November 5, 2014 6:16 pm
Updated: November 5, 2014 6:34 pm

New regulations for animals to come into effect Dec. 1

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MONCTON, N.B. – A few weeks ago, a black dog came into the Greater Moncton SPCA with a large scar, encircling its neck. It was a sure sign that it had spent most of its life tethered.
 “We see dogs that have lived their whole life on a chain,” Nanette Pearl, Director of Animal Welfare at the Greater Moncton SPCA said. “We aren’t able to understand the point of having a dog, if that’s all its life is going to be.”
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The dog, which doesn’t have a name, also has wounds on his back, and fight wounds and abscesses on its neck and muzzle. Pearl said typically dogs that have been tethered also suffer from psychological issues, though fortunately, this dog still continues to be friendly.
“They have a hard time trusting,” she said. “There can be aggression issues. There can be fearfulness, lack of socialization.”

The dog is not ready to adopt yet and neither is another one that is currently part of an abuse investigation but Pearl said she hopes both will be ready one day. There is also hope that new provincial regulations will cut back on the amount of abuse the SPCA sees.

Starting on December 1, it will be illegal to tether a dog between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. New Brunswick is the first province to enact tethering laws.

The changes also give new powers to the SPCA to take action before the animal’s health is impacted. Currently, officers have to wait until there is physical evidence of abuse, before they can seize an animal.

Other changes include increasing the penalty for failing to have a dog vaccinated for rabies, and increase the fine for having a dog running at large in rural areas.

Pearl said it is illegal and dangerous to have a dog running lose, because it could be injured or harm another animal or person. But the current fine of $10 makes it hard to enforce the law. The new fine will be $140.

The New Brunswick SPCA is responsible for enforcing the animal protection regulations, and during a phone interview Wednesday, executive director Hilary Howes admitted the changes will put a strain on their resources, as officers will have to work at night and be doubled up in some cases for safety.

The complaints-based program is run entirely on donations. They usually receive about 3,000 calls a year with about 25 officers in the province responding, but they expect the number of calls to increase.

Nicole Thebeau, president of the Kent County Animal Rescue has been lobbying the government for years to toughen the regulations. She has been rescuing animals for nine years, but said the new regulations are not enough although a step in the right direction.

“If you need to prove it, put your video camera out at 11 o’clock and tape it,” she said. “Or take pictures or mark the hours down, or something.”

The New Brunswick SPCA maintains a 24-hour tip line for animal abuse, with service offered in both English and French. The number is 1-877-722-1522 and tips can be left anonymously.

 

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