04/22/2015 02:16 EDT | Updated 07/16/2015 05:59 EDT

SPCA seizes 50 rabbits from Nanaimo property

The B.C. SPCA says it seized 50 rabbits that were being raised for meat but were living in substandard conditions on a Vancouver Island property.

The society says it received a complaint about animals living in distress near Nanaimo, B.C. After the owner failed to take steps to relieve the distress of the animals, officers moved in on April 17.

"We found a large number of animals living in substandard conditions – many were being kept in very small cages, others had no shelter, there was poor ventilation, excessive garbage and debris throughout the property and many of the animals had inadequate food or water," said animal protection officer Tina Heary.

Several of the animals were underweight and suffering from dental issues, she said, and a small-breed dog was also taken into custody that needed veterinary care.

The SPCA will recommend charges of animal cruelty be laid, said Heary.