Thursday, December 10, 2009

Animal Welfare Auditors Needed in Canada

I got sent this article a couple days ago by a friend of mine - it's a really good and thought provoking article about the need for a watchdog "sort of overseeing body" - that is national in Canada - and I think it's a really good idea. You can click on these two photos to read the story - or you can go to the Winnipeg Free Press to read the story.
I think it would be a really good idea - based upon the tragic story of the Toronto Humane Society a couple weeks ago - and also the Celtic Pets horror of almost 2 years ago now. What dinged me to post this article was the fact that I came upon a Chronicle Herald story on my hard drive today that I'm going to post at the end of this post to bring people back to the time of February 2008 - to what was going on then to REMIND everyone of how horrible those conditions were that the animal abusers MacIsaac were letting their animals live in. People are starting to forget what those ladies did, and the apologists are starting to win - and those ladies should never be allowed to have ANY pity from anyone for the horrors they meted out on the animals they abused. Their apologists should be ASHAMED of themselves. And you know who you are.

A watchdog would also be good, because they could also perhaps act as an ombudsman for cases where owners felt they were being misjudged or dealt with unfairly - and cases could be dealt with on a more timely basis - so that animals would not have to be incarcerated for years at a time like they are now - that would be super if that would be allowed to happen. If there was a mediation element to this group - which would still be hands-off.

And I think it could only give organizations like the NS SPCA MORE credibility in the long run if they were able to pass the inspections and interrotgations of a watchdog organization. I think it would be win-win.

I hope something like this Auditor organization does happen.

And for anyone who thinks this country doesn't need it - they only need to look at the ill fated "rescue" Celtic Pets to know that it's needed - you can read in the article from March 2008 where Tera Camus said that there are no regulations here in Nova Scotia to run a "private pound" - and this is what happened -

Investigation into former Cape Breton SPCA constable looming

RCMP visit the home of Alice MacIsaac after a visit from a
Chronicle Herald reporter on Thursday. Ms. MacIsaac called the police. (TERA CAMUS / Cape Breton Bureau)

Fri. Feb 8

PORT HAWKESBURY — The SPCA is investigating one of its former special constables for animal neglect and cruelty inside her home.

Alice MacIsaac was fired by the SPCA in November for interfering in the society’s investigation of Celtic Pets Rescue, her daughter Zonda’s animal shelter from which
more than 100 sick or dead animals were seized in raids on Saturday and Monday.
Now a neighbour alleges Ms. MacIsaac keeps several dogs inside her Summit Street home and never lets them out, even to do their business.

"I hear them all the time barking or crying inside and I never see them out, never see them taken for a walk, not once," the neighbour said. "It’s a sin."

This dog was among five seen through a window at a former SPCA constable’s home in Port Hawkesbury that’s suspected of
housing abused animals. (TERA CAMUS / Cape Breton Bureau)

The neighbour said she had reported the dogs’ situation to the Town of Port Hawkesbury to no avail.

Provincial SPCA president Pamela Keddy said Thursday the society plans to investigate Ms. MacIsaac, who until December was the SPCA investigator in the area, for neglect under the Animal Cruelty Prevention Act.

"All of us have animals, but how many, and are they going outside or not?" Ms. Keddy said. "They have to go outside because they have to go to the bathroom, so that is a
concern for us.

"And given (that) Ms. MacIsaac was a special constable, she, better than anybody else, knows better." When a reporter knocked on the front door of Ms. MacIsaac’s home Wednesday, five dogs stormed excitedly into view in what appeared to be a rundown living room turned kennel. Two fridges could be seen, as well as a
soiled rug partially rolled up, a broken chair and a large flat-screen TV.
Some dogs jumped more than a metre high in an attempt to bite through the glass at the unexpected visitor.

Others growled, bared their teeth or ran frantically in circles. There was a stench of urine and feces, and saliva coated the door glass. In the fully fenced backyard, no paw prints could be seen in the snow.

"Get away from my door," Ms. MacIsaac said to a reporter before turning to grab a long stick and rushing forward to take a swing. "Get away from my door, I told you."

She called Port Hawkesbury RCMP, who soon arrived to hear her complaint about The Chronicle Herald's unannounced visit. A Mountie ordered her through the closed door, which had no doorknob, to "keep your dogs back" before she entered.

Until this week, Celtic Pets Rescue, where Ms. MacIsaac is a vice-president, held the town's contract for animal control, worth $500 per month and $20 per call. That contract was suspended Tuesday night after the SPCA raids.

"I saw them recently late at night taking cages in there, quite a bit of them . . . in a black truck and a red car," said the neighbour, taking a midday break from shovelling snow Wednesday. "The (animal) crying never stops."

Barking and whimpering could easily be heard outside the small basement window of Ms. MacIsaac's home.

Operating an unlicensed dog pound is possible in Nova Scotia as there are no relevant regulations. And current legislation does not allow the SPCA to conduct routine inspections unless there is enough evidence of wrongdoing for a court to issue a search warrant.

"It says we have a right for inspections, but only if people allow it," Ms. Keddy said.

She speculated that some of the animals might have been moved from Celtic Pets Rescue before the recent raids.

Celtic Pets Rescue is owned by Zonda MacIsaac, who over the years has adopted out more than 500 dogs to families. But in October, the SPCA began to investigate reports of neglect at the remote shelter in West Bay Road, about 30 kilometres from Port Hawkesbury.

The society conducted round-the-clock surveillance in January before applying for a warrant, alleging no one tended to the animals for several days at a time.

In the two recent raids, the SPCA found 28 dogs and 78 cats alive. Two animals were found dead. Three cats were suffering from a contagious leukemia and had to be euthanized while the others have a variety of upper respiratory illnesses.

Most of the cats were caked in feces after living in a dark basement with centimetres of sewage from the shelter's septic system covering the floor.

Some of the dogs were also covered in feces. Some were more sick than others.

The SPCA plans to put together a database for public viewing after being flooded with requests for information on the animals.


  1. I am all for an independent watchdog - also for breeders, for that matter.
    Yes, also in regards to the idea to have mediation available, and ideally approved foster homes attached to the whole idea, where seized dogs can live till their court case comes up.
    A shelter, any shelter, is not the right place for long term housing.

  2. Anonymous3:23 AM

    totally agree, this needs to happen asap!

  3. Anonymous2:26 PM

    Yep, I think this would serve as a protection for all humans involved and of course the animals. Being in animal rescue I've seen it's easy to lose focus on the original mission in times of stress and compassion fatigue. A watchdog would be able to nip situations and individual behaviour in the bud before they affected (or infected) the whole organization hurting animals in the process.