Saturday, January 4, 2014

What does the Animal Protection Act Actually Say?

I'm getting a lot of heat for the things I've said in relation to the NS SPCA's handling of the dead dog in Preston - that maybe they are doing the right things in the right order - and that maybe they are also doing the right thing when it comes to chained dogs across the province. I shouldn't be second guessing them. They are the professionals after all.

So let's look at what the Animal Protection Act.

That's the legislation they are supposed to be following.

Distress is mentioned no less than 26 times in that Act. And the first time it's mentioned is in section 2 where it says -

(2) An animal is in distress, for the purpose of this Act, where the animal is

(a) in need of adequate care, food, water or shelter or in need of reasonable protection from injurious heat or cold; or

(b) injured, sick, in pain, or suffering undue hardship, privation or neglect.

That sounds pretty straight forward, don't you think?

So if a dog is freezing to death, about to expire from heat, injured, sick, in pain, suffering undue hardship - privation - or neglect - the NS SPCA should be able to do something about it.

That should go ABOVE just things like having water, food, and shelter don't you think?

Anyone with half a brain would believe that.

It's my belief - and why I'm personally so angry - is that the NS SPCA is INTERPRETING the Act in a way that they want to interpret it - so that they don't have to do anything - so that they can say that if an animal has food, water and shelter - they can't do anything. Not because the ACT says so.

That is my belief.

I don't know if I'm correct - and these are my own beliefs - these are not the beliefs of my rescue - "no chains all love" - these are my own beliefs.

The NS SPCA has said they will only pursue a case if they have a 100% chance of conviction - so what does that mean? That means that they pursue almost no cases. That means they leave a lot of animals behind. And that is wrong - simply because they say they don't have the money to pursue cases that they won't win.

In 2012 the NS SPCA only pursued FIVE cases of cruelty - and received their 100% conviction rate - but they received 18,000 calls regarding cruelty!!!! That is quite a disparity!

Who's fault is that? It's not the animal that's left behind, that's for sure.

Am I angry? You bet I am.

Are people angry with me for saying this? You bet they are. And there will be even more people angry with me for writing this post.

Go read the Animal Protection Act and see if you think that the NS SPCA are enforcing it. They are the only organization currently empowered in Nova Scotia to do so.

Then go read the NS SPCA's Standards of Care - written by them specifically - why would they write such a thing that they can't enforce one little bit of? It's entirely baffling. And their "Doghouse Location and Care requirements" - why do they walk away from such horrific situations when they've written such a document. I do not understand it.


  1. Anonymous9:45 PM

    I do believe you are....correct on ALL counts.

  2. Anonymous10:02 PM

    I for one will only put up a post like this....or any other if I wlked a mile in their shoes. Have you? If so, than I applaud what you are saying. If not, then you're no different then the rest of them. In other words....Blah Blah Blah.
    Call the police and find out how many calls they received in 2012, VS how many convictions there were. Bet you would be amazed at that too!


  3. You are correct, Joan. They are not doing their jobs - not even close!

  4. Anonymous10:52 PM

    Ive neen told that the spca have seized at least 12 dogs inthe last 2 months. They must be doing sometjing right!

  5. Joan,I agree with you 100%.It's common sense.

  6. Anonymous11:14 PM

    Not doing their job? So what about the the many dogs at the shelters marked as provinvial cases? They have seized over 12 dogs in the laat 2 months! Ask them!

  7. Anonymous11:22 PM

    well i think you are making a bit of this out to be worse then it is, i know people who work for the SPCA they take in so many animals they dont have room ,and on the note of the ACT they are in the right, its very tricky to pursue legal allegations and win when it comes to he said she said , if they dont have the money because the NS GOV dont help at all why is it the SPCA's fault they cant afford to chase every call are you giving them money to help do that? i am sorry this sounds like nothing more then an uneducated rant by someone who looked up some minor details.

  8. The entire legal system and government is a farce, there is no such thing as "justice". It's a game of chess, played between Lawyers and politicians, those who pay win those without the means, loose. It's doesn't matter who is right or wrong, it's the lawyers that decide which cases go before the courts and which don't, a little bit of money here, hush hush, animal abusers, murders, rapists and pedophiles go free, as long as they can buy the "right” lawyer. People need to stand up and demand change, demand that the current laws be enforced; lawyers should not have the right to decide what gets seen by the courts and what doesn't.
    As for animals, too many people choose to turn a blind eye, rather than get involved, too many people will complain about a noisy dog, but don't bother to check to see why the dog is howling, too often the animal’s cries are ignored, until it is too late. There is no way the dog in Preston died quietly, to freezing to death is a very painful thing, first the feet, legs, body and mind, that dog would have been howling for it's life as the temperatures slowly declined, howling for anyone to hear him, dying in the wind. Do I think the owner will be changed, absolutely not, they more than likely won't even be fined; they will simply say "they didn't know better". Everyone who heard the dog dying in the cold is responsible for its death. And until laws are change, and people start seeing that animal abuse is a "real" issue, there will continue to be more dogs dying on the end of the chain, for the second a dog is chained in a yard with no intentions of having the dog be a family member that dog beings dying, day after day, year after year, until finally they are freed, usually by death.

  9. Anonymous12:09 AM

    Animals feel joy sorrow pain ..just like you and I..would we leave a person outside to freeze...most of us need for a dog to freeze either..there should be no debate..people should just take them.

  10. Anonymous12:12 AM

    Hi Joan,
    I would have to say I agree with you .I know of a dog who has been tied out most of her life this far. With the bad storm we just had ....the owner was contacted by SPCA that evening by phone and was asked to bring their dog in.They replied yes they would bring her in.Well a person drove by a little later and she was still outside. The public ..those who have been watching this dear soul went nuts. Until a community member and RCMP went to the house to talk to him ....she might not have ever made it inside.So a phone call and a voice that says yes I will bring my dog in is enough.What if she would of spend the night outside , she too might of ended up like the dog in Preston. I know they have no results back yet on the cause of death for that sweet soul from Preston....but either way a dog frozen in the ground is neglect.No excuses......

  11. Georgio12:45 AM

    Dog house requirements written by the SPCA are not law. An officer could say "that shelter is not adequate" and the suspect say "I believe it is." There is no definition of adequate. It is open to interpretation to both the SPCA and the public, so until something changes in the act that defines adequate shelter (dog houses vs truck cabs) food (pet food vs table scraps) or anything else you mention, nothing will change. The SPCA does not write the law. Their word is not law. They could ask you to build a better shelter and you could tell them to f--- themselves and win easily in court. That's just a very sad reality. Ask any lawyer they will tell you the same: that the act is littered with loopholes making it difficult to act until it is almost too late.

    The dog community naturally finds this difficult to comprehend as most of us know more than 'average' about dogs and cats and thus lose sight of what the 'average' person might be thinking. Remember there is no course or license requirement to own a dog. You can literally pick one up for nothing having never seen one in your life. Assuming every person in NS knows as much as dog people do is stupid. Assuming every dog owner in NS will build a doghouse equivalent of the royal palace without any legal requirements to do so, again is stupid.

    Assuming any and every SPCA officer would rather stand by and watch a dog freeze than file paperwork or appear in court? Ridiculous. Writing about it like this is just blatantly disrespectful, especially from someone who claims to be so respected in the companion animal industry. I find myself increasingly skeptical of your sanity.

  12. In my opinion (which I have also been berated for today) I had stated the same as you. The laws are clear, the SPCA neglects to do as they should all the while receiving $2,000,000.00 in donations last year & holding the public emotionally hostage over the threat of ceasing investigations for $100,000.00 from the government to keep the investigations department in working order. It is absolutely disgusting how people can dismiss laws that are in place that are clearly defined to suit their own agenda. The SPCA is a constant embarrassment and should be re-assessed as to their effectiveness as I personally feel independent animal rescue organizations such as yours do a far more efficient job when the real work needs to be done. Great article!

  13. Anonymous9:59 AM

    Playing devil's advocate here, but if all 18,000 calls animals were seized (I'm assuming at least a quarter there would be multiple animals involved). Where would all of these animals go while there were court cases pending and who would pay? Assuming that most would sign over the animals, but for those who chose to fight the charges. Would they clog up shelters so much that there was no room for incoming animals, thus those animals would die? I agree, the law is the law and if a law is broken it should be prosecuted, but in strengthening the act I hope that they (NSSPCA) have a plan for animals that does not include a return to high death counts. Our court system is so slow even for "human" cases, and I think of your ongoing "B" saga in NS, it could take years and years for some cases while animals linger in care. Then it goes to court and they still get nothing even if convicted. I guess we have to start somewhere, there are just so many things that factor in.

    1. Well right now it's private rescues who area shouldering most of the cost and care for animal rescue in Nova Scotia and we get no funding whatsoever from government - I would submit that most of those 18,000 calls wouldn't clog up the shelters - but they most certainly shouldn't be walked away from

    2. And they don't linger in care - in almmost all cases the SPCA does adopt out the animals before the cases go to court - without the consent of the accused - look at Bingley. Google it

    3. Anonymous7:56 PM

      Why haven't you posted my question on what would you do with the situation in Preston? Afraid of answering it??

    4. Jesus, can't a person take a nap on a Sunday afternoon?

    5. RCMP are well within their authority to investigate animal abuse & neglect in any area within their territories. The death of an animal in Preston should not be handled any different then anywhere else in Nova Scoria. Abusers do not exist in one area alone, they are everywhere.

  14. annette armitage10:24 AM

    agreed...the laws are they need to be enforced and acted upon

  15. I don't think you are crazy or fact I believe you are probably the only sane one in all of Buddy's case where the NS SPCA walked away from that poor dog...that's what I find insane and ignorant.

  16. Joan anyone who says you are posting an uneducated rant is the one who is uneducated. The APA is clear and what's also clear is that the only three things that are looked at in these calls is food, shelter and water. Distress doesn't seem to be on the spca radar. The most recent case of Buddy from Joggins, ns is a clear example of this along with the dog that froze in Preston even if freezing turns out not to be the cause of death there is a clear case of neglect for the spca to have found that dog in that condition. We shall see how they handle the charges (if any).

    1. Anonymous10:58 PM

      Did the SPCA know about this dog before it froze? was it an active investigation?
      Are investigators vets? Did they see or know about the tumor Buddy had?
      To my knowledge, investigators are not trained vets or phycics.
      If they knew about the tumor on Buddy, or the conditions about the other dog before it froze, then shame on them. If they did not know, then shame on most of you.
      If the SPCA decides to pack up and call it quits because of most of you ignorant people, you will only have yourselves to blame! But I'm sure you will all find someone else.

    2. I work at a hospital - I don't know how to cure cancer, but my job requires that I know how to spell it - so that's what I make sure that I know how to do - spell it. Understand what I'm saying? God you're an idiot.

  17. The SPCA has the power to enforce the dogs in question to see a vet. In the case of the dog in Preston and Buddy my point was they are both clearly cases of neglect and animal cruelty and the SPCA was aware of Buddy 3 months prior to his death and NO charges have been laid and I'm sure we will see the same result for this dog in Preston. Honestly if any of you commenting knew anything about these two specific cases and you're still defending the actions of the SPCA knowing them, then shame on you.


    Apparently, NS isn't the only one with this issue:

  19. Joseph6:01 AM

    Someone call adult protective services because OP clearly is not in a healthy state of mind or able to make sound decisions lol