Outrage is spreading across Vancouver Island and online after a pig that was adopted from the BC SPCA was killed and eaten by the people who adopted her.
Molly, a three-year-old Vietnamese potbelly pig, came to the SPCA’s Cowichan & District branch as part of a cruelty investigation. She was taken care of and nursed back to health by the staff and was finally adopted by a couple in Duncan on Jan. 19.
Then it was discovered that on Feb. 16, Molly had been killed and eaten.
LISTEN: The woman who discovered what happened to Molly the pig
Brandee McKee, who lives on Vancouver Island and also owns a pet pig, discovered what happened to Molly through friends and word spreading online.
She says the owners realized they did not know how to properly take care of Molly and that’s when they made the decision to slaughter her for food.
She says she is outraged that Molly’s owners aren’t facing any charges.
“Had this been a cat or a dog there probably would have been charges,” she says.
However, the BC SPCA says that is not necessarily the case.
“Because animals are considered property under the law, once an adoption agreement is made, that person is the full legal owner of that animal, whether it’s a dog, or a cat, or a pig or whatever so the minute the adoption is signed we lose all legal rights to that animal,” explains Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA. “The new person has all legal rights to that animal.”
“The reality is, it’s not illegal to kill your own animal in Canada. Someone can take a gun and shoot their dog in the head and as long as the dog dies instantly, unfortunately there’s no law against that.”
Chortyk says the BC SPCA did send constables to the property to investigate the matter and ascertain the animal was killed humanely.
“Unless an animal is left to suffer, there’s absolutely no laws whatsoever that would allow us to do anything,” she adds. “So it’s not that we wouldn’t do anything necessarily, it’s that there’s no route.”
McKee says Molly’s owners snapchatted photos and videos of seasoning the meat and preparing it to eat.
“Why wasn’t it returned, why didn’t they re-home it, why wasn’t there charges being pressed,” says McKee. “That’s the sickening part of it all, that they’re getting away with it.”
“The pigs were placed there as pets to be adopted.”
Chortyk says staff at the Cowichan branch are heartbroken by what happened to Molly.
“We would never adopt out an animal to be used for food,” she says. “So there’s quite a thorough adoption matching and discussion and counselling and that kind of thing. So this was the whole focus of the adoption counselling. They said, ‘Yes, this was going to be a pet, going to live on a farm, this is what we’re doing. They actually, put in writing that, ‘No, I will never use this animal for food’.”
“Staff in Cowichan, they’re just devastated. They really did do everything they could and should have done.”
McKee says maybe the laws in Canada surrounding animals need to be changed.
“I know it’s not the SPCA’s fault as to what happened, you can’t control anybody,” she says. “But what is the process, that’s what we need to look at.”
McKee adds potbelly pig meat is not meant to be eaten. “Their meat is not designed for that, their diet would be different,” she says, adding that if Molly had all her shots then eating that meat would not be a good idea.
“When they’re on a farm they’re vaccinated in order to live on a farm and be farm produced. A pet, we all vaccinate differently.”
Chortyk says Molly would have received all her shots at the SPCA branch before being adopted out but it’s not clear if she had any further vaccinations.
READ MORE: BC SPCA calls for vets to ban cat declawing
She confirms that the man who adopted Molly has been marked in the BC SPCA database as never being allowed to adopt any animal from them for the rest of his life.
“This gentleman, we’re certainly very devastated by what he did, but he didn’t do anything illegal,” says Chortyk.
“We have a very thorough adoption process, we received assurances verbally and in writing that this was going to be a pet and would not be, specifically, this would never be used for food,” she adds.
“We got assurances but it’s not legally binding.We have no say unless there’s a case where animal cruelty laws are being violated then absolutely, we can intervene.”
“I’ve been here 17 years, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of this happening.”
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