Wednesday, November 30, 2011

On half truths and whole lies ....

What a beautiful balmy morning in the woods!  Last night's lovely light mist pretty much put paid to any lingering bits of last weeks weather ... so we were able to climb back up our favourite trail to the ridge. 
The birds eye view is always well worth the extra extra effort!  Where else could we look down on eagles hunting over the meadow ... and watch a wall of rain coming in across the valley floor?
We really do have wonderful weather in this province.   Even if we cannot have tulips and forsythia in March , where else could we be shovelling snow one week and only wearing a jacket the next because hunting season is still on?
Two weeks ago, when the first news came out that the shelter manager had been dismissed and the former branch board of directors had been disbanded, who would ever have imagined that they would be "Occupying the Renegade Shelter"?
Who would have dreamed that an escalating succession of legal steps would be ignored?
Even worse, who could possibly have believed that the CBRM Mayor and Council would find it necessary to fritter away CBRM taxpayer dollars on an "independent audit" ?   Or that they would make fast and loose with the public purse by awarding a half million dollar contract for Animal Control Services  without due process of public tender? 
Of course that is not even the worst bit!   Two weeks ago, the provincial board of the society was ready and able to temporarily assume stewardship of the shelter so that shortcomings could be addressed and a new local board and manager could be put in place.
Instead the renegade shelter is in a holding pattern .. where the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board have proudly proclaimed there is new leadership instead of admitting they have simply played musical chairs.   By their own admission, there are insufficient funds to address the action items in either audit.
Staunch supporters of the renegade shelter are insisting that if problems genuinely existed that surely they would have been addressed sometime in the last thirty years.  
They are either unwilling or unable to believe that change has come to the society.   That the old board who allowed the former shelter manager to regurgitate the same annual report each year is gone. That the days of complaints about the former Cape Breton branch falling on deaf ears are done. That lies and excuses would only go so far with the new board and that there might someday be a day of reckoning.(The subject of how that same old board's failure to address complaints about those running Celtic Pets also left the general public feeling that all was tickety boo there is a testy topic that can still make tempers run high)

So it is likely beyond their imagining maybe ... just maybe ... if an unannounced inspection visit from provincial yielded such disastrous result that something might actually be wrong at the shelter.
Last night on CTV news, I was watching Mr. Mombourquette complaining to the camera that it was a shame to have to spend donor dollars on legal fees.   Which leads us to the very interesting heart of the matter.
Why have the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board refused to leave?   By now they realize their profit margin is going to be significantly reduced if they are to provide proper care for the animals.    By now they understand that expecting the same society they are defying to continue easing the stress by taking the overflow of animals is a bit of a pipe dream.
In light of that, why the defiance?   When the state of the shelter is already a matter of public record?   
If dodgy record keeping has understated the already horrific high numbers of animals killed, what else might be waiting in the wings?   After all, if that half million a year wasn't being spent on proper vet care, adequate food, training, cleaning supplies or building upkeep... what was it being spent on?
What time is it?  It is past the latest noon deadline ... so one can only wonder what is so very damaging about the books that the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board do not dare surrender the renegade shelter.
And this is how I see it, on Wednesday, November 30th ... the FOURTEENTH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded branch board created the renegade shelter.
A half truth is a whole lie.    Yiddish Proverb

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Embrace the love without the sleepless nights :)

I love composting!  What's not to love?  It is one of the easiest organic gardening bits around!   Even better ... it recycles all the garden flotsam and jetsam into some of the best fertilizer to be found anywhere! 
Best of all of course is that, outside of the investment in a composter, the whole process is absolutely free!
Before I found my big fancy Earth Machine composters on a Kings County Earth Day promotion one year, my compost bin was a cobbled up combination of chicken wire and recycled boards. 
It didn't look as tidy as its replacement, but over years of good use it became so fruitful we started calling it the plant hospital.  Herb starts and houseplants that seemed past their best day almost magically sprung back to life in the richness built up over time.   
Tomorrow is the last day of November.   Besides the newsworthy note of being the deadline for the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board to hand over control of the renegade shelter , tomorrow is also the last day of Adopt a Senior Pet Month.
This morning when we were in the woods, the casual observer could not possibly imagine that Rascal has only been with us a few months.   That for eleven years he lived a very different life as the dear companion of a woman in her eighties.
Judging by his enthusiasm, odds are that his old life was long on love but short on things like long morning hikes and having the fun of rummaging around the play yard with the big dogs.
To see those stubby little legs trotting along beside me, one would never imagine that Rascal was not born to this life!
All the cliches I use on the senior pet site really are true.   Senior pets ARE more experienced at love!   They ARE mature enough to focus and so they CAN more easily learn new tricks!
Even better,  adopting a senior pet can be a particularly good fit for someone who has made a lifetime journey with an old friend.  For some kind hearts it would be too much to go back to square one with a puppy after years of comfortable companionship.
Best of all of course is that senior pets really do have more love than anyone can imagine for the wise folks who appreciate the Zen of an older pet.   Rascal is as devoted to me as the big dogs who arrived at the young age of two!
What time is it?   It is always time to remember that senior pets are never, ever too old to be loved!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The problem with painting oneself into a corner ......

From the Nova Scotia SPCA website
Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of the Cruelty of Animals takes steps to recover property and care for animals
by Nova Scotia SPCA on Monday, November 28, 2011 at 4:15pm

Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of the Cruelty of Animals takes steps to recover property and care for animals Nova Scotia (November 28, 2011) - The Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of the Cruelty of Animals (SPCA) has retained legal counsel and is taking steps to issue letters to the newly formed Cape Breton Humane Society and to certain individuals who have continued to occupy the building and property at 401 East Broadway Street, Sydney. The matter of ownership has been challenged by the former directors of the now disbanded Cape Breton Branch of the SPCA.

The SPCA took the step of dissolving the branch due to serious concerns over the condition of the property and the treatment of the pets under the care of the former branch. These concerns were also expressed in a recent report by two veterinarians to Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
Under the Memorandum of Association of the former Cape Breton Branch of the SPCA, as with all branches of the Society, the property and assets of a dissolved branch will transfer to the provincial body to hold in trust. The new Humane Society does not have the same legislated mandate that is set out in the Animal Protection Act.
Kristin Williams, Executive Director of Nova Scotia SPCA advised that the Society is in the process of establishing a new branch in Sydney to take over the operations. Ms. Williams said “The provincial body will be operating the facility initially in order to ensure the conditions are brought up to acceptable standards and appropriate practices and procedures are in place.” She added “ultimately the plan is to have a new vibrant Cape Breton Branch fulfilling the duties of the SPCA.”
The letters addressed to certain individuals and the newly formed Cape Breton Humane Society, warn they have to be out of the property by 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 30 or face further legal consequences.
“We really hope that the individuals honour the legal right of the SPCA and cooperate in the transfer of the property so the animals in care are properly cared for and deficiencies can be addressed.” Ms. Williams said. “We have a contingency plan in place to immediately take care of the animals in care and manage as of Wednesday.”
MEDIA CONTACT or 902-835-4798
Well then.  After the release earlier today of the Memorandum of Association ... this latest step shouldn't come as any surprise!
To be perfectly honest, this might actually be the "easy out" the dismissed board might need to exit stage left.
And before the keyboards catch on fire, I haven't got it in me to summon up any sympathy for them.   Since I started doing this latest series on this thread,  horrible anecdotes keep popping into my inbox.  
( As a sidebar note to that, if you are thinking of doing that .... please don't.   If you are not willing to be publicly quoted, please go the other way around and contact the Cruelty Investigations people at SPCANS.    Any confidentiality agreements that have been signed with an SPCA Branch could be superseded by their authority, eh? )
But I am wandering afield, as I often am wont to do.  The point I am making in my meandering way is that at this point, it is irrelevant whether or not the dismissed board actually understood the situation.
It is even immaterial that they refused to believe the 2011 Shelter Audit.    That the CBRM Mayor and Council were then enticed to fritter tax payer dollars on a second assessment.  
Really, does it matter?   From the moment the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board created the renegade shelter they were operating outside the law.
At this point, it simply does not matter whether the disbanded board members were deliberately obtuse or simply functioning as figureheads.  
It is ... however ... very relevant that the CBRM Mayor and Council chose to allow a separate entity to assume control of the CBRM Animal Control contract without so much as a tender in sight. 
A Contract for half a million dollars transferred to the renegade shelter simply because Mayor Gordon felt it was the only option on the table!
A contract, I might add, that could have legally continued had the society not been stymied in their efforts to regain control by the refusal of the CBRM Mayor and Council to recognize the legal status of the society.
What time is it?   It is time for the disbanded board to stop tap dancing and exit stage left.
And this is how I see it on Monday, November 28h .... the TWELFTH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded branch board created the renegade shelter

In praise of following the recipe

I love making bread.   Old school ... with Mummy's recipe and mixed by hand.  
What's not to love?   It's great to know what is in my food!   Even better, it lends a homely touch with a fragrance that fills the yard.  Best of all, kneading the dough is a great way to work through the mental knots.
To the casual observer, it might not seem as if I am following a recipe.   Without a book on the counter, it is hard for new visitors to see the years of practice behind such a seemingly effortless dance.  
The No Kill Movement has been around long enough now to have its own time tested and proven successful recipe.   The term is often bandied around loosely in the interest of public relations ... but real honest to gawd No Kill actually involves taking specific steps and following the No Kill Recipe!
In order to get to No Kill, a group or shelter must:
  • Make a commitment to stop killing.   No Kill begins with an act of will .. a decision to change kill oriented practices and failures
  • Become accountable by having clear definitions and a lifesaving plan, using the No Kill Equation ( see below)
  • last but not least, have the strong leadership of a compassionate director who is unwilling to hide behind a facade of tired cliches about public irresponsibility.
The No Kill Equation:
1.Feral Cat TNR Program 
2.High-Volume, Low-Cost Spay/Neuter
3.Rescue Groups
4.Foster Care
5.Comprehensive Adoption Programs
6.Pet Retention
7.Medical and Behavior Prevention & Rehabilitation
8.Public Relations/Community Involvement
10.Proactive Redemptions
11.A Compassionate Director
SPECIAL NOTE:   In order to be a genuine, honest to gawd No Kill group or shelter, there must be a live release of at least 90% of ALL intake.  
It must be noted that under the current management, when the renegade shelter was still known at the Cape Breton SPCA, dubious accounting procedures created a special brand of Cape Breton fudge to camouflage the fact that the shelter was not following the No Kill directives and policies of the Nova Scotia SPCA.
Is there any reason to believe that things have magically changed?   If there are insufficient funds for the renegade shelter to follow up on the recommendations for disease prevention, how can potential adopters be confident enough to give their heart to any adoptable at the shelter?
If, in 2011, dogs have still been killed when there have been rescue groups willing to take them, how can we be sure there will be no more anecdotal evidence of dogs waking up in trash cans?
If having the animal control contract has enabled the manager and staff to cook up their own brand of Cape Breton fudge by not counting the AC intake in their stats until they were 'transferred' out of hold ... how can anyone have faith in fancy new declarations ( by the same board ) that NOW they'll be No Kill?
What time is it?   If it is basically the same building ... if the dismissed manager has simply played musical chairs ... if the "new" board is the same old board that was dismissed  .... it is time to wonder what, if anything, has actually changed?   

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Update on Lest We Forget

I am happy to report that tonight on the CTV News, I saw that Noah Tremblay was able to raise $10,000 for his monument for the Animals who have served with Canadian troops at war ... and that the Truro Town Council approved his request for help by voting to provide the remaining $3,000 needed.
Noah is planning to have the monument ready to unveil for Canada Day 2012!
Way to go!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

So, so much more than a day late and a dollar short ....

from tonight's Cape Breton Post
Humane society has new leadership

Published on November 25, 2011
By Greg McNeil - Cape Breton Post
SYDNEY — There’s new leadership at the top of the Cape Breton Humane Society — formerly known as the Cape Breton SPCA.Michael Mombourquette will now serve as the board’s chair and a new shelter manager will be sought after Patsy Rose stepped down.
"It is very unfortunate the way things transpired, but what is done is done and we have to move forward,” Mombourquette said in a phone interview.
“We have to put the consideration of the animals first and foremost.”
Health reasons were cited for the change in the board chairmanship from Melvin Neville to Mombourquette.
A letter sent from the board’s lawyer to council for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality cited a “greater level of expertise to ensure the various changes sought can be implemented” as the reason for the change in the manager’s position.
Mombourquette said Rose will now serve the shelter in an administrative position, while a new operations/executive director is sought.
Efforts to reach her were unsuccessful.
Previously, the provincial SPCA dissolved its Cape Breton branch, saying it hadn’t met a deadline to surrender control of its animal shelter after failing to address recommendations that arose from an audit of the facility and its practices.
Mombourquette said the board is committed to addressing those issues as well as others put forward in a recent veterinarians report requested by CBRM council.
Mombourquette said the board will also attempt to renew dialogue with the Nova Scotia SPCA, beginning with an email he planned to send to Kristin Williams, executive director of the provincial SPCA, Friday evening.
“Hopefully, when she comes down to Sydney we can sit down and meet with her as a full board, as well, to go over issues and concerns and see if we can come to some kind of an agreement.”
When contacted by the Cape Breton Post, Williams wasn’t aware of the board change.
“It doesn’t change our perspective,” Williams said when reached in Ottawa.
“It sounds like that it is still the same individuals. We dismissed that outgoing board. That branch, as far as we are concerned, no longer exists.”
Mombourquette said renewing dialogue is important so that the Cape Breton shelter can again transfer animals around the province.
“We are now a no-kill shelter, so of course with more animals coming in you have to able to transfer your animals.”
Williams might have advice to help the Cape Breton shelter address recommendations presented to them, he added.
He also mentioned renewing contact with the Friends of the Sydney SPCA, after some members of the volunteer group had spoken out against shelter practices.
Their foster home program, he said, is an important part of the shelter.
Well then .... I was right, it is an entertaining read.... lets see ...

  • It is basically the same board that was dismissed last week, and ....
  • the dismissed shelter manager will still be there and has simply been shuffled to another desk ... which begs the question of how a board that cannot afford to make improvements can create an administrative position in order to retain the dismissed shelter manager.  BUT....
  • One does have to admire the coconut sized gumption it must take to believe that the SPCA ED is either going to engage in dialogue with the dismissed board ... or that SPCANS is prepared to enable the renegade shelter by transferring animals.
Cape Breton HAD a No Kill SPCA Shelter ... or rather it was going to once the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board were replaced.    One has to wonder why the same board that permitted such poor practices under their watch has suddenly developed such an enthusiasm for No Kill.
Were they simply not paying attention to what was happening at the shelter?   Were they unfamiliar with how a properly run shelter worked?   Did they not like having their reputations publicly tarnished with the 2011 Shelter Audit?  Did they honestly believe that any reputable veterinarians were going to be kinder in their assessment?   That the independent audit would magically sanitize everything?
Or is the half million dollar sheltering contract money?
To be perfectly fair, that half million dollars will not go nearly as far if they start caring for the animals properly.  
Even worse,  the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board have not set themselves up for success.    After defying every single directive, it simply is not sensible for the disbanded board to expect cooperation from the provincial SPCA board.
Sadly that is not even the worst bit.    While the dismissed board has been sleeping all these years, the animals have been suffering.   They have been forced to live in their feces and urine.   Healthy animals have become sick after entering the shelter.  Countless adopters have lost their hearts... along with their bank accounts .. to undiagnosed dogs.  Volunteers have been bullied into keeping these horrors swept under the rug.

When one has caused so much suffering, can there even be any redemption?   That is a question for higher powers than this middle aged grandmother.   Clearly it is not an issue that troubles anyone at the renegade shelter.
This newfound enthusiasm for No Kill is more than a day late and a dollar short.  Where was it when the provincial SPCA board was bending over backwards to coax the Cape Breton Branch into compliance with their No Kill Strategy?   Where was it when the horrible, home made gas chamber was (is? ) in use?
What time is it?    It is very early in the morning of Saturday, November 26th ... the TENTH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board created the renegade shelter.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Rose by any other name .....

from this evening's Cape Breton Post
Board chair, manager step down from Cape Breton Humane Society
 SYDNEY — There’s new leadership at the top of the Cape Breton Humane Society — formerly known as the SPCA.
A letter from Sydney barrister Robert Sampson, obtained by the Cape Breton Post, indicates Michael Momberquette is the board’s new chair and that shelter manager Patsy Rose has stepped down from her current position.

Health reasons were cited for the change in the board chairmanship, while a “greater level of expertise to insure the various changes sought can be implemented” were cited as the reason for the change in the manager’s position.
The decision was made during an emergency Board meeting held by the society Thursday evening.
The letter also indicates the board is committed to address all issues that have been put forward through the recent veterinarians report as well as those from the Provincial SPCA, even though there is no longer any formal connection.
See Saturday’s Cape Breton Post for more on this story.
Well then.  Does this mean that it is all happy days ahead?   No more need to fret?   Of course not!
The renegade shelter is still being run by the disbanded board.    No doubt that tomorrow's article will make interesting reading, but will it reveal where the money went?   If, according to the 2011 Shelter Audit,  the animals :
  • were not being properly fed
  • were not receiving veterinary care
  • were not spayed or neutered and
  • were not even allowed toys, and
  • were not even given the dignity of a painless death
And if the building:
  • was not being properly maintained
  • was not being cleaned with the proper supplies for disease prevention,
  • does not have adequate space for isolation of new intakes and sick animals
  • and has woefully inadequate ventilation
And ... if the records did not properly account for :
  • intake
  • adoptions
  • the number of animals killed
  • and of course for the revenue and expenditures
Well then ... just where DID the money go?
What exactly is going to change by having the dismissed shelter manager and the president of the disbanded board of directors step down.
After all, if it was personal for the provincial board, would they not have taken action earlier?   If it was personal, would the board have patiently tried, time and time again to change cleaning protocols and sheltering practices at the Cape Breton Branch.
If it was personal, the Board would have acted on one of the numerous times when local public outrage followed the deaths of newly adopted dogs.
In other words, if it was personal, it would already be history.
Doing a two step shuffle does not change the underlying fact that the Branch board was dismissed by the only body in the province with the legal authority to do so.  
Claims that the building belongs to the people of Cape Breton are utterly ludicrous!   What ... do they think it was going to be jacked up , put on a flatbed and sent to the city?
The dismissed board should brush up on the society's governance policies which clearly state that funds stay in the locale in which they were raised!
What time is it?   It is still Friday, November 25th ... the NINTH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded branch board created the renegade shelter.

Its The 2011 How to Holiday Shop AND Help the Animals Post!

It looks like a holiday postcard out there this morning!  On a day like this, until the boys have had a chance to get around the woodland trails with the four wheelers, we are so lucky to have such a lovely big play yard.
Even better, the training squadron from the base is practicing!  Why is that a good thing?   The first time Miss Ruby saw a plane overhead, she galloped around the yard in hot pursuit ... and it flew away!    It worked once ... so she has never lost faith in her ability to keep our skies clear overhead :)
Happily my clever girl understands that the liberty of the play yard is only possible if she respects the boundaries of the fence.  ( helped of course by the fact that I always, always go out in the yard with them :)
For all the churchgoing folks ... and many more who don't ... one month from today is the big day!   All around the province and beyond, people will be unwrapping gifts and putting on their loosest trousers for turkey dinner :)
A couple of years ago, I did a little blog post about how easy it was to do one's holiday shopping by supporting animal rescue fundraisers.   That has now become an annual tradition ... that's right folks ... this is the 2011 "How to Holiday Shop and Help the Animals" blog post!
No matter where you live in NS, there will no shortage of opportunities to help!

  • Today and Saturday, Nov 25th and 26th, CAPS will have all kinds of lovely treasures at the MacDonald Museum Craft Fair in Middleton 
  • This Sunday, Nov 27th, the first Annual Fashion 4 Paws is being held in the warm room of the Kingston Arena!
  • CAPS Cherished Pet Calendars have become a favourite stocking stuffer up and down the valley
  • On Saturday, Dec 3rd, CAPS will be holding Christmas Pet Photos at the Greenwood Animal Hospital
  • CAPS also offers lovely gift sponsorship packages, where the recipient gets a gift card announcement, photo of the cat or kitten being sponsored and a beautiful sponsorship certificate is also sent to the recipient  (PS  Kindness may be its own reward, but gift givers will also get a tax receipt :)
  • psst ... a little birdie told me that the new Pet Valu in the Mall is going to have a slideshow of the adorable adoptables from CAPS on display in the store window :)

 ARC has all kinds of neat goodies:

  • topping the charts of course is the ongoing offer by the very talented local artist Tracey Jessiman to paint a picture of one's pet for the incredibly modest sum of $100.00 ... with all proceeds going to ARC
  • the lovely fundraising Christmas tree at Westwood Hills Animal hospital is now an ARC tradition.  Stop by and either donate an ornament or buy one:)
  • ARC also has beautiful personalized tree ornaments that are available by order.   Ornaments are $3.00 each and can be preordered by emailing ARC at or through Westwood Hills Animal Hospital
  • And of course, as always, ARC also has a beautiful selection of Jewelry
  • And all kinds of great goodies in their store!  Helpful hint .. their coffee mugs hold exactly one bag of holiday Hershey's kisses :)

East Coast German Shepherd Rescue is holding its Pictures with Santa Paws at Pet Valu in Dartmouth tomorrow, Nov 26th

SHAID has lots to offer anyone in the area:
  • Starting tomorrow, Nov 26th, there is a full roster of opportunities for Pet Pics with Santa Clauss .... click here for the schedule
  • The Annual SHAID Open House is on Sunday, Dec 4th.   There will be Christmas crafts and all manner of goodies :)

The kind hearts at Vetcetera are hosting their Holiday Pet Photos on Saturday, December 3rd ... all proceeds to go to local rescue.  This is a fun event that even includes a Christmas Bake Sale!  Sheesh ... save time in the kitchen AND help the animals!

And of course if you want to stay in your flannel jammies and bunnie slippers, there are no shortage of Facebook Auctions with all sorts of lovely bargains!
Please email me me or leave a comment if I have somehow overlooked anything!

And this is how I see it on Friday, November 25th .... the NINTH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded branch board created the renegade shelter

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The problem with the easy road ......

from this morning's Herald

Veterinarians find deficiencies at Sydney shelter

November 24, 2011 - 4:38am By CLARE MELLOR Staff Reporter Small cat kennels, lack of drug documentation cited
Poor infection control, bad record keeping and overcrowding are just a few deficiencies found Monday during veterinarians’ inspection of the controversial Sydney SPCA animal shelter.
Cape Breton Regional Municipality hired two independent veterinarians — Leanna White and Rebecca Korven — to inspect the East Broadway Road Shelter in response to a public dispute that erupted last week between the shelter and the SPCA provincial executive.
"The majority of cat kennels are too small and overcrowded. This needs to be corrected immediately," Korven and White say in the report, released Wednesday.
"Each cat needs to have its own kennel that meets minimum animal welfare standards."

"Animals that were treated with medications did not have their own medical chart. There was no documentation of drugs given, amount, times, health of animal, or observations as to how the animal was responding," they said.
The veterinarians said they also found that, on occasion, shelter staff administered euthanasia drugs and a potent veterinary antibiotic without any monitoring by a veterinarian. The antibiotic can potentially harm humans who come into direct contact with it.
The SPCA’s provincial executive fired Sydney shelter manager Patsy Rose last Wednesday, citing "significant deficiencies" in the care of the shelter’s animals.
The organization, which said it had also received formal complaints from volunteers, also moved to dismantle the eight-member Cape Breton board.
However, on Monday, Rose, who has managed the facility for over 30 years, and her staff refused to leave the facility and turn it over to the provincial organization.
Rose told CBC news that the shelter had removed the SPCA name from the premises.
Wednesday evening, the shelter’s voicemail recording announced callers had reached the Cape Breton Humane Society.
Mel Neville, chairman of the board of the Sydney SPCA, had not yet seen the report when contacted Wednesday. He said that he informally spoke to the veterinarians following their inspection and said he was told there were no concerns about any animals at the shelter.
He said the shelter is continuing its operations.
"We never missed a heartbeat. We are just continuing on the same way that we continued on for 35 years. The only thing we cannot do is go to a cruelty call."
He concedes the shelter needs to improve its record keeping.
"It is not hurting the animals. All you have to do is look at them to see that they are well looked after."
Kristin Williams, executive director of the provincial SPCA, said that the veterinarians’ report identifies many problems that the provincial SPCA had also found.
"We found great concern with those deficiencies, as have those veterinarians," she said Wednesday.
She said the provincial SPCA is launching a "legal challenge" in the case against the Sydney shelter but was unable to elaborate Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the provincial SPCA is setting up a new foster-based branch of the SPCA in Sydney.
"It is a response to the public desire to continue to have animal welfare addressed by the SPCA in Cape Breton," she said.
"We are recruiting for the board of directors currently."
While the veterinarians’ report doesn’t show that animals at the shelter are in any immediate danger, Mayor John Morgan said he is concerned about the findings. The municipality plans to discuss the concerns with the provincial government, which is the regulatory authority for animal welfare. Council also met Wednesday afternoon to discuss the findings of the inspection.
Cape Breton Regional Municipality provides the bulk of funding to the shelter through its animal control bylaw contract, Morgan said.
"The next step for us really is to determine a process to get each of those deficiencies corrected as promptly as possible," he said
Brett Loney, a spokesman for the Agriculture Department, said Wednesday that department officials are in the early stages of reviewing the report.
"There does appear to be changes needed in the long-term operation of the Cape Breton shelter but the other thing is, from looking at the report, there doesn’t appear to be any animals that are in distress at this time."
With files from Davene Jeffrey
By CLARE MELLA Staff Reporter
Well then.  I am a middle aged grandmother, not a starry eyed seventeen year old, so sadly I am not surprised to see politicians taking the easy road.    Do you remember when the horrific footage at the Celtic Pets Seizure surfaced on the news?   It was then, and only then, that the Mayor of Port Hawkesbury cancelled their Animal Control Contract.  
After the seizure,  media reports had a heyday with the information that complaints from area residents about Celtic Pets had repeatedly fallen on deaf municipal ears. 
Why were these complaints dismissed?   Was it easier to ignore them?  Was it cheaper? 
Of course it was!   Yesterday, the CBRM Mayor and Council chose to circle the wagons and protect the disbanded branch board of directors and the dismissed shelter manager.   In spite of overwhelming evidence in the audit that the council had commissioned .... in defiance of legal steps taken by the only body legislated in this province to protect the animals ... the Mayor and Council picked the easy road.
Claims that there are no other options out there are absolutely ridiculous!  Had the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board not been protected by the CBRM Mayor, Council and Police Department, the society would already be started on the road to renovating and improving the shelter.
One wonders if the Mayor and Council will be so quick to protect the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board should there be another horrific video on Live at Five.  Unlike Mayor McLean, they will not be able to take refuge in the fact that none of their AC animals were actually housed at the shelter, eh?  
When politicians pick the easy path,  does that mean that kind hearted individuals are powerless?  Of course not!
One of the virtues of living in a democracy is that we elect our politicians.  What does that mean in realspeak?  Why of course that they never, ever forget that we 'hired' them ... and we can 'fire' them.
If you are incensed about yesterday's decision, you can email your MLA.  If you live in the CBRM boundaries, I would encourage you to contact your Councillors and Mayor.
And that is how I see it, on Thursday, November 24th .... the EIGHTH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded branch board created the renegade shelter.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In the face of bullying and threats ......

We were lucky to get down to the woods when we did!   It was a dirty drive home ... and if we had dawdled this morning we would have missed our morning hike along the trails!
Timing really is everything in life!   Five seconds of dithering on the road can be fatal for a little pheasant.  Five minutes inattention can change chewy cookies into hockey pucks!   Five hours of feasting and holiday partying can undo weeks and weeks of disciplined dieting!
And of course, five days is more than enough time to ready up a renegade shelter for an inspection!
When I was a cook in the military, our kitchens were subject to two types of inspections.  The first, done by the Food Services brass, was a scheduled monthly event.   No 'stone was left unturned' so to speak ... and the object of course was to 'motivate' managers and staff to stay on the right path!
The second type was done by the medical people ... and was the military equivalent of a public health inspection.  No notice was given and indeed the inspections increased in frequency when violations were found!
Not to be mean, but it is the height of romanticism to imagine that the five day gap between dismissal and inspection was not put to good use!
To be perfectly honest, the subject of whether veteranarians without animal sheltering experience are qualified to inspect a shelter is irrelevant. 
The inspection was already done last month by sheltering professionals whose own facility has been winning awards and recognition at both the national and international level.  It was done by the folks who do have the legislated and legal authority to conduct inspections, correct deficiencies and yes... even dismiss employees, disband branch boards and dissolve branches!
Furthermore, it was done in accordance with the society's own policies and bylaws!   
The president of the disbanded board seems to have conveniently forgotten that he voted for and supported any and all administrative changes that have taken place since he was faced with the choice of actually attending meetings or losing his voting rights on the board!
Somewhere along the line, the dismissed shelter manager and disbanded board of directors have conveniently forgotten the following:
  • After SPCANS changed their euthanasia policy to ban the use of the gas chamber, the Cape Breton Branch had to formally ask for provincial permission each year at the provincial AGM to continue using the gas chamber
  • On Feb 14, 2009, when the Provincial Board ordered them to discontinue using the gas chamber and remove it, the Cape Breton SPCA Branch were required to ... and did... comply
  • On that same date, the Branch was required to cease providing an owner requested killing service.   
  • Additionally, the Branch was no longer permitted to be a killing field for feral cats.
In other words, there is no shortage of historical data to prove that The Cape Breton SPCA Branch recognized, and were obliged to comply with, the authority of the Provincial Board.
Today ... if the storm doesn't shut all the meetings down ... the CBRM Mayor and Council will be meeting to discuss the Monday's inspection report by the two veterinarians.   As I understand it from the Friends of the Sydney SPCA facebook page, the Mayor and Council will also be meeting with the amazing volunteers who were not able to look the other way in the face of wrongdoing.
These volunteers could have done what the dismissed Shelter Manager did over the years.  They could have hardened their hearts to the plight of the animals.   They could have accepted the status quo.
Instead ... they made a deliberate choice to work for change.  In the face of bullying and threats, these 'thoughtful, committed citizens' believe that is is possible to create a better community for themselves and the animals.
What time is it?  No matter what happens today ... no matter what the council decides ... no matter how long the dismissed shelter manager and board keep running the renegade shelter ..... it is time to salute the Friends of the Sydney SPCA
In the days ahead, as these hardworking kind hearts are at work building a better future for the animals in Cape Breton ... it will also be time to support them in practical fashion!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.  Margaret Mead

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Update on the Northern Dogs who came to Nova Scotia

What an absolutely perfect fall morning!   Blue sky and sunshine ... without even a wisp of tomorrows weather in the sky!   There would be no need to check the forecast  From smallest squirrel to the highest harrier hawks .... all the wild things seem to sense the storms approach and are readying to settle in and wait it out!
Here in beautiful Nova Scotia, there are a few lucky dogs who are going to be experiencing the novelty of NOT having to hunker down and survive the storm.   I am of course referring to the Anishnabe dogs that came back with DART NS to East Coast German Shepherd Rescue
They will all be safe and warm ... although as a sidebar note to that ... East Coast German Shepherd Rescue's pup still runneth over and they are still looking for a few kind hearts to foster :)
On Sunday, ECGSR held its monthly dog walk and happily had the best turn out ever!   Personally I think that is such a clever idea .... for a very modest fee, dog lovers can come out for a nice walk on the Salt Marsh Trail!  It is really just frosting on the cake that interested kind hearts have the opportunity to meet the adorable adoptables in furson!
( PS for more information ... and pics ... about all the beautiful dogs in the care of ECGSR, please go to their facebook page and their website! )
What time is it? It is always time to remember that rescued dogs have more love than anyone can possibly imagine for those who open their homes and their hearts to offer them a better life!

A few of the adorable adoptables !

Monday, November 21, 2011

On deadlines and coverups .....

I love the drive home down my little country road!  It is tree lined and winds past lovely old farmhouses pretty enough for a postcard.  It is just country enough to often see deer in the fields and young pheasants gaggling after their mothers crossing the road.  Best of all, it is comfy and familiar as my favourite old slipper!
Does that mean there are no surprises?  No big events?  No sirens and flashing lights?   Of course not!   It simply means that those things are so rare as to be remembered for years instead of becoming yestersdays' news.
For instance, the year before I retired we were all treated to quite the sideshow next door!   I came home from work to find a collection of police vehicles in their yard that would have done any big city drug dealer proud!
Why were they there?   The short version is that the little old lady next door flew off to the fairies in spectacular style ... threatening to shoot the fellows who came to disconnect her power ..  along with the police / neighbours /etc
People in the country tend to be pretty pragmatic.   Once the entire incident  was digested and discussed, general consensus was that the whole thing happened because she was a "(insert family name here)" !
Familiarity does not always breed contempt.   We very seldom get to know all aspects of the lives of those in our communities.     People who hurt spouses / harm children or abuse animals can seem completely normal to their friends and family.   There are no bumper stickers on the back of their cars or signs on their stoops!   Nothing is tattooed on their forehead.
In other words, people who only know them outside of the context of the cruelty being committed cannot possibly imagine that one of their friends / neighbours / family / etc could be capable of any crime!  
In a blog post last month, Nathan Winograd said "All across this country, individual people are collectively putting to death millions of animals every year, and often allowing their staff to neglect and abuse them in the process, then going home to their friends and families who embrace them with open arms. It is hard for some to reconcile this. But change won’t happen if we ignore the fact that the difference between lifesaving success and the status quo of killing comes down to the choices made by individual people running the shelters. They must be judged and held accountable to those very weighty choices, and not by any other criteria."  
We are galloping up to the noon hour deadline in the Letter of Demand that the Society's solicitor sent to the legal counsel for the dismissed Shelter manager and the disbanded branch board.
I would love to be pleasantly surprised ... to see a peaceful resolution to this situation that does not involve frittering away Cape Breton donor dollars on lawyers and security guards.
Here in the real world, where the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded branch board have already served notice they intend to "Occupy the Cape Breton SPCA building", odds are they will still be there least for now!
It would seem that the former shelter manager and the dismissed board need to bone up on the society bylaws and regulations.   They are certainly free to open their own 'humane society' ... as long as this is not done with SPCA resources. ( new to this thread ... click here for the Open Letter from the Society to the good people of Cape Breton)
What time is it?   Apparently it is not time yet for common sense to prevail :(
PS ... It might also be time to remind the CBRM Mayor that historically, politicians who participate in cover ups do not get reelected.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Rushing in where angels fear to tread ....

It is trying hard to snow tonight .... so with any luck we'll have enough down by morning to be able to actually see the tracks along the trail that keep all the noses so busy!   
Happily, I can always depend on my earlydog detection system!   Are there coyotes circling around?  Bears down drinking at the river?   Miss Ruby will dig in her heels and refuse to rush in where 'angels fear to tread'!
Anyone interested enough in the whole 'board that wouldn't go home' saga that is playing out in Sydney can follow the timeline quite clearly on the society website.   The facts are laid out in crystal clear fashion ... from the steps taken by the provincial board to the sordid shelter audit (scroll down to read) ... right through to the Letter of Demand that has been sent to the legal counsel for the dismissed board and shelter manager.
For every bit of not so fine whine that Ms Montgomery seems inspired to keep sharing in the Cape Breton Post (see below for the latest episode) there are (many more than six ) volunteers eager to clarify the facts!
For instance, Tammy Williams has told me that Mel Neville has told her that there is absolutely nothing wrong with using the gas chamber.  A comment left on my last blog post described the song and dance routine a volunteer received when she offered to foster Thumper!
If one prefers of course, even if the statistics are fudged, they still paint a grim picture.    The woman who claims that the shelter is a cause that she believes in, habitually asked for permission to keep her gas chamber so that she could keep up with the volume of killing! 
All the CTV photo ops showing her petting a dog and smiling are not going to change the fact that if Patsy Rose had a looney for every cat she has killed over the years ... for every puppy who has died of parvo ... for every time that direction from Provincial has been deliberately ignored .. why then she would be a woman of wealth!
Which begs the very interesting question as to where the money for the lawyer engaged by the former branch board and shelter director has come from.   Even more interesting ... who is paying for the security guard at the locked front gate?
Of course, the shelter audit has shown that the branch hasn't been 'squandering' money 'foolishly' by providing proper vet care for the animals in its charge.  Nor has it been devoting any of it's funds to altering their adoptables or buying proper cleaning supplies!   Clearly no one has been 'wasting' any resources on any of the physical improvements necessary for proper shelter protocols!
No sir!  So there very likely is lots of money in the kitty for legal fees to defy the provincial board!
What time is it?   It is time to remember that had there been true concern for the animals' welfare, there would never have been a gas chamber!   That proper shelter protocols would have been in place all along!  That there would be no need now to lock the doors and be 'occupying the Cape Breton SPCA'!Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life.     Albert Schweitzer

From tonight's Cape Breton Post
Provincial SPCA issues letter of demand for local SPCA board to vacate
Published on November 18, 2011
By Sharon Montgomery-Dupe Cape Breton Post
SYDNEY — The provincial SPCA issued a demand letter to its Cape Breton branch Friday requesting that the care and control of the local facility be handed over to provincial staff.
Kristin Williams, executive director of the Nova Scotia SPCA, said the letter was presented to the branch’s lawyer and if the local branch does not comply, other action will be considered.

“I don’t want to reveal those at this time,” she said. “I am still very hopeful the outgoing board will recognize it is not in the best interest of the animals and of the branch to continue with this action.
“They really need to recognize their folly here and turn over the facility to our care and control so we can address the animals’ needs.”
The provincial board of directors voted Monday to dissolve the local board of directors and fire manager Patsy Rose. The local board says the Cape Breton SPCA raised the money for the land and building themselves and the provincial board does not have jurisdiction to take action and has since barred them from the premises.
Williams said the Animal Protection Act gives the provincial society direct control over its 10 branches and provincial shelter in Dartmouth.
She said even though the property deed is in the name of the Cape Breton SPCA, the land and building belong to the community of Cape Breton.
“The money was raised to support the SPCA’s mandate.”
She said the plan is to have the provincial body take over the existing facility.
“We would continue to offer the services, obviously at a higher level of care,” she said. “We would have provincial staff go in and directly supervise animal care. We would work with the shelter staff — minus the manager, of course — to see if they could perform better under new leadership.”
A big concern now is the health of the animals, she said.
“That is a big unknown for me, because we don’t have access. I don’t understand the veil of secrecy — I don’t understand what they are trying to hide.”
The provincial board released a six-page 2011 audit of the shelter Friday, which detailed issues such as public complaints, staff not properly trained on disease control, deficiencies in the facility design and environment, improper population management on monthly intakes and outcomes, sanitation issues, medical health and well-being concerns of animals at the shelter, lack of procedures to address disease control problem post adoptions, and a lack of evaluation and temperament testing of animals prior to adoption.
Mel Neville, chairman of the Cape Breton SPCA board, said as far as he knows, an audit was not done at the shelter.
“They did come down to do one, but after a massive disruption of everything by some of the volunteers, the audit was not done,” he said.
“They (provincial board members) headed back to Halifax and told Patsy they would be back to do the audit.”
He said the audit which the provincial body released contains a lot of “untruths and half-truths.”
When asked about the demand letter, Neville said the local SPCA board has consulted its lawyers and is not going anywhere.
“They can come with machetes swinging, we are not going anywhere.”
He said if the provincial officials come into the shelter and try to take over, the police will be called.
“It is our building, we own the building and we are the board of directors of that building — they are not.”
Neville said security is being maintained at the shelter.
“We are an operating shelter with all our employees still gainfully employed, along with our manager, and we are open for business during business hours,” he said.
“If they want to come in and blockade us and barge their way in, we will call the police and have them evicted.”
Neville said shelter manager Patsy Rose has not been fired. He said she has been with shelter 30 years and she has the board’s complete confidence.
“The provincial board might have fired her but her employers didn’t fire her — the people who are paying her.”
Brett Loney, spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, said according to provincial legislation under the Animal Protection Act Section 10, each branch of the SPCA is subject to the control and direction of the provincial society.
“The branch may be dissolved by the society or suspended by the society or its executive members.”
When asked if the province would step in if the situation is not resolved, Loney said it is an internal SPCA matter.
“Our expectation is both the parties involved in this appreciate the importance of animal welfare and they will find a solution.”
Loney confirmed his department does has a representative on the provincial board.
Patsy Rose said she has put 30 years into the shelter as it is a cause in which she believes. She said she is tired and frustrated with the inaccurate accusations made by the provincial board.
She said comments by provincial officials that the Cape Breton branch would not let them move eight dogs and 10 cats to other shelters Thursday because of the overcrowding, are not true.
“They never asked us at all — that is a full-out lie.”
Rose said it was business as usual at the shelter Friday.
“We had three dogs adopted and a mother and kittens taken into a foster home,” she said.
She said people are calling offering support.

From the Eagle 103.5 news site:

November 17

2011 Shelter Audit
Cape Breton Shelter

As part of the SPCA’s commitment to our No Kill Strategy, there are many other important components that are vital to running a healthy and sustainable Shelter program. As all of our branches rely on donations, and therefore it is imperative that all of our branches conduct themselves in an open, professional and transparent manner. A high level of customer service and robust Volunteer programs are a part of each Shelter's success or failure if implemented poorly.
The number of people that have adopted a sick animal, or have had a negative experience either as a member of the public or a volunteer at the Cape Breton branch is alarming and completely unacceptable.  The public's perception of the shelter is for the most part, extremely negative. Complaints are frequent, but usually not addressed to the satisfaction of an individual. Greater stewardship of all of these relationships would foster a stronger and more financially stable shelter. Adoptions and revenue would increase and with positive change, the ability to provide greater standards of animal care would be implemented.

Management and Record Keeping:

The shelter does not have any clear policies or procedures outlined in regards to Animal care, intake, treatment or euthanasia.
Staff is not properly trained on disease control. They have little to no basic animal husbandry training or experience and are not even able to perform routine medical care such as administering SubQ fluids on a dehydrated animal.
Staff also does not have the basic training or understanding to recognize common shelter diseases such as calicivirus and herpes in felines, and as such, provide no medical care in regards to these conditions.

Facility Design and Environment:In regards to this significant issue, there are really too many deficiencies to mention. One of the most significant concerns is the use of substandard kennels in their intake area (far too small for kittens, let alone adult cats) and their lack of a proper isolation room for both cats and dogs.
Many of their primary dog enclosures need to have either their kennel doors repaired or replaced.
The inside of their guillotine doors are made of untreated lumber, which would provide absolutely no ability to disinfect properly. For a shelter with a high rate of parvo this is not acceptable and should be treated with an epoxy product immediately.
Outdoor runs up until very recently were not being cleaned properly with moldy feces being left in outdoor runs for days and/or weeks at a time (pictures to support).
They do not have proper ventilation installed in their upstairs free roaming cat room which keeps the room stuffy and traps odor. As well, all of the cats currently in this room are presenting with URI, so without the proper number of air exchanges per hour, disease continues to remain in the room and will be extremely difficult to eliminate.

Population Management:

Monthly intakes and outcomes are not being properly tracked or recorded. There is a concern that upwards to 50% of the intake may have possibly been erroneously reported.
A number of surfaces throughout the facility are broken down or defective, allowing disease to be
trapped in the cracks and hard to disinfect. There is little to no use of stainless steel tables to exam animals and to allow for proper disinfecting.
Please note the following observation:

Recently, a cat gave birth to two kittens in their upstairs free roaming cat room. Staff was aware of this but failed to act by separating the mother cat/kittens from the rest of the general population. A volunteer came in the next day to find the two kittens had been partially eaten. We were able to have this confirmed when it was admitted by a staff member that he failed to act in an appropriate manner.Sanitation:

Until assistance was provided by the Provincial Shelter, the CB Shelter did not have any documented or verbal protocols in regards to disease control or sanitation at their shelter.
On many occasions, shelter staff chose to use a disinfectant, not specifically designed for shelter use, called limonene 64 and comet to clean feces off the floor in the dog kennels.
Shelter staff does not routinely scrub the kennel doors and they do not use a degreaser on kennels before placing a new animal in a kennel.
Staff does not properly measure the disinfectants they use to ensure maximum effectiveness.
On many occasions, primary enclosures are not thoroughly sanitized before new animals enter.
Separate cleaning supplies are not designated for rooms properly.
Please note the following observations:

Disease control and cleaning protocols have been shared by Provincial for them to use to gain greater control after a recent parvo outbreak (approx. 7 dogs in the last month). Despite sending them new protocols to follow, staff confirmed that they were still very confused as to which protocols were to be used in certain situations and that management at the local level had not supported these new protocols.
In transfers of animals from the Cape Breton Branch to the Provincial Animal Shelter, questions have been raised by the Provincial Chief Veterinarian (CPV) on numerous occasions as to the reoccurrence of burns on the scrotum and pads on the feet of dogs that appeared to look like chemical burns. Concerns were raised with the shelter manager and direction provided as to how to eliminate such occurrences; however burns continue to be reported.Upon a recent visit, a Parvo outbreak was ongoing. A Parvo positive dog was removed from its kennel to be taken to the vet with direction from Provincial. In the dog’s absence, the staff did not disinfect, nor post warning signage on the door indicating a deadly disease was present. Due to this lack of oversight, an 8 week old puppy was placed into the vacated kennel and was directly exposed to parvo.Medical Health and Wellbeing:

Animals are not extensively examined on intake. They do not perform a physical examination of an animal on intake, nor does the branch record any information on the animal except what they put on their kennel cards. This lack of examination has led to nearly all animals not receiving the proper medical attention in regards to serious and/or chronic health problems and either being transferred to another branch or adopted out.
Staff is not trained in recognizing the change in behavior or health of an animal, especially in regards to Parvo or in the hydration of an animal. Usually, by the time the animal is diagnosed the prognosis for recovery is very poor and the animal is euthanized. In several instances, a Parvo suspected animal was euthanized without a parvo test being administered and was done based on observation only by shelter staff and management.
Staff is allowed, if an animal presents with clinical signs of URI, to administer medication without the direct supervision and support of a veterinarian. This constitutes practicing without a veterinarian license and is prohibited by the NSVMA Act.
When an animal is given medication, the dosage is not tracked for the individual animal separately and no medical log is kept.
The shelter does not log and record their medication inventory properly. The branch accepts donated medication prescribed to other animals without checking with a veterinarian.
The branch is suspected of performing euthanasia without sedating the animal first, which is contrary to policy and industry standards.
Once a feline presents with URI, the animal is not sequestered in an appropriate isolation area, as there is no isolation for feline or canine animals at their shelter, regardless of the severity or type of disease.
Staff does not perform Feline Leukemia testing on any of their cats prior to adoption.
Vaccine updates are performed ad hoc, sometimes not within the designated time required.
Staff does not perform daily rounds, nor do they record observations in a daily health check.
Weight is never monitored, even when an animal has been in their care for an extended period of time.
Staff is not sufficiently training to recognize pain or an animal emergency, nor do they provide prompt medical care in many cases, as observed by volunteers who frequent the building on a regular basis and by visiting staff members who have had to prompt medical care to be provided.
The shelter does not have an effective parasite control program. Animals do not normally receive fecals, even if their stool is loose and noticeably abnormal.

Please Note the following observations:

The Provincial Animal Shelter has routinely accepted animals from the branch that have chronic ear infections, coccidia, giardia and on occasion, parvo. These are animals that have never been seen by a veterinarian and have received no medical attention prior to arriving at the Provincial Animal Shelter. In every case, the branch has informed provincial that they were unaware of disease. If these animals had not come to the Provincial Animal Shelter and been seen by the CPV for treatment, they would have been adopted out to unsuspecting members of the public who would have either left the condition untreated themselves in ignorance, or would have had to accept the financial expense of treatment themselves.
A number of animals have arrived at the Provincial Animal Shelter with many types of health concerns or ailments such as benign and malignant growths, degenerative myelopathy and entropian eye repair.
Concerns have been voiced to the branch over the lack of medical care provided prior to arriving at the Provincial Animal Shelter. Medical concerns are not investigated by the branch and medical needs are not addressed.
Animals routinely arrive at the Provincial Animal Shelter with their coats in poor condition and/or underweight. When asked about the weight, the branch always indicate that the dog comes into their care in that condition; however it has been discovered that they do not weigh their animals on intake, nor do they go by the nutritional guidelines indicated on the food bag. Instead every animal gets mostly the same amount, a few cups in a medium sized bowl for the majority of dogs. They are only fed once a day, in the morning. If an animal’s food or water becomes contaminated it is often not replaced.At the present time, there is an entire room of cats that are currently presenting with URI, and they remain housed together free roaming. Because they are not being housed individually in isolation, there is no ability for staff to monitor the animal’s water or food intake. They are also not monitoring their temperature or weight (as no dog or cat scales exist in the building).
When provincial staff attended at the branch it was noticed that a few cats were open mouth breathing and another animal was extremely dehydrated. When inquiries were made as to whether they could administer SubQ fluids or know how to force feed if required (as it’s imperative that a cat does not stop eating for more then 2-3 days maximum) it was discovered that there are no staff in the building that are able to perform these functions, even though three of the staff have been working at the shelter for 10+ years.They have no written or verbal protocol for treatment of URI in felines or the knowledge or understanding of the severity and speed of decline and the need to monitor their health closely.
On many occasions, branch management has been offered the use of any number of standardized forms, protocols and procedures or anything else in regards to animal care that they may be interested in.
Additional training and mentorship has also been offered to staff, but it has been met with disinterest.
When instruction has been given to monitor animals more closely (performing an intake checklist and evaluation) management has agreed but never implemented the procedure fully.
At the last visit to the shelter, performance action was necessary to ensure that branch staff and management were adhering to published animal care policies. 4 weeks later, staff admitted that they still had not been presented with the policies by management see:

Response to Disease or Illness:The shelter currently has no dedicated cat isolation area anywhere in the building. They do have a small holding area (with approx. 3 dog kennels) for dogs, but considering the large number of dogs they accept, this is far from adequate to meet the 10% required by the Guideline standards.
The shelter has no known protocols to define or manage common illness, nor an adequate outbreak response for more serious disease outbreaks like Parvo.The shelter has no clear procedure to address disease control problems post adoption. Most individuals are either turned away or they are refused a refund.There is little professional supervision for the use of all prescription, controlled and off label drugs unless the animal was seen by a vet due to sickness or injury.
Protocols for the use of medications are not developed in consultation with a veterinarian.
Medical treatments are not documented for each individual animal.
Behavioral Health and Mental Well-Being:Animals are never evaluated or temperament tested prior to adoption.
Staff is not trained to recognize, nor do they record and monitor their behavior. The shelter has no enrichment programs for any animals, including those who are exhibiting stress or who are housed long term at their shelter.
There are no behaviour modification strategies designed or implemented for any dogs, nor do they have the capacity, knowledge or training to perform these tasks, though volunteer services have been offered.
Puppies are not given proper socialization or positive interactions with humans.
Staff rarely interacts with an animal directly unless it is related to the cleaning of their kennel.There are no training programs available or offered to adopters based on positive reinforcement.
Alternatives to traditional kenneling are not offered for animals housed long term.
Enrichment is not provided for animals while in their enclosures.

Please note the following observations:

Because animals are not temperament tested, this has led to many dogs coming to the Provincial Animal Shelter with food and resource guarding issues. Although these behaviour issues are trainable and not a reason to euthanize, there is a concern for public safety and safeguards need to be put in place to ensure that the public is educated to the best of the ability of shelter staff prior to adoption. The staff when questioned by provincial or volunteers on many occasions did not even seem to know the names of most of the dogs in their care.
There is absolutely no enrichment for the animals besides what is currently being provided by the volunteers at the shelter. They are not given any toys or enough outside exercise. Dogs are only put outside once a day, unless volunteers are present to take them out in the afternoon which is a direct policy violation of the Society’s authored standards of care


Euthanasia is performed by staff who have only received limited compassion fatigue training and no support services.

Please note the following observation:
The ability to euthanize animals directly should be removed from the branch’s responsibility and should be instead placed directly into the control of a veterinarian. The animal should be sedated prior to euthanizing and the animal should be provided a greater measure of dignity in the process.

Spaying and Neutering:The shelter does not require its animals to be altered prior to adoption, and instead use a rebate to cover a portion of the costs.

Animal Transportation:
No issues noted.

Public Health:

The shelter does not have a current OH&S program and is not adhering to the provincial OH&S policy.
The shelter does not have enough hand sanitizer or hand washing stations in their building and do not have any hand washing stations in any of their animal rooms.They do not clearly mark cages with animals known to be aggressive or potentially aggressive and allow members of the public to enter their main dog kennel room without staff supervision.
The branch houses dogs from all components of their operations, including animal control in the same room while giving members of the public unsupervised access.Behavioural concerns are not documented, and in most cases they are unaware as they do not temperament test so they do not have the ability to discuss these concerns with potential adopters.