The New Brunswick Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is hoping to raise awareness around animal protection after a shocking case of animal cruelty grabbed New Brunswickers’ attention earlier this year.
A Woodstock, N.B., man was sentenced to a year in jail for deserting his dog, Diesel, in his rented house. The dog died of starvation, and 27-year-old Kyle Springer was given twice the jail term recommended by the Crown.
“There is, surprisingly, still a lot of neglect and abuse going on in the province so we’re working really hard to try to put an end to that,” said Olivia Justason, deputy chief animal protection officer for the New Brunswick SPCA.
Extreme cases like this have led the province’s SPCA to spread awareness about its services and the partnerships that assist the SPCA in rescuing and housing domestic, exotic and agricultural animals and fish.
Some of the organization’s rescue stories sound like fiction.
“We tended a house that had 184 cats that were taken out,” said Tony Porter, chief animal protection officer with the N.B. SPCA.
The SPCA ensures that shelter is provided for neglected or abused animals, and it enforces provincial and federal laws pertaining to animal protection. SPCA officers are designated as peace officers, which means they carry the same power as police to enforce provincial legislation in regards to animal cruelty. SPCA officers can also place people under arrest.
In 2018, the N.B. SPCA obtained and executed 14 entry warrants compared to three entry warrants in 2017. These warrants allow SPCA officers to access a private dwelling for the purpose of rescuing an animal.
Annually, the SPCA gets around 3,200 animal protection and control calls.
The 23 officers of the organization work alongside social development, police, veterinarians and animal shelters.
“Everyone plays a really big part in this. We do the stuff on the road. We do all the legal, the court documents. We’re the ones in courts charging people over it, but when we pick up the animals, we often need to take them for vet care, we need to take them to the shelter, and then they take on the responsibility for the animal,” said Justason.
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When animals are seized, they’re taken to one of 11 SPCA shelters around the province.
“We take in about 1,000 animals a year, and probably about 50 percent of those, I would say, or a little bit higher are from the New Brunswick SPCA,” said Tracy Marcotullio, manager of the Oromocto SPCA.
The SPCA has revamped its website and added educational materials. This fall, officers will visit schools to educate students on proper domestic animal care.