Monday’s arrest of a Winnipeg woman after an eight-month-old kitten was allegedly stabbed in her care is a disturbing situation, the president of the Winnipeg Humane Society says.
Jessica Miller told 680 CJOB her organization deals with all sorts of calls about animal welfare, but this one was particularly rough to hear about.
The kitten was taken to a veterinary hospital after being recovered by police, but its injuries were so severe that it had to be put down.
Police said Tuesday that they believe substance abuse was a factor in the situation.
“I was very saddened to hear of this incident,” Miller said.
“Although we do see a lot at the Winnipeg Humane Society, this is certainly not something we see often.”
Miller said the number of calls the humane society has been receiving about animal welfare is on the rise, with more than 2,000 calls last year to their investigations and emergency response line last year — a trend that appears to be continuing in 2022.
“In August alone we were at a 24 per cent increase of animal welfare concern calls, and that has been on a constant increase on a month-over-month basis, and we’re at an all-time high,” she said.
“This doesn’t necessarily mean these incidents have been proven, because of course it goes through the court system … but it means people are seeing something and they’re calling us about it, and that’s also troubling.”
Miller said the WHS employs animal protection officers who are able to execute the Animal Care Act — meaning if someone is making a purposeful choice to harm an animal, they can be charged — but there’s a catch. Legally, she said, in Canada animals are considered property under the Criminal Code, which complicates the situation.
“I think if we could ultimately change the way animals were seen through the Criminal Code, we may have more opportunities to litigate.”
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