02/07/2014 10:00 EST | Updated 04/09/2014 05:59 EDT

Neglected dogs receiving care from Kelowna SPCA

Staff at the Kelowna and Penticton SPCA branches are now working with 16 dogs that were seized along with two horses on a rural property near Clearwater B.C. last week.

Most of the rescued dogs were standard poodle and golden retriever crosses known as golden doodles. Many were found to have severely matted coats. SPCA constables also found two dogs and a calf dead on the same property.

Suzanne Pugh, CEO of the Kelowna SPCA, says staff have been slowly and carefully clipping away the clumps of hair over the past week.

"What a lot of people don't know about mats, is that it actually can become life threatening and it can lead to circulation issues, and it is known in the veterinary world that an animal can lose its life because of severe matting."

Pugh says the dogs are also very timid and need to be slowly habituated to humans.

The horses, both of which were kept in what the SPCA called "substandard" conditions and suffering from cracked hooves, have been taken to Kamloops.

The SPCA doesn't yet legally own the animals, because their owner has another week to apply to have the animals returned.

But Pugh says the SPCA would likely fight that application. Charges of animal cruelty are pending.