In mid-September, the BC SPCA received a report from the RCMP regarding an individual in possession of animals possibly in distress who was squatting on Crown land in the Kootenays. This individual, who had several animals with them, was believed to have been charged with animal cruelty numerous times in the past. An investigation was opened to determine how many animals were involved and the extent of their living conditions.
BC SPCA animal protection officers attended the camp and, with the assistance of RCMP officers, were able to confirm the identity of the individual and that they have been banned for life from owning animals in other provinces. All the animals on site, including nine dogs and two cats, were living near piles of rotting flesh from deer and elk and did not have access to adequate shelter. Each was tied to a nearby tree with limited food and only dirty water available to them. Many of the tethers were tangled together.
“It is truly infuriating to see the complete disregard for animal welfare from this individual,” says Eileen Drever, senior officer, protection and stakeholder relations for the BC SPCA. “If someone is truly struggling to care for their pets, we have supports and programs in place that can benefit both the animal and the guardian. But this situation is very different. This is willfully choosing, again and again, to let animals suffer without any care at all for their wellbeing.”
The dogs and cats were removed and taken immediately to a veterinarian. Many were exhibiting health concerns related to the poor conditions they were living in including ear and urinary tract infections, signs of other infections, matted coats and fur laden with tree sap. In addition, the animals were under socialized and fearful.
“Our resources are already stretched very thin right now with a remarkable number of animals looking for families to love and provide for them,” explains Drever. “It really puts a strain on the society when we are also dealing with repeat offenders like this who are consistently putting animals at risk. We will be recommending charges against this individual.”