A total of 46 dogs, consisting of American Eskimo, Husky, Border Collie and Samoyed-cross breeds, are receiving veterinary care in Kelowna, Penticton and Quesnel after being seized from a property near Williams Lake

A total of 46 dogs, consisting of American Eskimo, Husky, Border Collie and Samoyed-cross breeds, are receiving veterinary care in Kelowna, Penticton and Quesnel after being seized from a property near Williams Lake

22,000 abused, abandoned animals rescued by the BC SPCA in 2018

Animal abuse and neglect cases highlighted by the BC SPCA from 2018

This year the BC SPCA rescued about 22,000 abused, abandoned or neglected animals and completed about 15,000 adoptions.

The animal welfare organization also assisted about 49,000 animals across the province, slightly more than last year.

According to Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer for the BC SPCA, this year’s challenges faced by the non-profit were once again focused around animal hoarding.

“It’s a tragic situation all-around, due to the mental health challenges faced by the animal owner, living conditions for the animals’ owner is often as bad as the living conditions faced by the animals themselves,” she explained.

“It really takes a huge toll on our constables, on our staff and our volunteers to take care of these animals due to the volume in which these animals arrive at our shelters.”

Hoarding issue in Penticton

A case that highlights neglect due to hoarding is that of the 164 cats surrendered in Penticton, this past fall.

In September the South Okanagan-Similkameen BC SPCA took in 64 cats and kittens from one individual, that same person then surrendering another 100 felines in October, bringing the total to 164.

Moriarty does see a flip side to the situation when shelters take in such large numbers of animals. She said it shows the non-profit’s capacity to be able to accommodate the animals. As a province-wide charity, the BC SPCA has the ability to transfer animals between its different locations.

Communities come together

Communities across B.C. have come together in more ways than one to support animals over this past year, said Moriarty.

“Year-after-year, we see a growing response from people when we see these larger rescue cases and it’s heart-warming.”

In February more than 45 dogs were seized by the BC SPCA from a half-acre property north of Williams Lake on Highway 97. The dogs were placed in the care of several shelters throughout the province, including Kelowna which took in 20 of the animals.

At the time Kelowna branch manager Sean Hogan said the shelter usually only has at the most eight dogs in their care at a time and so having the 20 dogs demanded more work and attention by staff and volunteers.

The dogs, which were a mix of American Eskimo, Husky, Border Collie and Samoyed-cross breeds, had a range of behavioural issues, which included signs of anxiety and fear.

However, the community of Williams Lake, where the dogs were seized from, heard Kelowna’s call for help and a group of volunteers jumped into action.

Self-described dog lover Gale Lamothe put a message out on social media asking for help to sew several dozen dog beds. Volunteers from 150 Mile House, Williams Lake and McLeese Lake replied and set to work completing more than 50 dog beds in 13 hours. The beds along with food and supplies were then trucked up to Kelowna and donated to the BC SPCA.

“Animals seem to reach out to people, in the most vulnerable spot where they want to take care of them and the Williams Lake dogs are a perfect example of this,” said Moriarty.

Terry Baker, the man whom the BC SPCA seized the dogs from, has been formally charged with two counts of animal cruelty.

Wildfire season 2018

Community support is what Moriarty believes keeps everyone going at the BC SPCA, and that couldn’t be truer than during wildfire season.

“We were able to band together as communities to provide a safety net for animals and their people,” she said. “But, [the wildfire season] also shows the dire need to formalize a provincial approach to dealing with these animals in these circumstances and that is something the BC SPCA is currently working on.”

Last year, the BC SPCA worked to rescue animals from the threat of wildfire in the Cariboo region while this summer the northern part of the province and Prince George was the focus. Constables not only evacuated animals from homes and farms, but many stayed with the animals that could not be evacuated providing round-the-clock care.

“When we are looking at how to plan for these emergency situations, to ignore animals is at our peril because it has been demonstrated that people delay or are hesitant to leave their homes in emergencies if they have to leave their animals behind,” explained Moriarty. “We are looking forward to really working with both the province and municipality on the area of animal care during emergencies.”

Happy endings can come true for animals in care

This year was also filled with rescues that ended in the animals finding loving homes – even when the odds of surviving the trauma were stacked against them.

A two-year-old boxer, now named Cedric, was found “grossly underweight, with a body condition score of only one out of nine” when he was rescued from a Vancouver property in February.

The emaciated boxer was suffering from pressure sores and injuries due to a foreign object lodged in his intestines.

Following surgeries to repair the damage, which cost an estimated $9,000, the boxer was on the road to recovering in what veterinarians called a miracle.

Cedric is now been adopted by a new family. Two Vancouverites have also been charged in their alleged roles in Cedric’s suffering.

What’s next

Looking ahead to 2019, the BC SPCA will be building on their strategic plan and how to better protect vulnerable animals and people.

“We want to enhance our protection and our care and inspire our communities to be more humane,” said Moriarty.

The BC SPCA has sought experts in the area of animal hoarding to assist them in developing a strategy to prevent the cases or more effectively deal with them when they arise.

“We need to do a better job a looking at what will prevent these types of instances from happening and what type of punishments will stop the cycle of abuse, what is most effective.”

The types of charges that can be laid against animal abusers do vary between hoarding situations and neglect, such as the case with Karin and Catherine Adams in Quesnel – chronic offenders who currently had a 20-year ban on owning animals.

“They have no regard for the animals and they are jumping provinces, and those are the cases that I absolutely want charges and convictions and bans on owning animals, and harsh penalties which include incarceration.”

This would stand for the case of Teddy, the dog in Duncan who died from severe neglect.

“There is no excuse for that,” said Morality. “But, if you want to look at a silver lining it really did bring that community together, and provide an opportunity in the community to look for better support from within.”

The case mobilized animal rights groups, with numerous rallies and a call for changes to animal rights laws. Protesters have been stationed peacefully outside the Duncan courthouse on most of Joe and Melissa Tooshley’s court dates, regardless of if they were in attendance or not.

Othere cases highlighted by the BC SPCA this year:


@Jen_zee
jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

YEAR 2018

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elsie Hellstrom (top left), Mary Gjernes (top right), Stan Moore (bottom left) and Evelina Walter all celebrated their birthdays this month. All photos courtesy of Brittany Siemens.
Mission seniors residence celebrates 4 centenarian birthdays this month

Special party honouring a combined 405 years of life held on Jan. 25

A Chilliwack driver’s vehicle was impounded for seven days after an excessive speeding violation. (RCMP photo)
RCMP catch Chilliwack driver doing 60 km/h over posted speed limit

The motorist was hit with a big ticket and a seven day vehicle impoundment

Abbotsford Police is investigating after bullet casings were found following a shots fired call at the intersection of Purcell Avenue and Wells Gray Avenue on Tuesday night. (File photo)
Bullet casings found after shots-fired call in Abbotsford on Tuesday

Abbotsford Police Department seeking witnesses and CCTV footage following shooting

UFV assistant kinesiology professor Dr. Iris Lesser exercises along Chilliwack's Vedder Rotary Trail with her daughter Kaia. (UFV photo)
UFV study finds women with reduced physical activity had more mental health struggles during COVID pandemic

The study suggested women suffered more than men as gyms, parks and playgrounds shut down

Hatzic Middle school has had the most COVID-19 exposures in the district. File photo.
COVID-19 exposure at Hatzic Middle

Exposure occurred on Jan. 19

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Driver crashes vehicle twice in one day near Princeton

Abbotsford woman, 29, wasn’t injured in either incident

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read