Animal control officials have released more details on an animal cruelty investigation near Swan River.

Following an investigation, RCMP, veterinary and animal control officials seized 27 dogs, 15 horses and two donkeys from a farm in the area on Dec. 1.

Animal control officer Jeff Blythe said conditions at the site were shocking.

"There was the smell of rotting flesh. Dogs were covered in manure. They were scared--they were so terrified," said Blythe.

Food for the animals was scarce. Some of the animals could barely walk with hooves left untrimmed, while a chain had become embedded in the neck of one of the dogs. Surgery was needed to remove it.

Animal control and veterinarian officials were joined by RCMP and volunteers in rounding up the animals.

"I was calling neighbours, farmers. They are the real heroes here…taking a day off to save feral dogs," said Blythe.

A local breeder said she also had issued a previous complaint about the farm.

Sharon Otto visited the farm back in June of 2008 to look at some puppies and said she noticed right away many of the animals were not being properly cared for.

Otto said she alerted an animal control officer in the RM of Swan River and issued a formal complaint with the provincial vet at the time. She said nothing was done at the time.

The provincial vet's office said it can't comment on specific cases but explained that all complaints of animal cruelty are investigated by the provincial animal protection officer.

Veterinarians are currently checking the health of all the animals. Depending on what happens in the court case, the animals could be eventually adopted.

A 68-year-old man was arrested in the Swan River investigation. He was later released and is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 5 for charges of cruelty to animals.


More photos from the animal cruelty investigation are available online -- please note images in the gallery and in the video on the top right may not be suitable for all viewers.