However, Sgt. Dale Foote of the RCMP in Port aux Basques, said after an investigation into the matter, police are satisfied the facilities are fit for the animal to be returned to the owner if and when that time comes.
Foote confirmed that on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, two Husky dogs, two cats, and 23 chicks were seized from a property in Cape Ray, and that of more than 60 birds on the property, over half were dead.
The owner was subsequently charged under the new Animal Health and Protection Act with leaving animals in distress and the RCMP later ordered all animals removed from the property be returned to the owner after their investigation.
Samms said she was asked by the RCMP to take custody of two dogs that had been removed, and upon receiving them, she had them examined by a veterinarian. Blood work done on the female showed signs of dehydration and starvation. Ownership of that dog was relinquished and a new home has since been found.
Samms said she can’t understand why the RCMP told her she must give the other dog back to the owner before the man who was charged has gone to court. Foote, however, said the man won’t be going to court if he paid a fine.
Purebred cost $3,000
The owner, who didn’t want to be identified when contacted by phone, said he has already paid the $100 fine and wants his Husky back, a purebred that cost him about $3,000.
Tracy Pearce, of Scaredy Cat Rescue, who participated in the rescue, said the when she arrived at the property, there was no food, water or bedding for the animals.
She said there were more chicks dead than alive and she took in 23 of them, of which six later died while in her care. There were three ducks in an enclosure, three turkeys in another and about 20 to 25 Rhode Island red hens in another with half the hens dead.
Foote said the police investigation showed that a member of the owner’s family had a medical emergency, which took them out of the community for an extended period.
He said the owners had a person in place to take care of the animals but unfortunately that person thought the care was only needed for a short time.
“There was a miscommunication between the caretaker and the family, nothing intentional but they assumed their animals were being taken care of,” Foote said.
The owner of the animals said his wife’s medical emergency happened quickly, and while he regrets what happened with the animals, he said on the rare occasion people can fall on hard times.
He said as for the Huskies, it’s impossible for them to get frostbite because they are northern dogs and live in cold environments up to -50 C degrees. As for the birds, he said other farmers in the area told him they lost chickens and hens to the cold at the same time.
“It was just unfortunate circumstances,” he said.
Samms expressed her concerns about the living conditions for the dog this week but Foote said an RCMP officer went to the owner’s home and was satisfied with what he had seen.
“There was a nice-sized dog house in which the dog sleeps at night inside a fenced yard, and by day, there is a location where the dog is tethered,” Foote said.
He said after consulting with Animal Health, which is under the Provincial Department of Natural Resources, the owner was provided with the regulations under the act for the provisions that should be made for the animals and the owner said he understood them and is complying.
Samms said the owner she sent her a message asking her to transport the dog to him, but she said that isn’t happening and Foote agreed that shouldn’t be her responsibility.
The owner said on Wednesday that he believes the RCMP should be responsible for bringing his dog back to him because the police are the ones who had it taken away.
Foote said there is no organized group in their area that can accommodate animals when a situation like this rises and from time to time Samms and her society have assisted the police by taking in animals, which is appreciated.
Scaredy Cat’s Pearce said she didn’t realize there was no place for animals to go when such situations arise. She said in this situation she took in the surviving birds because she could accommodate them.
Samms said there should be “special constables,” in place who are trained to deal with issues like this because she doesn’t believe the RCMP is trained to deal with such situations.