EJ Rescue, an Airdrie dog rescue, had a number of dogs removed from its operations earlier this week.
A petition to shut down the business was started on Oct. 16, which has garnered nearly 2,000 votes.
According to the petition, former volunteers of the business filed many complaints with the SPCA without any changes brought to the rescue facility.
The petition also lists at least five lengthy negative media stories about the facility and its owner dating back to 2020.
According to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS), all animal shelters should provide sanitary living conditions, adequate nutrition, necessary medical care and sufficient space for animals – standards which the petition states this facility violates.
Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) confirmed that they removed dogs from a business in Airdrie on Dec. 5, which are now in the care of the SPCA.
Reportedly, complaints from neighbouring businesses and members of the community prompted the SPCA to visit the business with Airdrie bylaw enforcement and Airdrie RCMP to keep the peace.
During that visit, the SPCA seized a number of dogs, but two individuals were also arrested for obstructing peace officers.
The owner of the business had reportedly locked out police officials with a search warrant.
According to other sources the business is licensed by the city to have 60 dogs.
The SPCA said an investigation into the business is ongoing.
“Generally, when we remove animals from any property, it's because they're in distress,” said Dan Kobe, the SPCA’s director of communications.
He said the SPCA’s role in any investigation is to alleviate the distress in the animals.
“Any decision on a business or a person owning animals moving forward is a decision that comes from a judge, not from us,” he said.
Peace officers have authority to lay charges under the Animal Protection Act.
Kobe also noted that animal welfare organizations in Alberta are largely unregulated, which means they must abide by the animal protection act but are not inspected by any governing body.
EJ Rescue is an Airdrie-based organization classified as a non-profit organization on its social media page.
"We are a not-for-profit animal rescue committed to doing our best to give dogs in need a better life," its social media page states.