Thursday, January 21, 2010

Doing some navel gazing

I was back in my archives today, and I came upon a post from July, 2004 entitled "NS SPCA Says the buck shouldn't stop with them" - and it was about a guy who was fined for starving his animals, and the NS SPCA had asked for the guy to be fined enough to cover the costs that the SPCA had accrued during the case, and Provincial Court Judge Burrill at the time said the immortal words:

"The last thing we want in our society is investigating agences being funded by the offenders".

You can imagine what the NS SPCA's response was - and what people like mine's response was! We all went a little bit ape shit over that sentence.

2004 was a time when the SPCA was having a little bit of glory days - it was a beautiful time, when the Provincial Exective was in a very positive place, they had recently just performed a "coup", if you will - kicked out all kinds of "bad" people, and brought in a bunch of "good" people who were going to reform the organization, save tons of animals, get rid of the gas machine in Cape Breton like they had at Metro, save all the cats in the Province - it was heady times - it was when I personally got involved in the SPCA - we were all very excited about all the great things that were going to happen - this was around 2002-2003-2004. Well, we all know what did happen, and here we are today.

So then we have the press release a couple weeks ago - which I've put at the end of this post, and which you've probably all read in other spots on the internet - but it's kind of like the NS SPCA has moved to the other end of the spectrum in the ensuing years - trying to make people that never even necessarily get CHARGED with anything - pay egregiously large bills to the SPCA for costs associated with their cases - and they're never charged, or convicted of anything - but yet they never get their animals back, they never get a day in court, they don't get anything - except maybe have to declare bankruptsy and lose everything in their life.

So I think their new policy may be a good thing - the fact that they are now going to leave it up to a judge to decide how much costs that the person have to pay - and not the SPCA - because obviously - the SPCA doesn't seem to have struck a good balance in the ensuing years since 2004 when they were told that convicted people shouldn't have to pay.

It's like as if they found out convicted people didn't have to pay - so they're just going to make everyone else pay? Maybe that's what they started to do, I don't know - that's a little bit ridiculous - but maybe that's the inference we're supposed to draw here? That's what it looks like. It would look like that to someone who was issued a huge bill - but had never been charged with animal cruelty - but they saw someone who had actually been convicted of animal cruelty - and never had been issued an onerous bill for their animals that had been seized - don't you think? Or maybe I've got this all wrong.

Here's my post from 2004 -


Friday July 9, 2004

Yesterday in the Chronicle Herald there was an article about a guy who was fined for starving his animals. The SPCA had asked for the guy to be fined enough to cover the costs of the SPCA and the judge said:

"The last thing we want in our society is investigating agencies being funded by the offenders."

When I read that yesterday morning I almost had a heart attack! I'm very happy that the president of the NS SPCA is following up on what has to be one of the most ludicrous statements to ever come out of the mouths of anyone in a position of power in this province in years. The complete article is below the press release. And the letter to the editor of the Chronicle Herald that I'm going to be writing will be coming shortly!



The NS SPCA is sorry to hear that at least one Nova Scotia judge doesn't think that violators of animal cruelty laws should contribute to the costs of stopping them. In refusing to order a Mill Village man he convicted of animal cruelty to contribute to the costs of the SPCA's investigation, Provincial Court Judge James Burrill said yesterday that, "The last thing we want in our society is investigating agencies being funded by the offenders."

The NS SPCA respectfully disagrees. "If convicted cruelty offenders aren't going to be penalized by carrying even a little of the financial load of their bad behaviour" says Society President Judith Gass, "how fair is it that the entire burden of enforcement falls upon the law-abiding citizens of this Province?" Because, she says, that's what Judge Burrill's comment means. "The SPCA is exclusively responsible for the enforcement of the provincial Animal Cruelty Prevention Act and yet we get the whopping sum of $3000 per year from the Department of Agriculture. That's it for government funding. Every other penny of our nearly $350,000 cruelty investigations budget comes from animal lovers across the province. And I don't expect we'll be seeing a donation from Mr. Wamboldt any time soon."

Gass says that the chronic underfunding of the Society by government has long been a sore point with her agency, but Judge Burrill's remarks yesterday were salt in the wound. "It's bad enough that Mr. Wamboldt was only fined $460 for starving his three husky dogs when our law allows a maximum of $5000 for a first or second offence, but
to then let him off the hook for investigation costs..." Gass shakes her head. "This is a buck that shouldn't stop with us. Being a responsible animal guardian means that you undertake to fulfill that animal's physical and emotional needs with kindness and caring - if you fail in that undertaking, you should expect to bear the financial
cost of your failure. And that includes finding you out and bringing you to justice."


Dog owner fined for neglect

By BEVERLEY WARE / South Shore Bureau

LIVERPOOL - A Mill Village man has been ordered to pay $800 in fines and restitution after he starved his three dogs to the point one had to be put down.

Fred Wayne Wamboldt was charged last April 15 with neglecting to provide his huskies with proper food, water, shelter and care.

Prosecutor Murray Judge said the Queens County SPCA was called in and investigators found the dogs very thin "and their coats were saturated with the smell of urine and feces."

The three dogs were seized. Two were treated and placed in homes, but the third was so emaciated he was euthanized.

Mr. Wamboldt told Provincial Court Judge James Burrill he has been breeding dogs for more than 30 years. He said they were racing sled dogs and were supposed to be thinner than purebred huskies. Mr. Wamboldt said he had been trying to find homes for the two younger dogs and planned to have the older one put to sleep once the other two had new owners.

He said that he and his wife were so upset by the charges that they are on medication and that he had to take time off from his work at Michelin because of stress.

Judge Burrill said while he appreciates that Mr. Wamboldt has been breeding dogs since 1970, standards have changed over the years.

He placed Mr. Wamboldt on probation for a year and ordered him to pay the SPCA $347.01 in restitution for vet bills. Mr. Judge had asked for $400 in restitution to the agency for its investigation, but Judge Burrill refused, saying such agencies must get their funding by other means.

"The last thing we want in our society is investigating agencies being funded by the offenders," he said.

However, he did fine Mr. Wamboldt $460, for a total bill of $807.01.

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