Out of the frying pan?

From this morning’s Chronicle Herald
Dog locked in box, thrown into pond Hunters in Cape Breton find pooch, turn him over to SPCA By PATRICIA BROOKS ARENBURG Staff Reporter Sat. Nov 15 – 5:30 AM
There’s one lucky dog in Cape Breton right now.
A little terrier escaped a watery grave Monday, thanks to two hunters in the woods of Edwardsville.
“They thought they heard a splash and then they heard a dog cry, so they went over to this pond and there was a box in the pond,” said Ken Manning, an animal cruelty investigator with the Cape Breton SPCA.
As the men got closer, “they could hear the dog, so they got a stick and they pulled the box out of the pond and then they called us.”
The dog had already clawed and chewed a hole in the side of the plywood box when the hunters retrieved it from the water, Mr. Manning said. But the men couldn’t free the dog because the box was screwed shut and neither man had a screwdriver.
The SPCA, which also does animal control for Cape Breton Regional Municipality, picked up the dog in the box and took it to the shelter, where it was freed from its would-be coffin.
“He’s traumatized,” Mr. Manning said of the pooch. “The first day or so, he was really scared and snappy but now he’s OK, you can pat him and everything and walk him on a leash.”
The dog is a male, has white and grey wiry fur and a blue collar with no name tag. He stands 30 to 35 centimetres high and “weighs less than a bag of potatoes,” Mr. Manning said.
The dog didn’t appear to be injured but was missing a bit of fur on his back, though that could be due to a flea allergy, he said.
The SPCA is now looking for anyone who knows the dog, its owner or the origin of the box. “The box is well-made,” Mr. Manning said. “It’s done by someone that knows carpentry.”
The plywood box was about 35 centimetres wide, 35 centimetres deep and 60 centimetres high. Grooves were cut into the plywood to ensure a tight fit at the corners. It also had some kind of character on the box, possibly Lisa Simpson from the cartoon The Simpsons. It also had a word scrawled across the top. Mr. Manning, who was speaking from his Sydney home Friday night, said it meant “for life,” and was possibly spelled “joggqom.”
The two hunters who found the dog came by the Sydney shelter earlier this week to see how he was doing, Mr. Manning said.
The dog is not up on the shelter’s adoption floor, because he’s being held as evidence for the time being.
Those responsible for the pup could face charges under the Criminal Code for causing unnecessary suffering and further charges under the Nova Scotia Animal Protection Act. “This was done deliberately,” Mr. Manning said. “And there was no need of it because the shelter is there. If they brought the animal in and they didn’t have any money to leave the animal, we wouldn’t refuse them.”

There is no way to justify an act of cruelty like that. Even the fact that its common knowledge that the Cape Breton SPCA Branch is a high kill shelter still doesn’t justify that.
Or is is it common knowledge? Does the Cape Breton Regional municipality know whats happening in their own backyard? Or are they simply turning a blind eye as long as the voters and taxpayers in the municipality don’t complain?
The other day I read an article in the Cape Breton post about therapy dogs being used to promote reading programs at the North Sydney Library, so I find it hard to believe that nobody in the CBRM gives a hoot about what happens to the animals.
Still its easier to turn an blind eye than to have to invest money and energy in a solution. The CB branch does double duty as AC for the CBRM. For them to acknowledge the problem would obligate them to address it. Do they need a bigger shelter? Or a more central location? Or training?
Should the shelter even be considered a SPCA branch in light of its activities? I rather doubt that the original animal lovers who fundraised to get a branch open were hoping for the situation they have now.
We all know that for many years, it was common practice to have high kill shelters. Nobody liked the idea, but until the dawn of the No Kill Movement it was thought to be one of those horrible fact of life things – in the same way industrial polution was regarded as an unfortunate necessity.
We know better know. We know there is a better way. There are good role models out there that are the apple of the eye of the animal loving community.
There has never been a better time to try to raise the consciousness of the animal lovers in the CBRM.
Four years ago, they were still shooting stray dogs just down the road from here. I lived half an hour away, and like most other residents, I had no idea this was happening. Four years ago it came to the limelight and as a result, CAPS was formed and the rest is history.
There will be no effective solution to the difficulties with the Cape Breton Branch from ‘away” Without strong community support for a new path, the CB branch will keep going its merry old way.
The society does have the power to take away their branch status. Would that address the problem? Not even close, unless one is prepared to abandon the CB homeless animals to the ‘wolves’.
A public awareness campaign for CB could be launched, to coincide with the opening of the new Pets Unlimited store in the Mayflower Mall next month. ( Remember that here in the valley, when the whole shooting the dogs story came to light, people immediately responded to their politicians and the shooting stopped, almost overnight.)
There could be no more important education project than this. Its time to take the blinders off and see if there is enough power of love for the animals in cape breton to overcome the love of power by a few.

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