The owner of a Saskatoon kennel has been charged with negligence after 14 dogs died at a local boarding kennel last fall.
Dave Deplaedt, 50, was charged following an investigation conducted by the Saskatoon SPCA, with help from city police.
It found 14 large breed dogs died at Playful Paws Pet Center as a result of heat stroke and dehydration on Sept. 10, 2016.
According to police, the investigation determined the dogs were left unattended overnight at the business without water in a “dangerously warm” room.
“Normally when charges are laid in an act of animal cruelty or negligence it takes a heck-of-a long time – this was fast,” said Alix Tumback, who has been leading an effort to have the dogs memorialized in parks throughout Saskatoon. “It shows they are taking this seriously.”
Dawn Loessin lost her husky-German shepherd cross “Linc” in the incident.
She said the dog helped her daughter’s anxiety, adding the months since the tragedy have been tough.
“We still have little moments where we’ll do something or say something and he pops up,” she said. “It’s just like a fresh wound all over again.”
Loessin said her family is relieved and feels vindicated Deplaedt has been charged.
“It’ll never bring Linc back, but what it does is make Linc and the other 13 matter,” she said.
The family have since taken in another dog, but have been hesitant to leave him with any kennel.
“If our daughters had their way, we wouldn’t go anywhere if the dogs can’t go,” she said.
In social media posts since the tragedy, Playful Paws has maintained the deaths were accidental, and caused by an electrical malfunction within the heating and air conditioning systems.
The deaths intensified calls for boarding kennel regulations in Saskatchewan.
A few weeks after the incident, the business announced new safety measures for its kennels. Playful Paws modified its alarm system to include temperature sensors that will notify the manager’s phone if it gets too hot or too cold.
The staff member who wrote the post added the entire team was struggling to cope with the tragedy.
A provincial court date has been set for the Deplaedt on March 29. The negligence charge falls under the Animal Protection Act 1999.
– With files from 650 CKOM’s Chris Vandenbreekel.