There are several letters to the editor in the Chronicle Herald today about the $5 fine of Susan Keizer and her inhumane killing of 2 two day old kittens in Windsor Nova Scotia. They range from a person saying "Justice is not served by her confession, her conviction or her punishment. Death by drowning is cruel and it is against the law" to an Arlene Bent from Mount Uniacke saying the following -
"Sean Kelly, chairman of the investigating committee for the SPCA, points out it cost the SPCA more than $5 in gas to drive to Windsor for the court proceedings. That statement speaks volumes about the importance of the helpless animals to the SPCA.
There wouldn’t have been a problem if the SPCA had done its job in the first place.
Oh, but I stand corrected. Mr. Kelly states that the SPCA is not an animal control group, unless it has a contract with the municipality. Now there’s a case of buck passing!
He states: "We do not take in stray cats." Let me ask him something: Just exactly what does the SPCA do to help people with the stray cat problem? In my experience, I have felt that we are on our own in these situations. Correct me if I’m wrong!"
I'm sure Ms. Bent doesn't read my blog - but for all the people who would tend to agree with her, I have some thoughts -
"There wouldn’t have been a problem if the SPCA had done its job in the first place"
I guess she means that the SPCA should have come and taken the pregnant stray cat away from the lady, and by association - the SPCA should come and pick up any stray or feral animals any and everywhere in the province.
Can you imagine how many kittens and cats the SPCA shelters would have if they did that? Where would they get the money to do that? They're stretched to the limit now - and if they did that there wouldn't be any need to have any private rescues - the SPCA would be taking any and all animals needing rescue in the province. There also wouldn't be a need for any animal control department run by any municipality either - because the SPCA would be picking up those animals too. This is the logical conclusion of the thought process bhind "there wouldn't have been a problem if the SPCA had done its job in the first place."
"Oh, but I stand corrected. Mr. Kelly states that the SPCA is not an animal control group, unless it has a contract with the municipality. Now there’s a case of buck passing!"
I think Ms. Bent actually does not understand that the SPCA is NOT an animal control agency - they are "a not-for-profit charitable society organized under the provincial Animal Cruelty Prevention Act, dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals and to the promotion of respect and humane care for animals."
They DO have contracts in some municipalities in Nova Scotia to maintain animal control facilities for those towns - but that is separate from their mandate as SPCA's - those contracts are simply money making opportunities so that they can continue to operate their SPCA shelters. A lot of people in the humane community think those contracts are a bad idea for times like this when people get confused and think that this is all the SPCA does - do animal control functions - and things get really muddied. People like Nathan Winograd think that SPCA's should get out of the animal control business all together - and this is a big reason why.
And then lastly she says - "He states: "We do not take in stray cats." Let me ask him something: Just exactly what does the SPCA do to help people with the stray cat problem? In my experience, I have felt that we are on our own in these situations. Correct me if I’m wrong!""
So what DOES the SPCA do to help people with stray cats? As an interested dog owner, a volunteer with the SPCA, and an observer of the humane movement in Nova Scotia - I've got a few ideas that I think the Nova Scotia SPCA is doing to help people with the stray cat problem -
- every cat that they adopt out is neutered or spayed before it leaves their facility,
- several of their shelters/branches have low cost neuter/spay programs for low income families,
- the provincial Board of the NS SPCA is working legislatively to make animal cruelty laws stronger so that people who abuse animals like stray cats and their kittens held responsible for the cruelty that they've inflicted - even though they were "only" stray cats,
- in municipalities where they hold contracts for animal control - they deal with stray cats if that municipality deals with cats as part of their bylaw,
- they offer educational materials to anyone and everyone about humane education on kittens and cats and pets,
- they seek justice for any and all acts of cruelty towards any animal that they find in distress under the animal cruelty act - and that includes stray cats and kittens, and charge the people who have committed those acts of cruelty under the animal cruelty and prevention act - which the NS SPCA are the only organization in Nova Scotia mandated to lay charges under
So that's how I think the NS SPCA are helping stray cats and kittens and dogs and rabbits and rats and birds and snakes - all of which I've seen at the SPCA shelter.