12/20/2017 15:09 EST | Updated 12/21/2017 03:41 EST

Animal cruelty charges laid in major puppy mill seizure in Langley, B.C.

LANGLEY, B.C. — The British Columbia SPCA says charges have been laid following one of the largest puppy mill seizures in the province's history.

The society says 66 sick and neglected dogs were seized from a property in Langley in February 2016 after a member of the public reported the situation.

The SPCA's Marcie Moriarty says in a news release that some of the dogs had broken limbs and missing ears and eyes and required several months of care for medical complications resulting from malnourishment and dental disease.

The rescued pups, which have since been adopted, include old English sheepdogs, bernese mountain dogs, wheaten terriers, poodles, and Portuguese water dogs.

Glen Lawlor, Maria Lawlor and James Phoenix have each been charged with two counts of animal cruelty.

The SPCA says the charges send a message that animal cruelty and neglect are not acceptable and the public is encouraged to continue reporting suspicious situations where animals may be in distress.

"A key step in shutting down puppy mills is for those who are purchasing animals to be educated and aware of the signs of unscrupulous operations," said Moriarty.

She said information of how to distinguish legitimate breeders from puppy mills can be found on the SPCA website.