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B.C. man has dog seized after leaving it in ‘critical distress’

Ivermectin toxicity suspected by vet leads to animal being removed from home
An Armstrong man has lost an appeal to have his dog returned after it was seized by the BC SPCA for Ivermectin toxicity and ignoring a treatment plan laid out by a veterinarian. (Stock photo)

An Armstrong man has lost his dog and an appeal for its return.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (society) ruled to seize Romeo Leduc’s dog, Rufus, on Sept. 29, from his Armstrong home. The B.C. Farm Industry Review Board upheld the ruling on Nov. 15, after an appeal from Leduc, who sought to have Rufus returned.

It was on Sept. 12 that the society received a complaint from a veterinarian hospital that had seen Rufus on Sept. 7. The complainant said Rufus had been vomiting, was lethargic and not moving or responding properly, and presented a painful abdomen.

The complainant said Leduc had refused to either hospitalize Rufus or provide any outpatient care as recommended by the veterinarian. Rufus was subsequently released on an ‘against veterinarian medical advice’ basis.

A special provincial constable contacted Leduc to check in on Rufus on Sept. 12, explaining her concern and advising Leduc it was illegal to allow an animal to remain in distress. Leduc denied that Rufus needed further veterinary care and hung up.

The constable attended Leduc’s residence that same day. He wasn’t home but said Rufus was outside and walked up to the constable. She saw him walking “with a wobble,” and “appeared to tremoring and disoriented; drooling excessively; was lethargic; and his abdomen and back end were extremely sensitive.”

She determined Rufus was in critical distress and removed him from the property, taping a Notice of Critical Distress order to Leduc’s home.

Rufus was taken to a veterinarian hospital and received life-saving, emergency medical treatment. The treating veterinarian determined Rufus was suffering from Ivermectin toxicity. Ivermectin is a medicine for animals that treats certain parasites and helps prevent heartworm disease.

The dog made a full recovery and was discharged Sept. 14. The constable provided Leduc with a Notice of Disposition that Rufus was being held in protective custody, and that he had the right to appeal the decision.

On Sept. 29, Marcie Moriarty, Chief Prevention and Enforcement Officer for the society, wrote in her decision to not give Rufus back to Leduc: “Ultimately, I need to be confident that if Rufus were to be returned that he would remain free from distress.

“I am not confident that should he be returned to you, that you would be able to deliver him timely and consistent veterinary care. In fact, your home remedy of giving Rufus the Ivermectin, caused his condition to further decline to the point of visual blindness upon entering veterinary care.”

Leduc appealed Oct. 3. His sister, Toni Leduc, testified during the appeal hearing that Rufus may have had a bowel obstruction prior to the seizure from eating grapes off large vines on their property. It was Toni who gave Rufus a small dose of Ivermectin on the morning of Sept. 11, stating it’s a good medicine for dogs to keep parasites out of their body.

The review board panel said it was satisfied that Rufus was in critical distress at the time that he was seized and as a result Rufus’ seizure by the society was necessary and appropriate in the circumstances.

The panel found that the society is “permitted in its discretion to destroy, sell or otherwise dispose of Rufus, with the obvious hope and expectation that Rufus will be adopted,” and ordered Leduc to pay nearly $1,900 in veterinary costs.

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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