The Nova Scotia SPCA has seized seven dogs that were being kept in a minivan for days at a time in Tantallon, N.S.

SPCA Chief Provincial Inspector Joanne Landsburg says the dogs were housed in small kennels inside the van behind an apartment building, left to lie in their own urine and feces.

"We were able to remove four of those dogs,” said Landsburg. “There was a bit of an altercation with the owner, and we later found that she was hiding three more dogs, kept in similar conditions.”

One of the dogs died, but the rest were saved and are being treated.

“One actually suffered a broken leg at some point in time, and it's been like that for a while so it will probably actually lose its leg," said Landsburg.

The SPCA says the dogs were also malnourished

“You can see their spine, you can also see their hip bones, a lot of matting on their skin so it tends to bruise the skin as well," said volunteer Amanda Layton-Malone.

It's not the first time the SPCA has dealt with the owner of these dogs and that charges may be pending. By the time all the medical treatment is completed, the SPCA will have to pay thousands of dollars.

“At least now they'll have a chance at a better life,” said volunteer Melissa Patterson. “They'll get a really nice, good home. They'll get fed here, they'll get taken care of, we'll put some weight on them."

The SPCA hopes the dogs will eventually be put up for adoption. But first, they’ll need weeks, if not months of tender, loving care.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ron Shaw.