Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Horrible Incident at Dartmouth SPCA

Someone for some reason put 2 cats underneath the wheel of an employee's car at the Dartmouth SPCA so that when they left for the day last night her car ran over them - killing one of them, and almost killing the other - a pregnant female. The employee is completely traumatized and all the staff are understandably completely freaked out.

They haven't said whether or not the person who did it came into the shelter to try and surrender the cats and were turned away, but the shelter doesn't take owner surrenders - there is no where in the HRM where you can just dump your animals. In the news piece below Darrold Gould of Bide A Wile says they can turn away more than 30 cats every day. The Dartmouth SPCA stopped taking owner surrenders back in 2003 when they wanted to become a no kill shelter and lower their euthanasia rate. ONe of the reasons why the Cape Breton SPCA is such a high kill organization is because they DO take owner surrenders - they take everything.

At the Paws for a Cause dinner on the weekend they played a short film, and during the narration one of the things it said was that the Dartmouth shelter's animals intake consists 90% of strays. That's a telling statistic. 90% of the homeless and abandoned animals in the HRM are stray animals - animals that people have just let get lost. Buttercup was a stray picked up by Animal Control (and adopted by me through the Dartmouth SPCA) - can you imagine letting something that beautiful get lost?

This incident last night has nothing to do with the owner surrender problem though - this was out and out cruelty - and also an assault on the shelter staff and should be treated as such - and I hope the people who did it are caught. I hope someone recognizes the cats and calls the police and says who owned them. And then maybe after this a conversation can be started about what to do about owner surrenders - because I'm sure that shelter staff have to deal with it several times every day - and it's probably not a comfortable one - or an easy one for them to have to deal with - and there should be options available for everyone involved. So that no animals have to suffer.

Below the news report is the NS SPCA's official press release about the incident

November 5, 2008
Halifax, NS


SPCA Reports Traumatic Incident at HRM Metro Shelter

The Nova Scotia SPCA is seeking information on the identity of a person who abandoned two cats in the parking lot of their Metro Shelter in Dartmouth on the evening of November 4th,, 2008. A member of the public placed two cats under a staff vehicle in their parking lot which resulted in a horribly traumatic experience for a staff member who left the shelter late last night and backed over the box, killing one of the cats who was estimated to be less than a year old; the second cat is pregnant with kittens. One cat was killed on impact and the second, the pregnant mother, has severe facial injuries and was rushed to Eastern Passage Village Veterinary Clinic where she is receiving life-saving treatment.

Assistant Shelter Manager, Kathy Thomas, is very upset: “The employee who was driving the vehicle has been severely traumatized by this incident and has been given compassionate leave from her duties for the day.” Ms. Thomas continues, “This is a young girl who dedicates her life to saving animals. This person has not only hurt two animals, they have hurt this staff member, it is just heartbreaking.” Ms. Thomas further stated, “A staff meeting was held first thing this morning to try to console the staff, but there is little I can say to make this better for them. We are very upset and frustrated.”

“Please speak for us now – speak quickly and loudly” was Ms. Thomas’s plea to the Nova Scotia SPCA’s provincial board of directors this morning.

Spokesman for the Nova Scotia SPCA, Sean Kelly, commented: “While the SPCA branches would love to be able to take in every animal, we are not a publicly funded organization and as such, we are not equipped financially to take surrenders. Our limited resources must focus on our first priority which is to re-home animals through our mandated work of cruelty prevention and surrenders from the HRM Animal Control system. The sheer number of animals from those two avenues keep us filled to capacity.” Mr. Kelly acknowledged that a solution to preventing these types of incidences would be what other cities’ shelters have – security cameras and better lighting, but notes, “those cities provide public funding and unfortunately, we must rely solely on the donations of our kind supporters through fundraising and while cameras and lighting are on our wish list and would go a very long way towards preventing this type of neglect and cruelty, our hands are tied financially.”

The Nova Scotia SPCA urges members of the public to consider the financial and emotional strain it puts on this charity when animals are abandoned on their premises. Mr. Kelly closed saying, “It is a very sad day for the Metro Shelter staff today – these are hard working, dedicated people who love the cause they work for and it breaks my heart to hear this story. We are pleading with the public not to bring their responsibilities to these people.”

The Nova Scotia SPCA is seeking information on the identity of the person who abandoned these cats (one of which can be found in the attached photo). If anyone has any information, please contact the SPCA provincial office at (902) 835-4798.


  1. Anonymous5:12 AM

    I seem to recall the Metro Shelter financial report a bit differently - seemed like the HRM pound contract covered half of all of its expenses, and that's public money, isn't it? What is he talking about? They get Min. of Agriculture money, and next year it will increase substantially.
    I don't know if it matters anyway, whether they get public money; the issue of not taking in abandoned animals is knotty. Needs more sorting out, I think.
    In a city I used to live in the Humane Society had overnight boxes in a wall, with a door on both sides, so folks could leave an animal without having to face anybody- the boxes were used by animal control to drop off strays too. That way, fewer cats were drowned in sacks, and so on. And it was very close to being a no-kill shelter, with the goal in sight.

  2. Anonymous6:30 AM

    Thank you Joan for your post. Hopefully someone will recognize these poor cats and the person will be caught. My heart goes out to the shelter staff.

  3. Anonymous7:24 AM

    Whoever did this needs to be charged; this is absolutely dreadful. Joan will you please keep us posted on the cat in the picture and as to any progress. She looks so pitiful. BASTARDS - I HOPE THEY GET CAUGHT AND THE GUILT (IF THEY ARE EVEN CAPABLE OF FEELING) DRIVES THEM CRAZY.

  4. Anonymous9:19 AM

    I believe the cat in the picture is the one who was killed -- the one who barely survived, which was shown on the news, was a darker colour.

  5. Anonymous11:10 AM

    The Animal Rescue League in Saint John takes all animals brought to their door. I have often complained about their high "Kill Rate" but I would never suggest they change their "Open Admission" policy.Changing this policy to improve your statics does not meet the "No Kill" philosphy.SPCA'S in both NB & NS should revisit this policy because they are only hiding the extent of the animal abuse problem in their areas.If someone doesn't want an animal we should not make it more difficult for them because they will find an alternative which in many cases will be far worse for the animal.Adoption of the "No Kill" equation in time would address these problems,but refusing to take owner surrendered animals,will only hide the realproblem. RG

  6. Tracy Marcotullio1:31 PM

    I am horrified and saddened by what these cats and this shelter worker have been through. My heart and my prayers go out to her. People who work in shelters are NOT responsible for abuse and neglect and abandonment. Shelters themselves are not responsible to clean up the mess that we as a society have created. Shelters have made a move away from open door policies to put the responsiblity of pet ownership back where it belongs..onto the shoulders of the public and the pet owners. We have to stop looking at animal shelters as the answer to solving the pet overpopulation and start looking at education. Until we do, this will continue. The more shelters that take responsibility..the less the public and the pet owners have to deal with the problem.
    Tracy Marcotullio

  7. Anonymous3:45 PM

    You tell em Tracey

  8. doust pauline@yahoo.com2:01 AM

    jezz mother of ...,what have i just read about, how were the cats placed under a wheel???were they tied up or what, or to it, like how??a cats not just going to sit there please explain its horrfic i know and i feel as do countless others so utterly saddend you must all be devastated /distressed, how can any normal person comprehend whats gone on. what a sicko to even think about causeing shuch pain suffering grief heartake

  9. Anonymous4:49 PM

    I wondered that too, but I can only assume that they were in some kind of container preventing them from getting away. This is really pathetic!! I don't know how some people can sleep at night. Good luck to the poor surviving cat & babies & to that poor worker. My heart goes out to all.