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Trio of animal cruelty cases involving dogs, seagull a sign of change: St. John's SPCA

In one of three disturbing animal-cruelty incidents this week, a high school student allegedly killed a seagull with a hatchet.
In one of three disturbing animal-cruelty incidents this week, a high school student allegedly killed a seagull with a hatchet.

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Simone Browne with the SPCA in St. John’s believes there may actually be a positive takeaway from a trio of animal-cruelty investigations launched in the province in less than a week.

Years ago, she told The Telegram Wednesday, the public would not have heard of all three cases, and more reporting to the police is allowing for greater public discussion about animal welfare, with more investigation and follow-up actions.

“It’s always heartbreaking. And I guess that’s the first reaction,” Browne said of her own response upon hearing of the recent reports of alleged animal cruelty in Newfoundland and Labrador, adding she always hopes the cases are a one-off, without more animals left to be found in distress or deceased. “But unfortunately there are a lot of these things that are happening.”

The SPCA is not involved with direct enforcement, she noted, but does help animals that have been subjected to cruelty and neglect.

Three days, three cases

At least three police investigations into possible animal cruelty have been launched in the province in as many days.

Sunday, May 14, a resident of Conception Bay South found the remains of a dog submerged in a pond off Pond Road. The body was recovered with the assistance of the fire department and has since been provided to the province’s chief veterinarian for examination.

The dog was in an advanced stage of decomposition, and had twine around its legs. The breed was not obvious, according to Const. Geoff Higdon with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC).
[RNC investigating after dog's body found in Conception Bay South pond]

In a  separate case, according to a report made to police, a seagull was injured by a student with a hatchet at Mount Pearl Senior High School. The bird was taken to a local veterinarian by city staff. It was ultimately euthanized.

The bird was injured  Monday and the case reported to the RNC on Tuesday. As of Wednesday, no charges had been laid and the investigation continues.

In a third case, a 41-year-old man from Glovertown has been charged under the Animal Protection Act after a complaint was made to the RCMP. Shortly after 3 p.m. on Tuesday, according to police, a pickup truck entered a car wash in Happy Valley-Goose Bay with a dog exposed in the back.
[Glovertown man charged for going through car wash with dog in truck pan]

The dog was examined afterward and found not to be injured, but the Glovertown man is facing one charge of causing an animal to be in distress, plus a second charge of transporting an animal outside of a passenger compartment, without the animal being secured.

Browne said she is glad to see people responding to animal-cruelty reports and encouraging the translation of emotion to action.

“Being outraged on Facebook does not change things,” she said, still encouraging spreading the word about enforcement efforts.

But she also pushed reporting and supporting — speaking up with concerns in relation to wild or domestic animals and giving what you can in money or volunteer time to organizations aiding animals.

Anyone with information on the trio of recent cases can provide it anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

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