The problem with thinking inside the box …..

I am a middle-aged grandmother … not a guy with a knacky new cellphone or carpentry tool!   What does that mean in realspeak?   Why of course that I actually read the directions before starting the new toy up!

Over the years, I have lost track of how much grief that has saved me!  Even better, that ‘ounce of prevention’ has done double duty by teaching me all sorts of unsuspectedly useful bits!   Best of all of course is that it was good practice for all the reports, budgets, financial statements and meeting minutes that usually proved to be so unexpectedly useful at the next meeting, inspection or walk through 🙂

No question about it, I have been able to learn much from the publicly available online minutes that the society has been posting  since they started down their Brave New Path.   Underneath the dry meeting speak, it is clear that good intentions have been paving the path with much discord and dissention at the local level.

Today, Facebook is on fire as a result of the latest press release from the society!    (scroll down further in this post to read )   To be honest,  I cannot say that I am surprised.   While I was happily celebrating my birthday back in October, the provincial board was struggling to find a solution to its investigative funding shortfall from the province.  The same province I might add, that has deemed the society to be the body legally responsible for prevention of cruelty to animals, eh?

By the time the next month’s meeting rolled around, discussion had shifted somewhat to the possibility that in lieu of a funding increase that the Department of Agriculture would simply expand their responsibility for cruelty investigations for ALL animals 😦      Mention was even made  that “ It was noted that should Agriculture take on inspections, the books would immediately be balanced and the Society could focus on other critical programs. Currently these programs are largely offsetting the program costs of investigations” Hmmm!

Does that mean that I am not concerned about this?   Of course not!   If the society no longer actively participates in prevention of cruelty to animals, who on earth is going to do so?    A government department so out of touch with humane issues that its own Minister dismissed the need for Anti Tethering Legislation when the petition was presented in the house?

For my money, in a world where department budgets …. and civil service jobs …  are shrinking faster than any celebrity diet plan spokesperson , it is poor economy to imagine the animals will be well served by such a scenario!  (The sticky subject of how many disputes and hard feelings exist between society inspectors and animal advocates is a testy topic that only serves to highlight the need for sufficient funding and adequate laws to properly protect the animals, eh?)

Yet THIS is not even the thing that has jumped out at me from the latest online minutes on the society website.    There was more to the extraordinary Meeting of the society  … one I might add that had the unprecedented caveat of insisting that all the members attend in person… than the discussion of the enforcement program!

Right below that, Discussion #2 makes for very interesting reading indeed!   Why?   The short version is that provincial is still struggling with compliance and performance at the local level!

Lets face it, how can funding requests from  the society possibly be regarded with respect when local branches continue to undermin provincial by resisting policies and directives?   Sadly, that does not stop anyone at the local level from complaining about the lack of funding / effectiveness of enforcement … nor from seeing the conundrum that presents 😦

Like those instructions that some men  stuff back in the box … no correlation is made between not following directions and the society not being regarded with respect!

What time is it?   It is time to understand that here in the real world, if an organization  cannot speak as one voice … it will only hamper their operational effectiveness … or in this case make it next to impossible to ‘speak for animals’ in any meaningful way!

Video won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”

— Daryl F. Zanuck, 20th Century Fox, commenting on television in 1946

From the SPCANS website:

“Nova Scotia SPCA suspends enforcement program and ceases animal cruelty investigations due to lack of funds

Nova Scotia (February 19, 2013) –– The Nova Scotia SPCA was denied core funding by the Province and has imposed an interim suspension of animal cruelty investigations as a result. 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. The suspension is effective April 1, 2013.

Last year, the SPCA responded to more than 18,000 complaints, investigated 1,632 cases and intervened on behalf of 5,084 animals allegedly suffering abuse, neglect and cruelty. Last fall, the SPCA made a request for $100,000 annually as a stop-gap measure to preserve the SPCA’s enforcement program. This request was declined. The police and the Department of Agriculture are the only other authorities with the power to enforce animal cruelty laws.

“Presuming the police or Agriculture have the inclination to address these cases, it would result in tax payer dollars being spent inefficiently” said Executive Director of the Nova Scotia SPCA, Kristin Williams. Williams added “We would strongly prefer to retain the enforcement program. The SPCA is the competent authority on companion animal welfare, the leading animal welfare organization for the province, and the last line of defense for animals in need.”

Having the SPCA continue to enforce animal cruelty laws may not only be the right thing to do for animals, but it makes financial sense as well. A recent report released by the Society shows that the SPCA is considerably more efficient with investigation costs than its counterparts in Agriculture who investigate farm animal cruelty. The SPCA will continue its other life-saving programs, which are currently more adequately funded by donations and sponsorship including an upcoming high volume, low cost spay/neuter clinic for animals that come into its care, low income families and other rescue groups helping animals in need

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