Thursday, December 25, 2008

Animals suffer during power outage

A dog barks at the Metro SPCA which was without power on Christmas Day. The animal shelter had no power for at least 30 hours.

Sick puppies and other animals shivered in the cold at the Metro SPCA on Christmas Day after spending about 30 hours without heat at the Burnside animal shelter.

Some rooms had lights but there wasn't enough power getting into the Scarfe Court building to generate heat for the more than 30 dogs and many cats and a handful of bunnies housed inside.

In an interview barely audible over the howling and barking dogs, Sean Kelly, the chairman of the shelter management team, said he'd repeatedly called Nova Scotia Power to get someone to come out to restore power, but got nowhere.

"We had volunteers come in today expecting to clean a few kennels and help a few animals and instead they were hit with a huge amount of work and seeing the dogs like this. Everyone's just demoralized beyond belief," he said.

About a dozen tall laundry baskets piled high with soiled blankets were lined up in front of two industrial laundry machine sets, while the blanket storage area was almost empty.

Kat Horne, a member of the management team, said the shelter is using more blankets to keep the dogs and cats warm. Two thin-coated American Staffordshire Terrier mixes were shivering in the sick room. They wear coats at night to keep warm, but would have to wear them during the day.

The moans of one particular dog — a large husky German Shepherd mix named Reegan — could be heard from the front entry, even though he was tucked away in the last cage in the isolation room at the opposite end of the building.
"When they can't see, it freaks them out," making a stressful situation even worse for the animals, Ms. Horne said.

"What we really need is Nova Scotia Power to come and do something like they were supposed to yesterday," she said.

There were no Metro-area outages listed on the the power company's online outage page.

Company spokeswoman Glennie Langille confirmed the shelter's power situation this afternoon.

She said the shelter's outage was a "one off" and that the crews were focused on larger outages.

At 2:30 p.m., she said a crew was on its way to fix the problem.


  1. OMG - that is beyond belief! Those poor dogs, cats, and bunnies.

    NSP has gone downhill ever since they did that massive layoff a number of years back.

    It they still go through with that rate hike, due to "fuel costs", after all that we've been through already for MINOR storms, there are going to be at least a few very pissed off clients out there. Grrrr...

  2. Anonymous12:39 AM

    God damn it ...

  3. Anonymous6:26 PM

    the shelter could probably use donations of dog coats for the dogs.

  4. Anonymous9:33 PM

    head lamps too would most likely be welcomed with open arms! Someone should donate those home hardwhere lamp things. The ones that are night lights when their is power and when the power goes out are led flashlights.

    How horrible is it that NSP has issues when the weather wasnt even bad. My heart goes out to the animals, volunteers and staff.

  5. Anonymous1:42 AM

    OK Guys, while I feel terrible for these animals, a large portion of the blame should be on the SPCA Management, not the NSPC. Given the amount of money it receives from the HRM ($380,000.00) you would think a RESPONSIBLE PERSON, would have the foresight to purchase some generators, you know, IN CASE OF A POWER OUTAGE!!!!! We do live in Nova Scotia!. No I do not work for NSP, I just wish the SCPA management had some brains.


  6. Anonymous2:41 PM

    seeing as the spca is struggling as it is, remember a little thing called celtic pets. that must have sucked the money out of them. Most shelters run in the red, or things like generators are considered a luxery. that 300,000 probably just covers staff, food, vet bills. Every little bit helps

  7. Anonymous6:30 PM

    Just a note on the other uncle works for NS Power..and he was away from the 22nd of December to the 27th of December on the South Shore helping to get power back to people who had been without it for over a week. While I feel for the animals..I run a wonderful shelter in NB...please don't forget about the men at NS Power who missed their ENTIRE Christmas with their children and families so that others could have power!!!

  8. Yes, but the way I look at it is - the animal shelters SHOULD be on the critical list of places that should have power first because if there was an emergency situation - people would be directed to take their animals there - and how would the SPCA be supposed to respond to a crisis with no power? They are a public service organization and need to have access to water and power for the animals. Humans can get out to get to emergency shelters - but the Dartmouth shelter IS an emergency shelter already. They can't be treated as a place that Nova Scotia Power is going to get to when they feel like it - they MUST be a priority location in my humble opinion.


  9. Howdy,

    Wow, I hope Brindi wasn't too traumatized during that outage. She's in her 6th mo. of captivity and needs to go home. She's been through enough, and now this terrible experience. I feel for all those poor beings.

    I was wondering if you could post something on your blog about the trial coming up on Monday the 5th? Francesca needs support and it would be nice if a WHOLE BUNCH of people showed up in court. What's one day if it may save your family pet?

    What I don't understand, is why pet owners in NS aren't out there fighting this bylaw A300 that could AND WILL affect some of them in the future. These people should be at that courthouse fighting for justice.

    Here's hoping Francesca and Brindi have a Happy New Year. Please help.

    Lana Horan
    Lister, BC

  10. Good idea Lana, I just made a post about it at