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Search warrant documents suggest ‘inadequate conditions’ on animal breeder’s property near Vulcan
CTV News has obtained a copy of search warrant documents outlining what a peace officer discovered on a property belonging to Tyler ‘Ty’ Marshall, an animal breeder who had been charged under the Animal Protection Act before the charges were withdrawn earlier this month.
The peace officer’s 2017 visit to the rural property in Vulcan County, near the Village of Milo, resulted in the issuing of a search warrant and the seizure of 131 dogs, 62 rabbits, eight cats and three tortoises by the Alberta SPCA.
Marshall was charged with allowing animals to be in distress and failing to provide proper veterinary care under the provincial Animal Protection Act. The charges were withdrawn and earlier this month the animal breeder made a plea deal and was fined $10,000 for not having the appropriate permits for having more than three adult dogs on his property.
In the search warrant documents, the peace officer stated that he had found dogs with rotting teeth and abscesses, dogs that were severely matted with feces and tangled hair, dogs with cuts and infections to their feet that were the result of cages with wire floors, and pens that were sufficient for up to four dogs but housed 10 small breed dogs.
The peace officer’s report said overcrowding, insufficient temperature, inadequate lighting, poor or no ventilation, and numerous untreated medical conditions are constantly putting these animals into distress.
The conditions the peace officer says he encountered during his visit and documented were not presented in court and the Crown and defence reached a deal to drop the Animal Protection Act charges.
Animal rights advocates are appalled that the allegations against Marshall were never tried in court.
“That fine is a joke,” said Sharon Dacen, an animal advocate who fostered two of the seized dogs. “You don’t make deal with animal abuse cases, you make a deal with a parking ticket. This is horrific.”
“I have fostered 107 dogs to date with various rescue agencies in the city and those two were the worst cases I’ve ever seen.”
Officials with the Alberta SPCA say they were pleased with the fine against Marshall but had hoped for a decision that would have included provisions to ensure animals are protected.
“We would have preferred to have some type of inspection rights on the property which didn’t come with the withdrawal of the animal protection charges,” said Ken Dean, Alberta SPCA’s director of animal protection services.
Marshall continues to operate his business and sell animals under the name ‘Ty’s Exotics’. The animal breeder did not respond to CTV’s interview requests but his lawyer, Brendan M. Miller, issued the following statement:
All charges under the Animal Protection Act against Tyler Marshall have now been withdrawn. This is the case with the offence charged in Okotoks, Alberta and the offences charged in Vulcan, Alberta. With respect to the matter in Vulcan, Mr. Marshall acknowledged he did not have a permit to have more than 3 adult dogs on his property in violation of a local b...ylaw. He was unaware of that requirement, and accepts full responsibility for the omission in the form of a $10,000.00 fine, the funds of which will go to Vulcan County. Mr. Marshall is pleased that the funds are going to Vulcan County, a community he grew up in and loves. He thanks the community of Vulcan for their support through this stressful time.
Mr. Marshall has never been cruel to animals, caused them harm or distress. Mr. Marshall maintains that his rights were egregiously violated by the conduct of the Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) beginning in April of 2017.
Mr. Marshall has filed a civil suit against the ASPCA in the Court of Queen’s Bench due to their conduct against him. He looks forward to the matter proceeding so that he can show the public how humanely he treats animals, as well as expose the misconduct of the ASPCA in this case.
Following the withdrawal of the Animal Protection Act charges, Miller confirmed that a civil suit originally filed in 2017 will be revised and refiled against the Alberta SPCA regarding the ‘egregious violations of Tyler Marshall’s rights’. The suit claims the seizure of the animals was a breach of Marshall’s charter rights, the animals were worth approximately $200,000, and Marshall lost significant income as a result of the seizure.
With files from CTV's Shaun Frenette