By Matthew Van Dongen
WATERFORD Art Healey starting breathing easy again after the kennel near his McLaren Street home was emptied late last week by animal welfare officials.
“The smell was so doggone bad you could barely keep anything down,” said the Waterford homeowner, who added problems began when the Thompson Road kennel changed hands earlier this year. “And the yipping, from so many (dogs)? Boy, it was enough to drive you crazy.”
Healey had considered complaining to Norfolk County about the neighbouring collection of cages, ramshackle buildings and piled garbage bags but he was too late. Neighbours said officials from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals arrived to cart away the animals late last week.
The provincial society teamed up with its Hamilton-Burlington affiliate and Ontario Provincial Police started last weekend with a raid on a Waterford property, removing 149 small dogs living in “unacceptable conditions,” according to a cryptic release.
None of the enforcement agencies involved would reveal the address of the property, the breed of the dogs, their current whereabouts or even their condition.
“They’re receiving the necessary care,” said Brad Dewar, an investigation spokesperson for the OSPCA. “We can’t reveal anything else at this time to preserve the integrity of the investigation.”
SPCA investigator Vivian LaFlamme said the dog breed can’t be identified because it is unique and potentially identifies people linked to the investigation. She said investigators know who owns the dogs, but emphasized no charges have been laid.
Neighbours reported to The Spectator that officials from the SPCA spent a full day at a Thompson Road property near Healey’s home. Several people involved in the dog breeding and show industry, all of whom requested anonymity, also flagged the property and provided related letters of complaint submitted to the Ontario agency and OPP.
The kennel land was purchased by Lisa Avery in January of this year for $80,000, property records show.
A Lisa Avery from Brantford is also identified online as a Canadian Kennel Club-licensed show dog judge. Reached at home in Brantford, Avery acknowledged the raid on her property but said she doesn’t own any of the dogs.
Avery said she recently started renting out the property and thought a tenant she identified as Johnnyangel Voyager was running a kennel. She declined to explain further, citing the ongoing investigation.
A man variously referred to as Johnnyangel Voyager and Johnny Angel is repeatedly identified online and by other industry players reached by The Spectator as a Canadian Kennel Club-registered breeder of Italian greyhounds.
A breeder website linked to the same name, Angel Iggies, says Italian greyhounds from the breeder have recently won multiple show dog awards.
A man who answered a phone number listed for “Johnnyangel” on the Angel Iggies website Tuesday said it was a wrong number.
The Spectator was also unable to reach the breeder via email or Facebook Tuesday.
Read more: thespec.com