‘Horrific’ scene as Pet Save Sudbury rescues over 40 dogs in Innerkip, Ont., after owner’s death

Sudbury

Rescue volunteers came upon a “gory” scene at a bungalow in the small Ontario community of Innerkip, about 50 kilometres northwest of London, where dozens of dogs had turned on each other after their owner died.

One of the dozens of dogs rescued from a house in Innerkip, Ont. This animal and others are recovering at the Hillside Kennels Animal Control, which was contacted to assist in taking them from the home. (Hillside Kennels Animal Control on Facebook)

Warning: This story contains distressing details.

The director of Pet Save Sudbury said volunteers came upon a "gory" scene at a bungalow in the small Ontario community of Innerkip, about 50 kilometres northwest of London.

More than 40 dogs had been hoarded, possibly for several years, before they turned on one another following the death of their owner, Jill Pessot said.

"It was a very gory scene. It was just so horrific," Pessot said. "And at the same time, I thought, like, 'How does it get this bad?'

"They started to devour the owner who passed away," Pessot said. "Dogs kill each other to survive. No dog should go through that, no human should."

Pessot said the home had been under investigation by Ontario Provincial Police for three years, but it wasn't until officers went to there on a wellness check that they discovered the brutal scene.

After seeing the number of dogs in a distressed state, officers contacted Hillside Kennels Animal Control, a local animal control centre, to assist.

It took the combined effort of several groups from the area to see the dogs to safety.

That group included Pet Save Sudbury, which makes use of the Barkbus, a modified trailer that can transport large numbers of animals simultaneously.

Many of the dogs rescued from Innerkip show signs of abuse and neglect, says Jill Pessot, director of Pet Save Sudbury. (Supplied by Jill Pessot)

According to Pessot, the dogs were starved, and some had multiple scars and open sores. She said that despite being at capacity in her own facility, she felt compelled to make room for the rescued animals.

"It was heartbreaking to see the pictures," she said. "But when you see something like that, you just have to remove the dogs."

Every rescued dog is now on medication, Pessot said, adding she had seen serious abuse cases in single animals, but never in a pack that large.

"Every one of them is not well," she said. "They've got open wounds, infections, skin conditions. They were flea-infested. So, you know, there's a multitude of problems going on."

Pessot says the over 40 dogs had been hoarded, possibly for several years, before they turned on one another.(Jan Lakes/CBC)

Dogs 'terrified,' recovery could take weeks

Pessot estimated it could take four to eight weeks for the rescued dogs to recover both physically and mentally.

"I'm surprised actually how well they're doing today compared to yesterday, because when we unloaded those trucks, they were literally snarling and biting at the cage wires," she said.

"They were lunging at the gates and others were just terrified in the corners of the cages, and they just wouldn't come out."

Hillside Kennels posted photos of several dogs on Facebook on Sunday night, asking the public for donations of shampoo to help with the cleanup.

Patti Cote, a spokesperson with the Oxford detachment of the OPP, said officers were not able to confirm the homeowner's death or if any individual has had any police dealings in relation to the case.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Casey Stranges is a reporter based in Sudbury. casey.stranges@cbc.ca

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