nl-powers-debbie-2006file

Debbie Powers says says animals that are turned away from Heavenly Creatures end up at the SPCA and have to be put down. ((CBC))

A St. John's animal rescue group that promotes its no-kill policy is "cherry-picking" which animals it chooses to save, charges the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Debbie Powers, executive director of the SPCA in St. John's, said animals that are turned away from Heavenly Creatures end up at the SPCA and have to be put down.

Powers also said the SPCA has been called to remove animals that were placed by Heavenly Creatures in homes with unfit living conditions.

She said Heavenly Creatures is more like a fostering agency and does not strictly follow the no-kill philosophy that the group promotes in its fundraising literature.

"To say you are no-kill and to be passive about this situation is just passing along the responsibility to other people," Powers told CBC News. "To cherry-pick the animals, then are you really rescuing [them]?"

Jessica Rendell, founder of Heavenly Creatures, said her organization is notselectively choosinganimals forits shelter.

'We're no-kill for the animals that we take in'

"We're not saying we're no-kill for every animal in the province," Rendell said. "We're saying we're no-kill for the animals that we take in."

In August, St. John's Mayor Andy Wells accused Heavenly Creatures of appearing virtuous while asking the city's humane division and the SPCA to do what he called its dirty work.

He said the city was "bombarded" with euthanasia requests from the group, whichreplied thatWells got his facts wrong.

Meanwhile, Powers said Heavenly Creatures is running a door-to-door campaign in which remarks have been made about the SPCA that upset her employees and volunteers.

"Nobody at the City of John's or anyone at the SPCA enjoys putting an animal to sleep," Powers said. "Who in goodness would? It unfortunately falls on our shoulders that this is what we have to do."

Rendell said the volunteers at her organization do not say disparaging things about the SPCA whenthey go out on a door-to door campaign. She added she would like all animal rescue organizations in the city to work together.

"It seems that in St. John's there is some sort of territory war going on," Rendell said. "It's really disturbing and it's really unfortunate."

Meanwhile, Wells told city council's meeting on Tuesday evening that he is still disturbed by how Heavenly Creatures positions itself and how that affects the city's humane services division.

"This is a very easy way out for them," said Wells,pointing outthat Heavenly Creatures has an office, not a shelter.

"This is how we are indirectly affected by this organization," he said. "There's been occasions where sick animals have been dumped here.

"I'm just telling people that this organization is not a credible animal welfare organization."