The Nova Scotia SPCA says it will suspend all animal cruelty investigations starting April 1 because the province is denying its request for a $100,000 “stopgap” measure.
But the provincial agricultural department says the SPCA fundraises enough money to more than cover the cost of all investigations.
“Their most recent revenue statement shows that they took in over a $1 million … investigations cost them $200,000 to $270,000,” Agriculture Minister John MacDonell told reporters Tuesday after the SPCA made its announcement. “They’re taking in four times the amount of money that they’ve indicated they spend on investigations and so we think they have money enough to do them.”
Enforcing animal cruelty laws in Nova Scotia is a part of the SPCA’s mandate. The SPCA receives $3,000 a year from the Department of Agriculture, and covers the rest through fundraising.
The SPCA says in 2012 they responded to more than 18,000 animal cruelty complaints, and 1,600 cases. In total, they say they helped rescue almost 5,100 animals.
But now, the society’s executive director said the enforcement program can no longer be offered for virtually nothing.
“You’d think that like any other police service or regulatory service it requires stable financial funding,” said Kristin Williams.
MacDonell said animal cruelty investigations remain a primary concern, but he didn’t know if it would be police or another government agency that would take over if the SPCA maintains its position.
Williams said the SPCA wants to continue to provide the critically important program, but said financial responsibility should not be solely the society’s.
“It’s a provincial program and government has outlined very specific legislation because it has a duty to ensure services are provided,” she said. “And it’s not really realistic for those services to be provided by the members of the SPCA.” — Metro Halifax