A homelesswoman in Halifax is accusing the SPCA of discrimination after getting a visit from an investigator about her dog.
Maureen Chapman says the investigator approached her and other homeless people last week and explained the definition of animal cruelty before handing out instructions on how to build a dog house.
Chapman,who has lived on the streets for seven years and calls her dog her family, says she was insulted.
"He always eats, but I don't always eat,"Chapman told CBC News while taking a break from cleaning car windows near Halifax's busy Robie and Quinpool intersection.
"You can't just discriminate against people who live on the streets because you assume they aren't taking care of their dogs."
Dorothy Patterson, a worker with the Ark Outreach Centre in Halifax, says the homeless people who visit her centre take good care of their dogs, even going so far as to make visits to the veterinarian.
"We know that our youth get their dogs shots and are well looked after," Patterson said.
ButNova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals spokeswoman Judith Gass says her group receives complaints every summer about homeless people and their dogs.
Gass says it's the SPCA's mandate to investigate accusations of cruelty, and denies Chapman is being unfairly targeted.
"We wouldn't expect other people who are walking their dogs to have water and food with them at all times because they're probably just out for a short jaunt and are going back home where they're going to have plenty of water and food," Gass said.
It's unfair to keep a dog out in the sun all day without shelter, she added.
Gass says the SPCA's investigators will keep making the rounds this summer to make sure that dogs are not mistreated.