Horrific Animal Cruelty Incident…How did this happen?

Yesterday, the media broke a story here in Nova Scotia, that has everyone reeling.  Reports revealed that over one hundred animals, including 80 cats and 27 dogs, were rescued from a site which had been operating as some sort of ‘animal shelter’ in Port Hastings, Nova Scotia.   The SPCA had been trying to investigate this situation for several months.  It was not until last Sunday, that they had the legal authority to search the premises.  When their team of workers, along with RCMP officers, entered the Celtic Pet Rescue centre, they were horrified to find two building full of animals in deplorable conditions.  Cats and dogs were lying about in toxic filth. The stench of ammonia was so bad, that some of the workers were not able to proceed.   A number of animals were found dead.  The basement was filled with sewage where animals lay. Cats were so encrusted with feces, that their colour could not be determined until they were taken away and bathed for hours. A dog and her nine puppies were found in a crate, hidden by boxes, nursing her pups.  It was estimated that many of the animals had not been attended for over sixty hours.  SPCA workers were shocked (and they don’t shock easily) by the scene.  They had anticipated a rescue of 30 or so animals and ended up with a scene they had not expected or prepared for. The situation necessitated two trips to remove the animals.  The cats and dogs were taken to sites in Halifax and Dartmouth, for the most part, and work began to evaluate their condition and treat them.  Nine cats were found to have Feline Leukemia. The response has been overwhelming from concerned animal advocates.  Even people who are not big animal lovers have expressed sadness and concern, upon hearing the news.  Offers of veterinary care, donations, and requests to adopt have poured in.  Of course, the first question on everyone’s mind, is HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?  The woman who was granted a license to operate an ‘animal shelter’, has not been charged yet, though public outrage will undoubtedly result in a careful investigation on the part of the authorities.  It is expected that charges will be laid. Background information on the operator of this ‘shelter’, is sketchy.  The SPCA is the only organization that has the right to actively investigate and seize animals in such circumstances in Nova Scotia.  Their resources are limited and their powers are also not extensive.  The woman who applied for, and received a lisence to operate this place, is reported to have met standards to open.  How and why conditions deteriorated is unknown.  Without legal authority, it was not until recently that the SPCA were granted a warrent to enter, even though they had requested permission to examine the site, and were denied. They could not act.  If an adult is suspected of physical abuse or neglect of a child, the system moves very quickly.  Obviously, society’s conscience and values, do not provide for the same intense scrutiny and care for animals,  as it does for children. We can’t seem to strike a balance. Comment?


8 responses to “Horrific Animal Cruelty Incident…How did this happen?

  1. Pingback: Authority » Horrific Animal Cruelty Incident…How did this happen?

  2. Unbelievable that there would even be a question of wether the operator of this so called animal shelter would face criminal charges. I hope the law takes care of her obvious criminal offences and i pray that god takes care of her lack of any morals offences. I would be quite interested to know what finances were sent her way too. If it was donations or government grants i would think an audit would be in order to see where exactly this money was spent.

  3. One would hope that lessons are learned from this incident. I don’t know where funding for this ‘shelter’ came from. The crux of the problem is accountability, and in this case, the total lack of it. There is no schedule for checking up on these places and few inspectors to do the work. A rural town often finds itself with abandoned animals, courtesy of city dwellers who irrationally believe that leaving them at the driveway of a rural home will ensure their adoption and care. I’ve heard of rural residents finding abandoned animals in the dozens, over the course of a month. They can’t cope. That is how rural shelters came about. If inspectors had a mandate to check shelter premises every week, then bad apples could be sniffed out immediately. I believe that this shocking occurance will translate into such policies being developed. As for the woman who ran this ‘shelter’, I assume that criminal charges will be laid. We will wait to hear what possible explanations surface from her, that might explain how this deplorable situation developed. Local residents from this quiet pocket of Nova Scotia are very upset. The mayor was interviewed last night on CBC radio. He reflected the community’s sadness and concern that this happened. Normally, in small rural towns, people have a good idea of what is going on. This blew them out of the water. When suspicions were raised, the SPCA was contacted. They could not enter until they obtained a warrant. So, their powers should be increased too…for the benefit and protection of animals.

  4. Not surprised!

    Wow! This happened because specific authorities did not listen to many complaints stemming from up to 4 years ago. Ironically I know someone who complained two years ago at the NS SPCA AGM about this specific shelter and was told to keep her mouth shut by executive members. I was there so speak first hand. it wasn’t until she made a substantial donation to the vet that she was even given the courtesy to speak. I do hope this time they will listen and slap these people with animal cruelty charges. They out of anyone should have known better.

  5. Indeed!

  6. highscool student

    how did this happen is right! there should be officals in ALL animal shelters, checking up on the workers. No matter how well respected they are. everybody can change and stuff can happen. all those innacent animals suffered because poeple were too lazy to go and check up on this shelter. The organization its self should be sending representatives to EVERY shelter and doing thoral check of the entire building, checking books and looking in on the animals, no matter how long the owner has been operating this buiness or how well respected they are. i am glad that something has happend to open their eyes, its just horrible that all the animals had to suffer and go through the curality that they did in order for poeple to know. obviously this is going on in other shelters, how long and how many animals are going to have to go through theis torture before we start doing something about it?

  7. Hi there High school student. As I outlined in the blog, the problem is that no law exists to mandate the SPCA, or any other agency to enter without a warrant. The ‘vet’ who was occasionally looking in on this place, claims that it was in order at time of his visits. Hopefully, the Nova Scotia government (are you listening, Rodney MacDonald?) will heed the outcry. Remember also, that it is probably election year in Nova Scotia…good opportunity to make this an issue. I am blown away by the number of people still reading my blog item on this from quite some time ago. That in itself, should indicate the passion for animal rights that people have.

  8. how has this happened this sickens mme so much that i feel weak i mean so many animals treted so poorly its an outrage!!!!!!

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