced the chain.
Creston, Dude wound.JPG (39863 bytes) DUDE        Approx. 1 yr old intact male husky mix. Suffering from a large (2-in. diameter) open wound in the left armpit. The wound was treated with scarlet oil followed by antibiotic ointment.
LEROY    Approx. 1-2yr old intact male shepherd/husky mix. Severe facial wounds and on the legs. Many scars to face and body. Approx. July 4th, this dog had pulled out of his chain due to female dogs in heat, and inflicted severe wounds to the back of his head and neck. Another intact male had also come loose, and these two dogs had been fighting over the females. The other dog was also injured but not as seriously. The wounds were treated with antibiotic ointment; although injured he was easy to approach for treatment.

BUZZ        Approx. 1-2 yr old intact male husky mix. This dog was covered with an oily substance mixed with dirt and debris, which was matted all through his coat. Mr. Meyers claimed that "someone" had poured motor oil over him. This dog has an old scar on the back of his neck from a chain wound. Mr. Meyers had a steering wheel cover around the chain around his neck because of an injury.

All the dogs have hair missing from around their necks from the chains and clasps rubbing on their skin.

One dog (Freckles) is very fearful and is so matted that it appears his skin is sore. We have not been able to groom him yet.

We changed as many collars (chain) as we could. Some collars had to be cut off because they were too tight or had no way of removing them (tied or wired together).

Mr. Meyers also informed us that he had "dewormed" all the dogs with diatomaceous earth. He also advised us about his feeding schedule:

First of all, he claimed he fed the dogs three times per day in the summer and five times per day in the winter. Then he described the feeding schedule as:

First day - dry food
Second day - raw meat or raw fish
Third day - fast
Fourth day - pancakes / oatmeal

The only evidence we saw of food was old, dirty, soggy dog-food lying on the ground outside some of the dogs' "circles" where their chains could not reach, and old smelly cardboard boxes that appeared to have contained meat scraps.

When we assisted Mr. Meyers with that first feeding, the food we had brought was dumped on the ground in front of each dog. The dogs literally dove into the food that was poured in front of them.

The dogs had no water when we arrived, and we packed buckets of water from Topaz Creek, about mile away.

Because we were unable to remove all of the dogs immediately from the mountain, we cut up 5-gallon buckets and nailed or wired them to trees near each dog so that they were able to eat clean food and keep a supply of water that would not spill when they tried to reach into the too-deep buckets.

Every day until we were able to bring the last dog down, we spent time with each dog as we fed and watered it, talking, petting, treating wounds, and some grooming, to help them overcome their terrors and learn to trust.

The last 23 of the 56 dogs surrendered to the Creston Pet Adoption and Welfare Society were removed from their location at Topaz Creek on Kootenay pass July 28th, 2002.

I declare this report a true and accurate account of the P.A.W.S. recovery of the dogs from Topaz Creek.

Vicki McDonald, president
Creston Pet Adoption and Welfare Society
January 31, 2003

Topaz Bear before.JPG (42293 bytes)
(see Bear's Happy Ending photo below)

Topaz chained dogs.JPG (34381 bytes)

Topaz Scottie before.JPG (35109 bytes) Topaz Dancer before.JPG (50227 bytes)

Starting in November 2002, Craig Daniell became the BC SPCA's manager of Cruelty Investigations,  four months after Creston PAWS gave up begging the SPCA to help Meyers' dogs, which were suffering clear and unambiguous "critical neglect" as defined by  the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and rescued the dogs themselves.

PAWS president, Vicky MacDonald, spoke by phone on January 16th with Mr Daniell:

"Mr Daniell told me that he is very concerned about how the Topaz case was handled and is trying to find a way to get it to Crown.  It is past the 6 month deadline from the date that the dogs were signed over to PAWS but he is looking for any kind of information that will extend that deadline. 

"He said that the report from our vet, Dr. McLeod, should have been enough to bring criminal charges and the next time BJ Howe (SPCA, Cranbrook) goes calling it will be unannounced and she will be bringing with her someone qualified to closely and physically examine the dogs Bo Meyers still has.  How they "appear" is not an indication of their well-being!

"He said that there is NO DOUBT this case should have gone to Crown, that he is ordering a review of the investigation and that there will be repercussions over the inadequate handling of the case and "people will be removed" from their positions for their lack of proper investigation. 

"He also said that he is convinced that Bo will be back at it if he is not properly watched and there will be no warning for him "when" he tries to do this kind of thing again! And that a person "qualified to inspect and assess the dogs" will accompany the next SPCA rep that visits Meyers.

"I don't know how much will really get done, there is still that little niggle of distrust with the SPCA but finally, at last, it APPEARS that someone is listening!!!

"Craig repeatedly stated how he wished he had started with the BCSPCA a couple of months earlier and how upset and disappointed he was at the "shoddy" way this case was handled.  We talked about the chains in the neck, the maggots, etc and he said criminal charges should have been laid right then and there for unnecessary pain and suffering.  If the SPCA had been involved as they should have been Meyers would have been immediately before the courts."

In a March 4th phone conversation Vicky MacDonald told AAS that Meyers now has six dogs and a pregnant female.  They are chained to stumps and trees out in the open and that she has not been told what if anything the SPCA is doing except that SPCA Special Provincial Constable Brad Kuish viewed the dogs from the edges of Meyers' property in mid-February.  He could not go on the property because he had not obtained a warrant, so he would not be able to see if the dogs were thin or diseased.  This cursory inspection was made after Mr Daniell told Vicky MacDonald that

  • A person “qualified to inspect and assess the dogs” will accompany the next SPCA rep that visits Mr. Meyers
  • The dogs will be physically examined
  • It will be determined if they have clean, fresh, potable water, food adequate in quality and quantity, appropriate and acceptable shelter.

But if the SPCA had prosecuted Meyers when it should have, Meyers would undoubtedly not be permitted to own any dogs and the SPCA would have the court's authority to inspect Meyers without a warrant.

AAS believes that Mr Daniell is sincere.  But the statute of limitations was allowed to run out on this case and now he is not, as far as PAWS can determine, taking action to prevent Meyers from doing this all over again with the six dogs and litter of pups in spite of protestations and promises to PAWS president, Vicky MacDonald.

Mr Daniell has his work cut out for him if he wants the SPCA to actually prevent cruelty.  The SPCA is riddled with the type of employee who mishandled the Topaz Creek cruelty case so badly, and so blatantly ignored years of extreme distress that it can not have been mere oversight or inexperience - it had to be deliberate.  He has many more of these "old SPCA" employees to remove before the SPCA is not continuously humiliated and exposed by their actions (see the Beaverdell Seizure story, click here).  Mr Daniell inherited a legacy of fifty years of concentration by the SPCA on its pet disposal business (pound contracts and open surrender policy) and its avoidance of prevention of cruelty.  Many staff all over BC are no better than those at the Nelson and Kelowna SPCAs (see the Dog Hanging and Sheep Savaging stories in Nanaimo, (soon).  AAS has traced fifty years of SPCA animal-disposal and the kind of employees who were hired to do it.  We have ample proof that employees for years have systematically obscured and stalled and ignored evidence and witnesses until there was no case to prosecute.  We believe that Mr Daniell is going to change that, that in fact he has already begun.  But we would like to see Mr Daniell follow through, as busy as he is, on Mr Meyers, before more suffering is inflicted on more dogs at Topaz Creek.

We have less faith in the Board of Directors of the BC SPCA.   In response to a request from Gail Moerkerken of Maple Ridge, a rehomer of Topaz Creek dogs, that the SPCA move quickly to prosecute Meyers before the six-months statute of limitations for a summary offence was past, Ms Moerkerken was told that the matter would be put before the November 2002 meeting of the Board of Directors.  No action to prosecute Meyers was taken so we are left to presume that the Board decided not to prosecute Meyers and knowingly allowed the statute of limitations to expire early in January 2003.  But Meyers continues to neglect his remaining dogs and so there is an opportunity to reopen this case.  We hope Mr Daniell avails himself of this opportunity.

In fact, in a letter of February 18, 2003 to Jo-Anne Chambers of Victoria, Mr Daniell says, "Turning now to the manner in which this case will be handled in the future, I wish to place on record that a senior officer will continue to monitor the situation extremely closely and will take further action should the recommendations that were made not be followed completely".

The president of the BC SPCA, Michael Steven, in a February 17th letter to a PAWS supporter assured her that "the SPCA is monitoring the property regularly through unannounced inspections" (Ms MacDonald told AAS on April 2nd that to the best of her knowledge this is not being done), "and is working with PAWS to promote a by-law that would limit the number of animals an individual is permitted to keep on their property".  Ms MacDonald told AAS that she is not working with the SPCA, that PAWS is working on this alone, and has no knowledge of the SPCA working on this at all.

April 1/03 - Vicky MacDonald confirmed to AAS that Meyers still has his dogs chained to stumps, surrounded by car wrecks and that puppies have been heard crying.   There is no reason to believe that Meyers is not treating these dogs just as he treated the others and that these dogs too will one day be in critical distress.   Will the SPCA wait for these dogs to suffer as much as the others did? 

If the BC SPCA refuses to take any action to prosecute Meyers, the question begs to be asked - why not?  It is true that publicity would reveal the horrible extent of the dogs' suffering that the SPCA permitted for years; the gross mishandling of inspections and evidence; the way the SPCA allowed itself to be given credit for the rescue when in fact it was they who permitted the suffering, and how this credit would have resulted in an outpouring of donations to the SPCA, when in fact it was little, broke organizations that paid the bills.  But surely not wanting the public to know all that is not reason enough to permit further suffering to more Topaz Creek dogs?


topaz - after.JPG (31402 bytes)

topaz parade.JPG (35373 bytes)
Topaz Creek rescued dogs in the Creston Parade, May 17/03

 

See AAS messageboard posts on the subject of PAWS' rescue and how the SPCA took credit:
CRESTON PAWS ROBBED! http://www.animaladvocates.com/cgi-bin/newsroom.pl/read/967  
An open letter to the BC SPCA  http://www.animaladvocates.com/cgi-bin/newsroom.pl/read/972
SPCA knew about the Topaz Creek Dogs http://www.animaladvocates.com/cgi-bin/newsroom.pl/read/749 (and many more in this thread)

Back to the Beaverdell/Topaz Creek Comparison, click here