Two women from the Sarnia area have been charged after Barrie police came across several animals late last week that were being kept in "deplorable and unsanitary conditions."
Barrie police entered into a lengthy investigation that was centred on a number of dogs that were in the care of two women, whom police identified as a mother and daughter. The animals were discovered inside vehicles at a Bryne Drive hotel in the city's south end.
Local police were assisted by an inspector from the Ministry of the Solicitor General Animal Welfare Services, and it was determined that two women, aged 54 and 23 from the Sarnia area, were in possession of 14 dogs and one cat.
Police say the collaborative investigation that was undertaken by police and Animal Welfare Services focused on the health and well-being of the animals and that a number of them had been left unattended overnight in two unheated vehicles connected to the women.
On Saturday, three dogs and a cat were surrendered to officials from the Barrie Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), which was also assisting, and offered to take possession of all the remaining dogs so that they, too, could receive proper care.
As the investigation continued, police say one of the surrendered dogs, a German shepherd, which was "visibly underfed, emaciated and very lethargic," required emergency surgery to remove a foreign body from its stomach. The dog survived the life-saving operation and is now recovering.
On Tuesday, Barrie police advised the public that the women had left Barrie and that their whereabouts was unknown.
"The investigating officer made significant efforts to locate them, but after those attempts failed, warrants of arrest were issued," Barrie police said in a news release issued Thursday.
On Wednesday morning, the two women attended the Sarnia Police Service where they were arrested and each charged with causing unnecessary suffering and two counts of causing damage or injury, contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada. They were released a short time later and are scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Barrie on March 22.