Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Concerns over animal cruelty case prompts N.S. to revamp animal cruelty act

HALIFAX — Concerns over infighting at the Nova Scotia SPCA and its handling of a recent animal cruelty case in Cape Breton has prompted the province to revamp its animal protection laws.

Under a proposed new act the agriculture minister would have the power to revoke the SPCA's ability to enforce the law and appoint another party to handle the role.

Agriculture Minister Brooke Taylor called that a "just in case" clause and said Tuesday that the majority of the proposed changes are aimed at helping the non-profit organization carry out its duties.

The SPCA has weathered months of criticism from former and current members over the lack of accountability within the society and for not acting sooner to rescue more than 100 animals from a Port Hawkesbury shelter in February.

A 63-year-old mother and her 33-year-old daughter will return to court in July to enter pleas on animal cruelty charges related to that case.

Concerns were also heightened following what was described as a "tense and acrimonious" closed door meeting last month in which the society's board survived a confidence motion.

"I think that those incidents were brought to our attention in spades," said Taylor. "There's no big secret that yes, in fact ... those two certainly highlighted the need to revamp the Animal Cruelty Act."

Under the changes the Department of Agriculture would handle all agricultural-related cruelty complaints while the SPCA would deal with complaints regarding domestic animals.

Both the province and the society would also have to hire more investigators.

The government expects it will cost as much as $280,000 to help the SPCA hire up to seven additional inspectors. It currently has two full-time inspectors and 20 volunteer special constables.

Taylor said another change would enable the inspectors to demand that animals be brought out for their inspection if they arrive at a private residence without a warrant.

"We've incorporated it into the law ... and we believe in most cases Nova Scotians will respect the law and present those animals to the inspectors," said Taylor.

The SPCA would also be required to open its annual meetings to the public, set up an independent appeal board to review cases involving animal seizures and cruelty investigations, and require veterinarians to report animal neglect or abuse to the SPCA.

Nova Scotia SPCA president Pamela Keddy said she welcomed the legislation because it would help the society deal with its thin resources.

She said ceding agricultural cruelty cases to the province would be a definite help. Last year the SPCA dealt with 13 agricultural cases and another 942 cases involving domestic animals.

"Although they might be small in nature for us, they take over so much of what we do and the resources that we have," said Keddy. "By them taking just that one component that's going to free up a lot of our time and resources to concentrate on domestic animals."

Keddy said the controversy surrounding this year's annual meeting has led to change.

"From negative we're getting positive. It's an awful thing to say that was the impetus to get this moving forward, but it did and so be it," said Keddy.

Government officials said the legislation likely won't be dealt with until the fall sitting of the house.


As well - from the Chronicle Herald:


N.S. moves to make sure SPCA annual meetings public

Tue. May 27 - 4:18 PM

Annual meetings of Nova Scotia's SPCA would have to be open to the public under legislation introduced today.

The provincial government promised the change after squabbling within the non-profit agency.
The SPCA board has been criticized recently by members and former members on a variety of issues, including its handling of an alleged animal cruelty case in Cape Breton.

Agriculture Minister Brooke Taylor says the Animal Cruelty Protection Act places responsibility for agriculture-related cruelty complaints with his department, while the SPCA will handle complaints involving domestic animals.

The new law would also allow the agriculture minister to designate another entity to fulfill its animal protection role if the SPCA fails to perform the duties set out in the legislation.

An independent appeal board would be created as well to review cases involving animal seizures and cruelty investigations.

The law would require veterinarians to report animal neglect or abuse to the SPCA.


  1. Anonymous12:38 PM

    ummm...pam is still president?

  2. Anonymous1:41 PM

    This is absolutely PATHETIC! She has managed to make a mockery out of the SPCA, the membership and the BOD by snubbing her nose at the entire friggen province and on the news she was "so excited it is difficult to absorb" which tells me that she has NO PLANS of not being a part of the NEW $$$$$$$ that she will no doubt take credit for and no doubt try to get her own conformists into the "paid positions" THIS IS A JOKE AND IF SHE REMAINS THERE AND THE SPCA IS GIVEN MORE POWER TO DEMAND TO SEE AN ANIMAL WITHOUT A WARRANT, THEN EVERYONE WHO HAS AN ANIMAL (AND HAS PISSED HER OFF IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM), WILL BE AT RISK OF LOSING THEIR PET!!! Take it from one who has been on the receiving end of her vindictive, "kiss my ass" approach to "speaking for those who can't speak for themselves" PS: that motto for the SPCA is no longer true; lots more animals will die at her hands, lots more money will be spent and she will remain as PRESIDENT; she really feels she is fooling the public. That was a strategic move on her part as well as JG's to move her to VP and resign effective the "seizure date" (retroactive resigning doesn't get you EXCLUDED from court nor will it exclude them from the lawsuit pending. What has been done is a disgrace to the province, the people and more importantly the animals and their is only one way to hold them accountable...the money. THE MONEY is going to disappear between legal fees and costs awarded, their mandate, their mission and their "mastermind" will diminish right before the publics eyes. SHE is the reason there will be no more SPCA - and the BOD who must also be terrified of someone cracking the whip up there are no better. THEY ARE BEING SUED AS A GROUP AND/OR INDIVIDUALLY SO GET READY FOR THE NEXT ROUND. And yes, the lives of all those animals are in their hands and they WILL KILL THEM whenever they get pissed off enough or they can leave them there in CAGES long enough to say they went kennel crazy. SHE IS NO BETTER THAN THOSE SHE TRIES TO PROSECUTE. Good luck SPCA we are right on your tail and WATCHING every move you make from the INSIDE OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ps: PAMELA, I'll bet you don't remember speaking with me yesterday now do you?????? FOOL