The BC SPCA will be recommending charges of animal cruelty against Mountain View Conservation Centre following a six-week investigation into the care of giraffes at the Fort Langley facility. Marcie Moriarty, head of the BC SPCA’s Cruelty Investigations Department, said the SPCA is waiting for necropsy results and will submit its recommendation to Crown counsel within the next few weeks, as soon as all necropsy and toxicology reports are available. Three giraffes have died at the facility, including Jerome, an adult male who died on Feb. 5 after being sedated for a hoof-trimming procedure.
“The BC SPCA first responded to a complaint about Mountain View Conservation Centre on November 23, 2009 and immediately issued an order to trim Jerome’s hooves. “This procedure would normally require a squeeze – a standard piece of equipment that the centre should have had available, but did not,” said Moriarty. “Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act we are required to give animal owners a ‘reasonable time’ to comply with an order. In this case we gave Mountain View four weeks to comply with the order to trim Jerome’s hooves.”
Moriarty said the SPCA made a number of follow up visits to Mountain View resulting in further orders being issued in December and January regarding the giraffes and other species. “During this time two giraffes died during a December cold snap and Jerome’s condition appeared to be deteriorating, resulting in the SPCA issuing yet another order to Mountain View. “Mountain View’s failure to ensure that they were adequately equipped to look after animals in their care resulted in this tragedy,” said Moriarty. “This is just unacceptable.” She notes that because the case involved exotic wild animals the SPCA had no choice but to leave the animals at Mountain View during the investigation.
“This is a perfect example of why the BC SPCA fought so hard last year to see new, stricter regulations passed in B.C. regarding the trafficking and keeping of exotic animals,” said Moriarty. “When a facility like Mountain View acquires giraffes and other exotic species they have a legal and moral responsibility to provide proper care, equipment and facilities. This investigation was extremely frustrating for the SPCA because in other animal cruelty cases we can step in and seize an animal if orders are not followed, but with an exotic animal we don’t have that capacity. In this case, we believe Mountain View’s failure to provide proper care resulted in deaths that were preventable.” The BC SPCA will be forwarding a recommendation for charges against the facility in the next few weeks.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.