Animal Cruelty at its Worst as Animals are Abandoned in BC
In August of 2013, a total of 50 small breed dogs of all types were dumped overnight at two different Vancouver-area animal shelters. Although it is not clear whether the incidents were related, the abandonment of so many animals at once underscores the shocking lack of concern some people have for animals in their care.
Shaking and terrified, 38 of the dogs, mostly Chihuahuas, one of the most popular and non allergenic dogs that originated in Mexico, and Yorkshire terriers, were dumped in stacked crates covered by a tarp outside the gates of a Richmond animal shelter. An additional 12 dogs were found outside a shelter in New Westminster, 20 kilometers away. None of the dogs were spayed or neutered.
A spokesperson from the Richmond Animal Protective Service said that the dogs did not appear to be family pets but declined to speculate about whether they came from a puppy mill. The city of Richmond claimed that it would cost more than $12,000 to care for the dogs until they were able to be adopted into new homes.
As it turns out, these dogs were lucky. Because both cases received public attention, there was an outpouring of support in the form of shelter donations and adoption requests for the animals, most of which were in reasonably good health. The dogs’ chance of rehabilitation and a future life as family pets is excellent.
This sad story from British Columbia reflects a growing trend on the part of Canadian citizens to be concerned and proactive about the plight of mistreated and abandoned dogs. Spurred to action in part by the 15,000 cats and dogs that were rendered homeless after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Canadians have been coming to the rescue of abandoned dogs from as far away as India.
It is estimated that hundreds of dogs arrive in Canada each month from other parts of the world to find new homes.
Canadian efforts to save abandoned dogs are impressive. Only 14 percent of the dogs that end up in Canadian shelters are euthanized; the remainder are adopted into new homes. Moreover, as many as 80 new groups devoted to preventing animal abuse and promoting animal rescue are formed in Canada each year.
Nevertheless, Canada’s federal animal cruelty laws were enacted way back in 1892, and despite recent amendments, the laws are still in need of updating to close loopholes that allow many offenders to escape punishment and to prohibit practices like training dogs for the fighting ring. It is not enough to provide a home for each abandoned dog. One must make sure that every home is safe for the animals that live there.