01/04/2018 16:09 EST | Updated 01/04/2018 16:20 EST

Edmonton Humane Society wagging its tail, judge grants it ownership of seized dogs

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Humane Society says a judge has granted the organization ownership of 34 dogs that it seized from a breeder in 2016.

The society says the bully-breed dogs, such as bull dogs, were seized after it received a complaint about the conditions they were being kept in.

It then filed a civil suit against Justin Iverson for ownership of the animals.

Miranda Jordan-Smith, the society's CEO, says the judge's ruling means the dogs can get the medical care they need to fully recover.

The dogs are then expected to be put up for adoption.

Jordan-Smith says the case sets a precedent for animal welfare in Alberta.

"EHS exercised the full extent of the law to ensure the humane treatment of animals," she said Thursday in a release.

"Now that ownership has transferred to us, the extensive care necessary to give these dogs the best possible futures can be provided."

The civil lawsuit is separate from two sets of animal cruelty charges that Iverson faces.

In December 2016 he was charged with eight counts under Alberta's Animal Protection Act in connection with the 34 dogs.

The charges include causing or permitting an animal to be in distress, failure to provide adequate food and water, failure to provide adequate care when wounded or ill, and failure to provide adequate shelter, ventilation and space.

The following month RCMP in Redwater just outside of Edmonton charged Iverson with five counts of cruelty to animals and five counts of causing injury to animals after checking a house in the community.

Mounties said they found nine pit bulls in kennels in various stages of medical distress — some had injuries to their faces and legs and had signs of being malnourished, while one was found dead outside.

There were was no immediate information on the status of those cases which are still before the justice system.