Update from Nova Scotia SPCA Executive Director

January 20, 2012

On January 19, 2012, the Nova Scotia SPCA was awarded an injunction to gain control of the shelter in Sydney. We are pleased to have the opportunity to access the shelter and implement improved standards of care. We also look forward to further assessing the facility and level of care to determine what needs to be addressed. Our focus is to create a positive, healthy and compassionate environment for animals and one in which the community at large wants to participate in.

We do have concerns that we have noted already regarding animal care and safety, but are reserving further comment until we can complete a more thorough review. We are in the midst of completing several audits which began immediately when we arrived at the shelter on Thursday. One is a regulatory inspection based on minimum kennel standards as set out by the Animal Protection Act and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. The second is a health and safety inspection which will review the shelter's infrastructure and highlight occupational hazards and related concerns. The third is an animal care audit based guidelines set put by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, which we not only consider industry standards, but also serves as SPCA provincial policy. These reviews will help us plot a course of action and determine priorities.

The SPCA's chief provincial vet will be at the shelter on Sunday to examine the animals. She will also be assisting us with forming a long term veterinary partnership for the shelter and providing critical training for staff.

A full financial audit will also be conducted and a review of current assets. If necessary, the Provincial Society will support and facilitate infrastructure changes deemed necessary, but there is concern about available resources at the local level. A wish list will be posted on line shortly and we thank the community in advance for any assistance they may be able to offer.

The Society will also be speaking with CBRM and discussing the animal control contract and delivery of service and expectations. We would anticipate being able to continue to meet the demand for service in the interim.

The staff, save the former shelter manager, will have the opportunity to demonstrate that they can meet the new standards that we set. We will be evaluating skills and attitude. There are currently four animal care workers and three animal control workers. Provincial staff will continue to have a full time presence at the shelter until such time as we are certain the facility is functioning properly and can be managed by a new shelter manager and board of directors.

We are going to be starting interviews for board candidates and a new shelter manager shortly. We have several qualified applicants.

We understand that this has been an emotional issue for many. We appreciate the public's support, which has served to strengthen our resolve in the process.

The full application to the court is still ahead, which will confirm our legal authority as set out by the Act. We are also open to other remedies that may be achieved outside of the court providing the results are the same.

 

Thank you,

 

Kristin Williams

Executive Director

Nova Scotia SPCA

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