Dog found with opioids, cocaine and amphetamines will not be returned to owner: panel

The British Columbia Agriculture Industry Review Board has dismissed the appeal of a Vancouver man whose dog was seized after he reported a drug overdose.

According to a board decision posted online, a caller called KR requested the return of Bailey, a dog seized by the BC SPCA who later tested positive for opioids, cocaine and amphetamines.

A hearing panel of the BC Farm Industry Review Board — an independent administrative tribunal whose responsibilities include hearing appeals related to pet custody decisions — sided with the rescue agency, saying that it is not in Bailey’s interest to return to KR

He said the dog should stay with the SPCA and, if possible, be put up for adoption.

The panel heard that the rescue agency visited the harm reduction building where KR lives three times before seizing Bailey in December. Harm reduction refers to an approach that aims to minimize the potential harms and dangers associated with substance use and addictive behaviors.

An SPCA special constable said KR “assumes no responsibility for Bailey’s repeated drug overdose,” according to the ruling.

“A Totally Different Dog”

The ruling says the rescue agency received a complaint last summer from property staff who said Bailey regularly showed signs of heroin intoxication.

Bailey was “a totally different dog” before and after being exposed to drugs in the KR bedroom, the staffer said.

The staff member told the SPCA that there were often up to 10 people in the room doing drugs and it had been going on for months.

“After an hour inside the room, Bailey’s eyes would be dilated, her cock would be between her legs, her ears would be down, and she would be dizzy, coughing and vomiting,” the decision read.

The staff member also said a colleague took Bailey to a vet who found fentanyl in the dog’s system.

Previous warnings against the owner

When an SPCA special agent visited KR, the dog appeared “happy and healthy,” according to the ruling. KR denied smoking drugs in front of Bailey.

Constable issued an advisory and warned that any failure to protect Bailey could result in legal action.

On December 11, the SPCA returned to the property after learning that Bailey “was lethargic, unable to stand and cried when moved.”

Cocaine powder is pictured. According to staff at a Vancouver-based harm reduction building, Bailey was “a totally different dog” before and after the drug exposure in his owner’s bedroom. (photopixels / Shutterstock)

KR suggested that Bailey must have ingested drugs after finding them in the hallways of the property. The officer gave KR another warning.

Two days later, the SPCA received another call stating that “Bailey was lethargic, moaning, shaking and unable to get up from the floor.”

The property manager later told the SPCA officer that she gave Bailey NARCAN, the nasal spray form of naloxone, which can reverse an opioid overdose. She believed Bailey overdosed because she was on KR’s unit.

The SPCA officer and Vancouver police officers executed a search warrant on December 14 and seized Bailey.

Dog placed in foster care

A veterinarian later confirmed that Bailey had tested positive for opioids, cocaine and amphetamines, “but was clinically correct and did not require further treatment or medical intervention”.

Bailey was then placed in foster care.

According to the ruling, KR admitted to using fentanyl and heroin as painkillers, some of which he may have powdered. He also confirmed that other people in his room were using the same drugs and possibly cocaine and amphetamines.

The panel said it was satisfied that the source of Bailey’s exposure to toxic drugs was the KR unit. He also found that he had done “little or nothing” to resolve the situation before the dog was seized.

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