Saturday, March 1, 2008

Evidence work delays shelter probe

The article below is from the Chronicle Herald on Thursday. It is supposedly explaining why there hasn't been any cruelty charges laid yet in the Celtic Pets case. Certainly I don't have any window into the inside workings of the NS SPCA - the farthest thing from it, actually. The farthest.

I have volunteered, given money to, fostered for, and done a lot of stuff with the local SPCA and the Dartmouth shelter. I've adopted Charlie, Buttercup, my first dog George, and a dog named Philip - a biological brother to Charlie from the Dartmouth shelter. I've cleaned cages on Christmas day, worked their mall booths, spent egregious amounts of money at their dinner auctions, paid my yearly dues to be a member of the NS SPCA, walked at the dog jog for many years - and been an approved foster - and fostered dogs. I have been to at least 2 or 3 annual general meetings now - and started to become involved with the NS SPCA because I believed in the mandate of the newly reformed Executive in 2003.

Prior to 2003 the euthanasia rate at the Dartmouth shelter was greater than 40%. But before I started to become involved in rescue there was a "coup" of sorts and a new executive took over the reins at the NS SPCA and they took over the Dartmouth metro shelter - vowing to turn the Dartmouth metro shelter into a low kill shelter. And when I heard what they were trying to do - I wanted to become involved in that. So I did.

But over the years that triumph of morals seems to have degraded into what the Executive of the NS SPCA is today. And I am ashamed for them. And that's why I feel like I have to say something on my blog - even though I'm the only one who's speaking out. I really wish someone else would do it. I have a vested interest in keeping quiet.

But I have questions and comments like everybody else has. Maybe I'll just provide the links and the questions, and you can think about things yourself.

Over on Kijiji - they've been talking about quite a few things that are very interesting - you can go read some threads at

Celtic Pets - the next chapter

Follow up - Urgent Plea for Celtic Pets - Note, this doesn't get interesting until about page 4 or 5

This is a link to a Cape Breton post article that has a TON of comments attached to it, that have quite a few INTERESTING comments attached to it - and there's also a link to a BLOG that's been started by Zonda's neighbour - Guido - called "Animals not Forgotten"....

The questions I have are -

- why is it ONE MONTH later and stil there are no cruelty charges laid... Pam Keddy says that it is because they are still gathering evidence and they've been too busy doing other stuff. Just about everybody I know - and I know a lot of people - have been busy volunteering at the shelter and doing things to help out. How busy have the important people at the NS SPCA been? They say that they've had to work on the cat bylaw thing - well on Tuesday the cat bylaw was THROWN OUT. That should clear up a chunk of time now - the charges should come pretty soon now, shouldn't they?

- why are only FIFTEEN of the FIFTY-ONE dogs seized on the Metro SPCA's Petfinder site? Where are all the other dogs? Why hasn't anyone seen them? Why have NO dogs - that we know of - gone out to foster homes? Why are all the dogs seized - almost one month later - still sitting in cages - just like they were when they were living in their own private hell up in Port Hastings? And why is no one talking about that?

No one is talking about what has happened to the dogs since they've come up to Metro - everybody just ASSUMES that they are OKAY now. I know of only FOUR dogs that are not in the shelter - but as I said at the top of this post - I am very far from the inside of the entourage - so I could be completely wrong. Please - SOMEBODY - tell me I'm wrong! Where are all the dogs!

- why is it that every time I read an article - they're talking about "adopting out" the seized animals? Until the cruelty charges are dealt with in court - they can't "adopt out" anything! As far as I understand - there's only one animal in the whole 121 animals seized who was actually "owned" previously - and therefore can be immediately re-adopted out - the other 120 animals have to be kept as "evidence" until the cruelty charges are filed, dealt with by the court and the MacIsaacs are found guilty or innocent - if they're found guilty, then they lose the animals, if they're found innocent - they get all the animals back. I'm not a lawyer - but watching cases like this elsewhere - that seems like pretty standard practice. SPCA's don't seize animals and then immediately give them away.

In the below article Pam Keddy is saying that "the rescued animals have (not)been adopted out because they are not yet well enough or are still showing signs of kennel distress".

What bullshit is that? Is she trying to give people false hope? Was she mis-quoted? Or does she just like to lie? Or is she just trying to engender feelings of good will towards the NS SPCA by saying all the animals are still too "kennel stressed" - well I'd still be kennel stressed after living in my own filth - and then going to another place and still be in a cage too!

Okay, I'm going off on an unnecessary tangent, you get my drift, so I'm going to stop here. I've done enough damage. Some questions need to be answered by the Executive of the NS SPCA - they've been asked not just by me - but by the folks over on the boards at Kijiji and by the comments at the Cape Breton Post - I am not alone here - I'm just the one with the cajones to compile it. Don't be hatin'. But I know you will.

I'm interested to see what the personal retribution will be towards me and my animal family - stay tuned. Media may be involved if certain people are hateful enough.

Evidence work delays shelter probe
Staff going full tilt, SPCA says
By TERA CAMUS Cape Breton Bureau
Thu. Feb 28 - 4:48 AM

PORT HAWKESBURY — An investigation into alleged animal neglect and abuse at the defunct Celtic Pets Rescue shelter is taking longer than expected, SPCA officials say.

The volume of evidence that must be compiled before charges are considered against shelter owner Zonda MacIsaac and her mother, Alice MacIsaac, is overwhelming, provincial SPCA president Pamela Keddy said Wednesday.

The staffers doing the investigating are the same workers in Dartmouth who are caring for the sick or dying animals that were transferred there from the West Bay Road shelter, about 30 kilometres from Port Hawkesbury, and from Alice MacIsaac's home in Port Hawkesbury.

"We still don't have charges laid because it's turned out to be a larger file than we anticipated," Ms. Keddy said. "It's 130 animals and our shelter manager and staff are going full tilt . . . writing statements, getting (veterinarian) reports, running the shelter daily and (helping prepare) the new cat bylaw" in Halifax.

Almost all of the 79 cats found alive during three raids at the two locations this month continue to recover from various respiratory ailments. Four had to be euthanized after testing positive for a contagious feline leukemia.

The Cat Cuddlers, a group of volunteers from metro Halifax, have come forward to help SPCA staff clean, care for or simply play with the rescued cats. Many of the cats had to be shaved to the skin because their fur was severely encrusted with feces from their time living in a basement flooded with sewage from a backed-up septic system.

Alice MacIsaac was the SPCA special constable for Inverness County until November, when she was let go for allegedly interfering in the investigation of Celtic Pets Rescue, a probe that began in October. Until Feb. 5, she was also the animal control officer for the town of Port Hawkesbury, on a contract worth about $500 a month. Town
officials fired her that night, pending the outcome of the SPCA investigation.

The SPCA says video evidence collected in January shows that animals at Celtic Pets Rescue were left alone for days at a time without human visitors. So far, none of the rescued animals have been adopted out because they are not yet well enough or are still showing signs of kennel distress, allegedly from being virtually abandoned for months.

But Ms. Keddy said some good has come from the distressing situation. The public continues to pour out its concern for the animals, and the province is working behind the scenes with the SPCA to come up with amendments to the Animal Cruelty Protection Act for consideration in the House this spring.

Ms. Keddy said one problem with the current legislation is that a kennel operator under SPCA investigation can refuse or delay an investigator's inspection of the site for months, which is what occurred at Celtic Pets Rescue, she said.

It wasn't until investigators gathered enough evidence to go to court and get a search warrant that they were able to raid the shelter.

"We really need the ability to go on the property, and if we're denied, we should be able to get a warrant immediately and go back," Ms. Keddy said in an earlier interview. "If it's a case of something going on, we'd know immediately, or allegations that turned out to be) unfounded, we'd know immediately.

"Even if that is the only change, that would make a huge difference."

The act also doesn't define the "adequate" amount of food and shelter necessary to keep animals healthy.

The SPCA has also begun to look at how it hires special constables and is reviewing the background of 20 working around the province.

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