Animal protection in Canada might be going for a toss due to a form of behavior by the Animal Cruelty Appeal Board which is getting common as time passes. The SPCA working in states of Canada has been plagued by the attitude of the board which does not seem to care for the genuine welfare of the animals. Many times the decisions of the board have favored the pet owners who were held responsible for cruelty by returning them the animals rescued by SPCA.
A recent development has brought the subject into the limelight once again in Nova Scotia where the SPCA was forced by the board to return 2 dogs to their owner. Duncan Sinclair of Falmouth had 19 dogs in residence out of which 6 were found in poor condition. SPCA acted on the basis of a public complaint and inspected his property while he was not there. They rescued the 6 dogs who were suffering from various conditions like severe matting while some were not even able to walk properly. Pus like fluid was also found to be coming out of the face of few dogs.
SPCA also alleged that Sinclair did not even provide basic care like deworming or vaccinations to any of the 19 dogs because of financial difficulties. He is known to breed the dogs for his financial income though that is not a crime if all animals are properly taken care of. Sinclair was charged for being responsible for the distress of animals and not providing them required healthcare when they were under his ownership. The charges are scheduled to be settled in October later this year in the courts.
Sinclair filed an appeal with the Animal Cruelty Appeal Board which saw 2 dogs returned to him in a matter of few days. Jo-Anne Landsburg, chief inspector of SPCA in Nova Scotia is alarmed by the pattern of behavior set up by the board. According to her, there had been other cases in the past where the board put the interest of the owners over the welfare of the animals by ordering their return. There were around 6 cases where the board ruled in favor of the owners till now. She is also concerned that the decision of the board can have some impact on the court ruling due for October.
SPCA has to prove that the dogs were indeed in such distressed conditions at that time. Out of the 4 dogs, three are planned to be put up for adoption while the fourth one has to be euthanized because of his dire conditions. Other 3 dogs need to undergo comprehensive surgeries which will also include the treatment of cleft palates. Animal activists are hoping that Sinclair gets charged for his treatment of the dogs in court.
The federal government in Canada has released a plan for the protection of the caribou population of the country which was released last week. The development comes following the legal action initiated by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society against the environment minister Catherine McKenna. In the lawsuit, they charged the government for not being transparent and holding information about the status of caribou protection. The minister should have submitted reports on the particular caribou herds which are unprotected to create transparency in the system.
But what comes from the government lacks credibility and does not answer the concerns raised by the environment group. The plan still does not leave any room for disclosing if the caribou herds are protected and the steps taken for their protection.
Instead, it lays down the objectives and timeline for caribou recovery for the provincial and federal governments. It is noted in the plan that the provincial and territorial governments are primarily responsible for the regions where caribou populations can be traced.
The provincial governments would be in control to develop suitable protection plans for each particular range under them and carry them out. It also provides room for extensive research and the ways of implementation of plans are a priority for further studies.
According to the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, the plan released by the government will not tell the citizens about the steps taken to conserve the herds that are not already covered by any kind of protection. The first step for an effective conservation program is identifying whether protection is required and then reporting the progress of the process to determine the results. But the plan lacks this aspect and seems to come in a hurry from the government.
The Canada’s 51 woodland caribou population has been declining by over 80% according to a 2015 federal assessment. It is predicted that the population will face the further decline of 30% in the coming years. There are various reasons for the situation including loss of habitat, wildfires, forestry and energy projects. The extent of each of the threats needs to be determined before protection plans could be worked out for them.
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society is determined to continue their legal proceeding against the federal government until they are fully satisfied by the efforts. According to a spokesperson of the organization, there are several gaps still existing in the plan and it does not really seem to be a genuine effort by the government.
Also, not all states are able to comply with the plan. Alberta Environment and Parks in Ottawa have their own local range plans for the communities which have been found to produce better results. It also has to be noted that each local range in different and a single solution for conservation is not possible.