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RECYCLED LOVE: A win for animals

Our girl Porsche was a former breeding dog in Nova Scotia.
Our girl Porsche was a former breeding dog in Nova Scotia. - Contributed

Last month was a game-changer for most animal advocates after three local puppy mill seizures.

Those seizures also tipped the scales in how the public view responsible dog-breeding versus dog-harvesting. Bad breeding has been a long-fought crusade for anyone involved in animal advocacy. As a result of the horrific local news, the public now understands what is happening in our communities.

The largest confiscation of dogs happened in Wolfville, where the dogs were living and breeding in deplorable conditions. After a lengthy and heartbreaking investigation, the SPCA was able to seize and save many of the dogs.

In the aftermath of the gruesome seizure the outpouring of support for the SPCA elevated the situation to a state of euphoria because the dogs were safe, but the unthinkable happened. The owner of the breeding facility applied to have her dogs returned through the Animal Welfare Appeal Board. This lone step in the seizure process has caused much speculation, confusion and even anger; therefore, it needs to be clarified.

Sean Kelly, past president of the Nova Scotia SPCA, shone the light on why the board was created and its sole purpose.

“The SPCA did not create the board, the NSGOV did. The board was designed to ensure that the SPCA did not abuse its authority by using a seizure as a punishment. In a few cases, animals got seized, and the case either did not proceed, or the accused was found guilty, and the case took a year or more to get to trial. The intent was that a group of professionals would judge if it is safe for the animal to go back to the owner for the period up until the trial. The SPCA can only seize for one of two reasons: 1. To gather evidence that a crime has been committed or 2. Because the owner's abuse/neglect is such that it would be neglectful for the Crown/SPCA to leave the animal in the situation.”

The Animal Welfare Appeal Board must set a date for a hearing within 10 days after receiving the application or notice for appeal. The board must give their oral decision within two days after the hearing and written reasons for the decision within 10 business days

The Animal Welfare Appeal Board held a public hearing regarding the Wolfville seizure and ruled the dogs would not be returned to the owner, who has also been charged with two counts of animal cruelty which will be heard in a provincial court.

The SPCA diligently followed the rules and regulations during the recent investigation, just like they have with past inspections. If you sat through the heartbreaking testimony during the Animal Welfare Appeal Board hearing this month, your respect and admiration for the SPCA must have quadrupled.

Please be kind to animals.

Tracy Jessiman writes the weekly column Recycled Love and is proud to be a “voice for those with no choice.” Reach her at recycledlove@me.com. 

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