Two charges have been laid in relation to an investigation regarding EJ Rescue Foundation. Airdrie's Municipal Enforcement confirmed that one charge falls under the business license bylaw, while the other pertains to the provincial Animal Protection Act.

Municipal Enforcement Officer, Sgt. Brad Tomlinson, stated that the Animal Protection Act charges are linked to a clause addressing individuals causing distress to animals.

According to the provincial Animal Protection Act, distress is defined as an animal that is deprived of adequate shelter, ventilation, space, food, water or veterinary care or reasonable protection from injurious heat or cold; an animal that is injured, sick, in pain or suffering, or abused or subjected to undue hardship, privation or neglect. 

On Tuesday, December 12, Municipal Enforcement was at the site of EJ Rescue in the city's Northeast, executing a provincial search warrant. Earlier in December, The Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) had also been at the Airdrie business, seizing dogs.

In total, Sgt. Tomlinson said that 44 dogs were seized, with 29 dogs being seized last week, and another a previous 15 dogs being seized earlier in the month. In previous comments to DiscoverAirdrie, a City spokesperson confirmed that as of December 13, no more dogs remained at the rescue.

When asked why Municipal Enforcement returned less than a week after the original seizure, Tomlinson said that the investigation revealed further information that more animals may need to be removed.

He would not comment on the health of the animals upon being seized, only adding that they were all seen and assessed by a veterinarian. When asked if Municipal Enforcement is worried that more dogs may appear in the rescue, Sgt. Tomlinson said that law enforcement will continue to investigate. 

"Anything that we get going forward, of course, we're going to continue to investigate it," he said.

Previously, EJ Rescue Foundation's Facebook account continued to post about potential fostering and adoption opportunities on the day of the original seizure that was carried out by the SPCA and for several days after dogs were seized from the business.

Documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (The FOIP Act) by DiscoverAirdrie from The City of Airdrie show that there were multiple complaints from residents about the business in question. Complaints stretch back to 2016 and vary from multiple complaints about odours, and feces being left in a caged area behind the business, to dogs running at large after having jumped over the fenced enclosure. 

However, Sgt. Tomlinson said that it takes time and resources to collect evidence in order to lay charges.

"I'm talking more to the Animal Protection Act, [there is a] high burden of proof, but we investigate every complaint within our authority as fully as possible. I can say previous charges have been laid in the past as a result of complaints. I'm not saying that they're the same ones as this time, but we investigate everything to the fullest when complaints come in."

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