Lifestyle & Belief

Canada: starving dogs "ate dead owners"


A woman grooms her Shetland Sheepdog on the second day of the annual Crufts dog show at the National Exhibition Centre on March 11, 2011 in Birmingham, England.


Oli Scarff

An animal welfare group in Saskatoon, Canada is trying to decide what to do with seven dogs rescued from a home after the starving animals ate the bodies of their dead owners.

Police have concluded that after the couple died at their rural home, the dogs — five Shelties and two mixed breeds — survived for several weeks by eating their owners' remains.

A concerned neighbor called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to the property outside Saskatoon, in Saskatchewan province, after the couple hadn’t been seen for a while.

Police do not suspect foul play in the death of the man, 67, and woman, 57, but a coroner is investigating the case, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports. A neighbor told CTV, the Canadian television network, that the man is thought to have taken his own life after his wife died.

Now the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Saskatoon is looking at whether the dogs should be put down or given a new home.

"You can't place a dog that's been eating on human flesh for two or three weeks and put it in a home where there might be a child,” neighbor Margaret-Ann Irving told the CBC.

The SPCA said the dogs are being assessed by to determine whether they can be adopted. Potential owners would be informed of their background, the CBC reports.

“[The] dogs didn’t attack the people and kill them, they simply did what instinct will cause them to do in a way to survive a situation of not having another means of food available to them,” SPCA spokeswoman Tiffiny Koback told Canada’s National Post newspaper.

“A dog is simply in the here-and-now, it’s simply what is available to them as a food source at the time,” she said. “They’re not going to think about the fact that ‘Well, I really enjoyed that meal and this child looks really tasty.’ They’re not going to equate the child to the situation where they had to consume what was available to them.”

The dogs are currently in the care of Saskatoon-area families, CTV reports.

Koback told the National Post that the dogs were relatively healthy when they were rescued, but “had to be freshened up” because of the odors of decomposing bodies that had been absorbed by their coats.