The Nova Scotia SPCA has announced it plans to suspend investigations of animal cruelty as of April 1.
SPCA executive director Kristen Williams told the Vanguard that without core funding from the province to fund the enforcement program, it cannot continue to provide enforcement services.
“There is just no money left to fund this program. It can’t be supported by fundraising.”
The Nova Scotia SPCA is mandated by legislation to enforce animal cruelty laws, but only receives $3,000 from the Department of Agriculture each year. Last year Williams said it cost around $230,000 to operate the enforcement program province-wide. At year’s end the SPCA was looking at a $100,000 deficit from the enforcement side of its services. Last fall, the SPCA made a request for $100,000 annually as a stop-gap measure to preserve the SPCA’s enforcement program. The province rejected the request and Williams says there has been no counter-offer.
"The SPCA continues to be a willing and able partner," Williams said.
The agency received 18,000 complaints of animal cruelty, neglect or abuse and investigated 1,632 cases involving 5,084 animals in 2012.
If the SPCA stops providing enforcement services, responsibility for enforcing the act will fall to the police and the Department of Agriculture. Williams says they are the only other authorities with the power to enforce animal cruelty laws.
“We would like to continue to provide enforcement, but we simply do not have the means at this time,” she said.
The organization will continue to provide cruelty prevention services through its network of shelters throughout the province.