The Cowichan, BC SPCA says it has legal guardianship of the 27 Boston terriers that were surrendered to it over the weekend, despite claims that some of them had been promised to other families by the breeder.
The BC SPCA's Facebook page featured a post from at least one person who claimed to be the owner of one of the surrendered dogs.
"I would like to put out there that we have paid for one of these beauties from the breeder. SPCA could you please msg me back ASAP!" wrote Colleen Acton.
Lorie Chortyk, the media relations officer for the BC SPCA, says she can understand that families may feel they have ownership of the dogs if they put down a deposit or have a verbal promise with the breeder. However, she says the SPCA will continue the pet adoption process.
Chortyk says the dogs belonged to a breeder and when the woman went into a hospital for treatment, her husband surrendered the dogs to the SPCA.
"This happens sometimes. The breeder become overwhelmed and legal ownership is given to the SPCA," she told CBC. "The transaction between them [would-be dog owners] and the breeder would be a civil matter and not something we are involved in as the BC SPCA."
Chortyk encouraged families who had an agreement with the breeder to get in touch with the SPCA.
"We can mark that on the file for that dog ... and we'll take that into consideration," she said. "We just want to find the best home for the dogs."
The SPCA has been flooded with pet applications for the 16 puppies and 11 adults, even though they won't be ready for adoption for at least four weeks.
CBC was unable to reach the breeder.