Have concerns about the well-being of a pet in your area? Calls to the BC SPCA can be made anonymously.  Flickr PHOTO

Have concerns about the well-being of a pet in your area? Calls to the BC SPCA can be made anonymously. Flickr PHOTO

Don’t leave canines in the cold this winter

What to do if you suspect a case of cruelty or neglect

When freezing rain and flurries start hitting the window, it’s nice to imagine all pets safe and warm inside.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. The colder, darker days have some locals concerned about pets that spend most of their days outdoors.

BC SPCA senior animal protection officer Eileen Drever says every animal requires adequate food, water, shelter, space and ventilation. If you notice any animal without those, Drever says to call the BC SPCA.

According to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, an animal is in distress if it is:

– deprived of adequate food, water, shelter, ventilation, light, space, exercise, care or veterinary treatment;

– kept in conditions that are unsanitary;

– not protected from excessive heat or cold;

– injured, sick, in pain or suffering; or

– abused or neglected.

“Our intent is to educate people; it’s not to take their animal away,” Drever says. “The majority of people actually…don’t realize what their animal requires. So on our first visit, we may go out there and make recommendations and may give written notice to them.”

Drever says if the owners don’t comply with recommendations, the SPCA may have to take legal action.

“It could involve the application of a search warrant or removing the animal,” she explains, adding the BC SPCA receives approximately 10,000 complaints a year to the cruelty hotline.

It’s important to differentiate what is a bylaw matter and an animal cruelty issue, she adds.

Animal control complaints of excessive barking or free-roaming can be made to the Fraser Valley Regional District at 1-844-495-2273.

Animal cruelty concerns in the area should be made to the BC SPCA, who can be reached at 1-855-622-7722.

Calls can be made anonymously, although the SPCA prefers to have contact information in the event that the investigation requires followup.