Friday, February 26, 2010

The voice of the people

two letters from today's Cape Breton Post
First-hand view of dead dog left convincing impression The Cape Breton Post
I have been reading with interest and sadness the letters about the dead dog found frozen to the ground on Barrachois Mountain. I was with my brother when we discovered the poor animal.

We went there because it had snowed three days earlier and we had seen no sign of anyone having gone to feed or water or take care of the dog.
When we found the animal I just happened to have my camera and I took photos, which I still have.
The dog was chained and tangled in a small fir tree outside his house (if you would like to call it a house); he had two bowls, empty of food or water but filled with snow.
Inside his dog house there was at least an inch and a half of pure ice on the floor. The dog had what appeared to me to be two large frostbite sores, one on each hip.
In the time it took us to notify the Cape Breton Post, about an hour, someone apparently alerted the owner because someone arrived, unchained the dog, emptied the snow from his dishes, and threw a handful of food into the dog house.
The representative of the SPCA arrived, did not even know where the dog was and started to argue that it was not the same dog that had been investigated earlier.
He commented that the dog didn’t look to be in too bad a shape, to which my brother remarked that, yes, the dog looked great dead and frozen to the ground.
Whether the SPCA had been there previously as it said is for the law to determine.I just hope this animal did not die in vain and that the owner is never allowed to own an animal again.
Global TV was on hand and taped the conversation between my brother and the SPCA; the SPCA’s story has changed each time it’s been told.
Who did the necropsy? Was it someone who does a lot of business for the SPCA, or someone independent? Who alerted the owner to get there and clean up the site before the Post got there?
That poor dog was tied in the forest for two years with little or no interaction, less than adequate living conditions, and only enough food to barely keep him alive.I have seen this with my own eyes.
Jim Bona
Animal rescue organizations need to be independently monitored The Cape Breton Post
In response to the articles and letters about the death of the chained dog near Barrachois, I believe there needs to be legislation on the tethering of dogs for most or all of their lives. This is no life for any animal even with shelter, food and water.

If the local SPCA is unable or unwilling to correct the situation, let’s work for change, recognizing that there is a problem. The solution in my mind is to form a concerned citizens group that will monitor the situation, speak openly against inhumane practices, and see that animal shelters are doing the job they were created to do – protecting the animals.
Shelters must be seen to be accountable for the services they supply, or don’t.
I believe there is plenty of room for personal burnout that leaves employees cold, uncaring and numb to the trauma and abuse that is witnessed on a daily basis.
There is a recognized syndrome that affects many members of the animal welfare community. Author Douglas Fakkema of the Canine Underground Railroad describes this in four phases of rescue.
Once a person becomes immune to the animal suffering, that employee becomes part of the problem and not part of the solution.
Anyone concerned for the welfare of our animals should visit, a British Columbia animal advocates society run by volunteers, some ex-SPCA employees, who are very vocal in making their local SPCA branches be seen to be accountable for the treatment of animals in their care and in the handling of investigations.
Animal shelters that have become part of the problem, in my estimation, are simply warehousing and euthanizing unnecessarily because the employees have long forgotten why they wanted to work in animal welfare.
I believe all humane rescue societies, SPCA and others, need to be closely monitored (and video-monitored for internal lapses in humane treatment). This should be done by someone who does not have a stakeholder interest, and not by shelter management or board members.
When reports of incompetence or lack of interest keep surfacing, I believe it is past due for an in-depth and complete investigation. At the very least, it’s time for concerned citizens to join forces and truly speak up and for the animals that so desperately need to be heard.
A former SPCA employee:
Christene Higgins
Dutch Brook
When two different people ... local people... are moved by their experiences to speak up on the same subject, it well worth paying attention to.
What time is it? Its time for the society to recognize that credibilty in their New Path is directly connected to the credibility of every branch that bears their name.

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