WARNING: Graphic images/content: SPCA investigating dead animals near Stafford Lake

By Geoff Smith (@GeoffSmithLNN on Twitter)
March 9, 2018 - 10:11am Updated: March 9, 2018 - 12:28pm

LETHBRIDGE – The Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says it will take some time to investigate, after dead animals were found on a property east of Coaldale.

Eva Richardson, the granddaughter of the property owner in the Stafford Lake area, published graphic photos on Facebook Wednesday, March 7, of cats and dogs that had been found dead in cardboard boxes, after her grandmother’s tenant moved away. She found them while cleaning up the property.

The property owner, Sandra Thompson, said the woman and her kids were evicted at the end of December for non-payment of rent and for having animals they weren’t supposed to have. A neighbour reported hearing a dog howling, and Thompson found a dog that had recently given birth, along with a kitten. They were rescued by the SPCA.

Finally, after the cold weather ended last week, Thompson went into the garage to begin sorting through the tenant’s belongings. She saw what appeared to be leather in one box, then opened another that was taped shut. Inside were three dead kittens.

“There was food – you could tell they’d been in there a while, there was poop, and dumped food, and claw marks on the inside of the box,” Thompson told Lethbridge News Now in an interview. “They were frozen.”

That prompted her to check the first box again, and two more kittens were found inside. One had apparently eaten the other. Later, while taking other boxes to the dump, she found two dead puppies – the offspring of the mother that had earlier been rescued.

“It looks like they’d been stepped on, there was a footprint on one of them. But they were flattened right out.”

Roland Lines, communications manager for the SPCA, said an investigation is under way.

“I can confirm that an officer from the Alberta SCPA did attend the property (Thursday) to collect the remains of the dogs and cats that were reported to us,” Lines said in an interview Friday. He explained it’s still very early in the investigation, and no charges are pending at this point.

“We still need to establish a cause of death, which will take some time with veterinary pathology on those remains,” he said. “If we find that there’s evidence of wrongdoing, then obviously the next step would be establishing who is responsible for that.”

(NOTE: This story has been updated with additional information.)

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