OUT ON A LIMB: SPCA given the thankless task of animal seizure

I get the feeling that our SPCA branch is most comfortable with the animal saviour role

The ultimately sad story of the pit bull attack  and seizure has generated a lot of comment at www.campbellrivermirror.com.

Inevitably it’s become a tussle between the nature vs. nurture camps. Are pit bulls inherently dangerous dogs or are they made that way by their owners? Lots of opinion arguing for either point of view. See a sample of the debate on page A13.

Another issue here is the role of the SPCA in this kind of enforcement scenario. I’ve worked with the SPCA for years in my capacity as editor of this paper and think they do a great job, under trying circumstances. They desperately need a new facility. Over to you city council…

I get the feeling that our SPCA branch is most comfortable with the animal saviour role. For example, they’re well connected with young people in our community. Many a youngster in this town raises funds and donate them to the SPCA under their own initiative.

So, our local SPCA rescues animals, works tirelessly to find them homes, champions the spay and neuter campaign and cares for the managerie under their roof. Volunteers can walk the dogs to give them their badly needed exercise and socialization as they await adoption. Cats are available for cuddling to keep them happy and comfortable.

It’s a caring, sharing shelter for the abandoned and forsaken and the people who do that are the nicest folks you can imagine.

So, it would be a daunting task to confront an angry owner and demand he surrender an animal that has attacked people and dogs in a neighbourhood. But that is called enforcement and I question whether it’s fair to dump that role on a group of people whose focus is on nurturing animals.

Two women from the SPCA were sent to apprehend the dog as per a court order. They were accompanied by a male RCMP officer and a male bylaw officer. As the verbal confrontation escalated a sturdy cop in a cruiser arrived, parked his car in full sight of the house and leaned back on it, arms folded with a confident smile. That’s called backup. It was not unwarranted.

Not to put this too facetiously but is this the task our bunny rescuers should be given?

One online commenter said Campbell River needs a separate animal control officer. I can’t help but agree. At least have a bylaw enforcement officer whose job is to serve court orders. Of course, it raises the question of perhaps this is the RCMP’s job. Giving this kind of enforcement to a community organization run by a volunteer society seems a tad unfair.  Maybe I’m selling the dedicated folks at the SPCA  short. Maybe, they believe in the work they do enough to be willing to step in and wrestle animals away from bad situations. But it’s got to be tough to do.