B.C.’s Farm Industry Review Board has rejected an appeal by a man whose dog was seized after complaints it was ingesting heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl.
The SPCA seized K.R.'s dog Bailey because she was regularly overdosing and in distress. K.R. had sought Bailey’s return but the board concluded Bailey should be kept by the SPCA and adopted out if possible.
“Throughout the hearing, the appellant denied any responsibility for Bailey’s repeated exposure to toxic drugs,” board member Wendy Holm wrote in her Feb. 27 decision.
The SPCA had received a complaint that K.R.’s dog Bailey was ingesting the drugs while living with K.R. in Vancouver social housing.
Before Bailey was seized Dec. 14, the SPCA had attended the property on three separate occasions in response to complaints that Bailey was suffering from exposure to toxic drugs.
The first complaint came from a housing staff member on July 17.
The staffer said Bailey was regularly exhibiting the symptoms of heroin intoxication from ingesting or inhaling the drug while in K.R.’s room and that Bailey was “a totally different dog” before and after exposure to drugs.
The staffer said there were often up to 10 people in K.R.’s room doing drugs.
“After one hour being inside the room, Bailey’s eyes would be dilated, her tail would be between her legs, her ears would be down, and she would be woozy, coughing and vomiting,” Holm said.
The staffer said it had been going on for months. And, they said, three months earlier a staff member had taken Bailey to a local veterinarian who had found fentanyl in her system.
The staffer further said Bailey was kept in K.R.’s room without adequate exercise, and that urine and feces in the bathroom of the unit created unsanitary conditions for the dog.
Special Provincial Constable Felix Cheung went to the property and was told K.R. was a drug dealer. When Chung visited the unit, the dog appeared happy and healthy. K.R. denied smoking drugs in front of Bailey.
K.R. was warned that, if Bailey was exposed to drugs, there could be legal action.
On Dec. 11, the SPCA was called again. The complainant said Bailey “was lethargic, unable to stand and yelped when moved. The complainant further noted that Bailey had her tail tucked between her legs and was having difficulty defecating. The complainant stated that there was blood in Bailey’s stool.”
Again, Cheung attended but K.R said the dog had been with a staff member for two hours. K.R. suggested Bailey found the drugs in the hallway.
Cheung warned that if Bailey worsened, the dog would have to go to a vet.
Two days later, the staffer called to say “Bailey was lethargic, whimpering, shaking and unable to get up off the ground.”
The dog was given Narcan, something a confidential witness said had happened several times.
The property manager told Cheung she believed Bailey had overdosed as a result of being in K.R.’s unit.
The manager said K.R.’s family was visiting, and that they were smoking crystal meth and fentanyl. Bailey had been regularly overdosing since the family’s arrival, the manager said.
Bailey was seized from K.R. the next day.
A veterinarian confirmed that Bailey tested positive for opioids, cocaine and amphetamines.
The SPCA declined to return Bailey.
“There is simply nothing before me that would lead me to believe it is in Bailey’s best interest to be returned to you,” an SPCA reviewer said.
In appealing the SPCA decision, K.R., who lives in a harm-reduction building, claimed before the board that the source of Bailey’s drug exposure was outside of his unit, in the hallways of the building or outside while on walks with staff.
K.R. said it was impossible that Bailey had come into contact with drugs in his unit after July.
“No one smokes drugs around Bailey,” he said.
“He claimed that he and his family used drugs one to three times a week, only when Bailey was with the staff, and that he would clean the room before Bailey returned,” Holm said.
K.R. admitted he used fentanyl and heroin as painkillers. He conceded it was possible visitors used amphetamines.
The SPCA argued against Bailey’s return to K.R., saying she had taken no responsibility in the situation.
The board concluded the source of the drugs was K.R.’s unit.
“The evidence suggests Bailey’s distress would continue if returned, with potentially fatal consequences,” the decision said.