The Proof of the Pudding

From this morning’s Herald
SPCA seizes 89 cats, dogs
By DAVENE JEFFREY and EVA HOARE Staff ReportersThu. Jun 25 – 4:46 AM
Three of the two dozen dogs and puppies seized in Guysborough County look up from their enclosure at the SPCA in Burnside on Wednesday. (Tim Krochak / Staff)

Nova Scotia SPCA officers seized 89 animals — 64 cats and 25 dogs — from two homes in Port Felix on Wednesday in a case that the agency believes is “animal hoarding.”
That is where “people collect animals and they don’t have the money to spay and neuter the animals, so they breed out of control and the numbers get absolutely overwhelming for them,” said SPCA president Sean Kelly.
Mr. Kelly said officers executed a search warrant at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday on the two Guysborough County houses following an investigation that was based on a complaint.
The two houses are owned by Christine DeYoung and an adult daughter. It’s too early in the probe to determine whether anyone from the family will be charged, Mr. Kelly said.
Some of the animals appeared to be worse for wear, he said in an interview. The animals were still being examined late Wednesday by vets at the SPCA’s facility in Burnside.
“The cats are in fairly rough shape. They look like there’s quite a few genetic abnormalities,” Mr. Kelly said. “As of now, the dogs are very unsocialized and some do have medical issues.”
On CBC-TV, officers equipped with breathing masks were shown carrying animals out of the house. Mr. Kelly said the ammonia levels inside were extremely high.
“Anytime that you have a high number (of animals) you get ammonia through the urine and feces of the animals,” he said.
But Ms. DeYoung said the place would have smelled fine if the SPCA had held off until after lunch.
“The boxes were cleaned in the morning, at dinner time, suppertime and at night time.”
The officers caught the two women by surprise, she said.
“I was all worked up. I didn’t know what to do.”
She was left with three dogs. All her cats are gone.
“I’ve got mice,” she said.
Most of the cats were kept in a house about a 10 to 15 minute walk down the road. The building was not fit for people to live in, but it was fine for the cats, Ms. DeYoung said.
“I always had animals all my life,” she said. “I always took care of the animals and made sure they were well fed.”
Mr. Kelly said the SPCA will make every attempt to save the animals that were seized.
Like anyone else who saw the footage on the news last night, I would beg to differ about the idea that substandard accommodations can be acceptable for animals. The lyrics might sound good in a song, but the truth of the matter is that love is not all cats and dogs need.
Shelters that use proper cleaning protocols for their vet checked, vaccinated and altered cats can still be vulnerable to a variety of viruses. Populations can balloon when animals aren’t altered. When the numbers exceed what their guardians have time for daily one on one with, the animals cease being pets and become animals that are simply being fed. ( I wouldn’t use the term livestock because most farmers understand the need for clean accommodations)
That being said … what are people to do when the strays start showing up?

  • not every area of the province has a TNR group
  • existing TNR groups without municipal funding can ‘waste’ most of the season trying to fundraise to pay down existing vet bills
  • vets that offer discounts to TNR groups sometimes place limits on the amount of that work they are willing to do
  • the concept of TNR is neither widely known, nor understood by many residents of this province.
  • even in areas where there is municipal funding for TNR, many of the local residents are unaware that it is available
  • TNR groups work on a shoestring and have to set boundaries on their work. Most will not assist with tame strays who will become housepets.
  • existing low cost spay neuter assistance is not well publicized. I’ve lived in Kings County for 22 years and had no idea the Kings County SPCA offered assistance with altering until I read it in annual report on the provincial society site. ( When I queried the branch about it , they felt it was sufficiently promoted through the local animal clinics, yet I have yet to meet anyone with pets who knew about it)
  • most spay neuter assistance is just that, assistance and doesn’t acknowledge the reality that if a person cannot afford the surgery, a twenty five or fifty dollar discount isn’t going to make it an achievable objective

Its not humane to let them starve and its not humane to let them reproduce unchecked and its definitely not humane to dump/drown/shoot/smother or take to the vet to be killed. Clearly we need a new path.

I saw a cute cartoon in the Herald the other day, where our new Premier was asking if anyone had seen his “I didn’t know the finances were in such bad shape speech” Before the summer is out, our new government will have their financial game plan well fleshed out.

What time is it? Even if the house isn’t sitting, its time to let our new government know that we can’t afford NOT to provide the resources to address this problem. If you don’t have the addresses already, you can find the contact info for all MembersConstituencies by clicking on the link. If you wish to lend the support of your voice to the efforts being made by SPCANS on this issue, the appropriate email is

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