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Letters: Why Did SPCA Sit Idly By?
Dear Minister Agriculture. Since 1995 I have been actively involved in a wide variety of efforts to address animal cruelty in its many forms, From proposing effective legislation for farm animals through to companion animals, most of which is described on our web.site www.thecouncilclaw.ca. Sadly, Municipal, Provincial & Federal Governments (Criminal Code) have been remiss in adopting effective and to a large extent, preventative Legislation.
Several glaring anomalies exist, inept (Politicians) and equally moribund efforts by responsible organizations, such as SPCA, seemingly retrograde thinking and perceived fear of “ruffling political feathers” prevails. As well, inadequate funding is ever present at all levels of Education, Enforcement and Operations. Simply, too often, the wrong people doing the job that actually requires more informed and pro-active steps by people dedicated to Animals needs.
Federal & Provincial Legislation is inadequate and pales in comparison to actual needs, yet, given sound and effective proposals have accompanied all attempts to modernize & make effective such Criminal Code Legislation, decision makers are remiss to adopt, hence the problem is exacerbated.
The recent Sled Dog dilemma and accompanying public outrage spawned some long overdue action but inadequate Legislation. So, until the next catastrophe, the SPCA will limp along of oft moribund fashion. Years back now, Cats were being killed by the thousands, may still be happening but figures have been withheld from the Public, so who knows for certain. Yet, the SPCA answer was, “over population and shortage of housing justified the mass killing”, yet at the time the Executive Director alone earned over $200,000.00 plus perqs, that we understand this (salary) amount has decreased but most problems still exist, don’t they?
We find excellent work at Elizabeth’s Wild Life Centre but lack of Government funding, for such a (Regional) venture, that should have been addressed by Government, or Municipality, maybe SPCA as a governing body, most funding is by Donation and work by Volunteers. Abbotsford reluctantly kicked in, I believe, $12,000.00 but was “kicking all the way to the Bank”. In Mission the SAINTS experience, much the same dilemma and no Government funding.
So, to the point of my letter, notably Sandra Simans, 1atatime Rescue, now in trouble with SPCA and Municipality. This Woman is the “tip of the ice berg”, symptomatic of individuals (stepping in to try and fill the vast void) left by Governments inaction and ineptitude and lack of sensitivity to Animals needs, let alone People. My first thought, why Sandra may not have been in touch with SAINTS for guidance or assistance. But moreso, why the SPCA had not stepped in much earlier, and accepted their role in the process of dealing with these some 50 Dogs and 12 Cats? Why is such Guardian neglect manifested to this degree, that someone like Sandra recognizes and takes action but SPCA is sitting idle?
Equally, the Veterinarian, since my involvement dating back to 1995, has been a major part of the problem, exorbitant fees rendering needed medical, like this example of dental care (have you ever discussed dental costs?). There are some exceptions, such as one of our “VETS” has been very generous, like waiving a $1,600.00 bill for hip surgery, another setting a broken jaw, free of charge, yet to seek assistance from some groups, like SPCA, a foolhardy provision to surrender the Animal to SPCA, who then may attend to some medial need and then presumably seek a new Guardian, such illogical and retrograde thinking still prevails. In other examples, some major Pet Rescue organizations, will reluctantly part with some funds, to assist but doing so fear giving too much will reduce their surplus to help others and this become an endless cycle.
The suspicion that as previous practice the SPCA take the least troublesome approach and euthanize Animals rather than dwell upon rehabilitation. Why, in this case, the SPCA had not approached Sandra earlier in the vein to assist, rather than wait until a complaint and/or Animals deteriorate, as presumably funding to attend to some needed procedures does not exist, approach in a heavy handed manner . It is simply ironic, and I have been appalled many times at the lack of sensitivity of far too many, not placing Animals first and Government not being responsive, rather instead to exacerbate circumstances and the Public suddenly finds about these issues in a story like I just read Vancouver Sun A10 Westcoast NEWS by Tiffany Crawford. Why isn’t this on front page, why not divulged earlier? Why are Municipalities Shelters not more effective and adequately funded? Why doesn’t Provincial Government fund SPCA properly and/or extend Fee-For-Service-Grants to many Pet Rescue organizations to do what the Municipality should be doing but is remiss? Is directing Sandra, by the Municipality, that their ineffective Bylaw demands she relocate her Animals, as being in contravention of a retrograde Bylaw, limiting numbers of Companion Animals, such foolhardy excuses and redundant repugnant Bylaw Legislation is ridiculous and only serves to provide a wall to hide behind instead of demonstrating some compassion.
Please intervene and commence a full investigation of all existing Municipal Bylaws, Provincial Legislation and inadequate funding, so we might start to get a handle on this apparent growing dilemma smoldering under the surface of Guardian neglect and epitomized by failure of Veterinarians to be more responsive, SPCA to co-ordinate (all rescue efforts) and a lax Provincial Cruelty to Animal Act exacerbated by a repugnant Criminal Code. Finally, step in to provide needed funds to address the Animals under the care of Sandra, instead of trying to perpetuate standard approach used, to make her the scapegoat of Government failings todate.
George F. Evens,
The Council of Animal Advocates for Creatures Land Air Water (CLAW)