British Columbia

Animal abuse often reversed through education says BC SPCA

The BC SPCA received nearly 9,000 calls about animal abuse in 2014, and according to senior investigator Kent Kokoska many of the people found abusing their animals aren't doing so intentionally.

BC SPCA says many people who abuse animals don't intend to

Snow covered horses graze a pasture near Cremona, Alta., during the first heavy snow fall of the season. BC SPCA senior investigator Kent Kokoska said complaints about abuse to horses hit an all time high in 2014. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Most of the people who abuse animals aren't doing so intentionally, according to BC SPCA senior investigator Kent Kokoska.

"It might a mental health issue, there might be a physical injury or compromise to the animal owner, or it might be a financial compromise," Kokoska told Daybreak Kamloops' Shelley Joyce.

The BC SPCA received nearly 9,000 calls about animal abuse in 2014.

"One or any combination of those can cause a situation to slide for an animal's care."

Kokoska said most of the complaints involve neglecting the animal — and sometimes education can make the difference in the animal's welfare. Part of the education effort is marking Animal Abuse Prevention in B.C. on April 23 each year.

"A lot of people aren't aware and bringing that awareness to people and some options, that's the first step to making a positive change."

Kokoska said in some cases, the animal owner is able to keep the animal, and in others, further intervention is required.

Hope for horses

Calls about abuse to horses hit a high last year, with 50 animals in the interior being taken from their owners, but the number went back down again this past winter.

"With the winter being much warmer, it's been a lot better," he said.

There are currently three new barns being built in B.C. where horses can be kept temporarily if they need to be taken from their original owner.

Kokoska said in the Kamloops area about 60 per cent of the calls relate to livestock.

Five basic animal freedoms

The SPCA has five basic freedoms, which it believes every animal should have.

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst

  2. Freedom from pain, injury, and disease

  3. Freedom from distress

  4. Freedom from discomfort

  5. Freedom to express behaviours that promote well-being

Anyone who believes an animal isn't getting these five freedoms can report a complaint to the SPCA at 1-855-622-7722.

To hear the full interview with Kent Kokoska, listen to the audio labelled: Animal Abuse Prevention Day.


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