SPCA to cease animal cruelty investigations
Province won't budge
The Nova Scotia SPCA says it will stop investigating a growing number of animal abuse complaints because it's not getting enough funding from the province.
"This decision was not made easily. It was made with a very, very heavy heart," said executive director Kristin Williams.
The group — whose mission is to prevent abuse and neglect among animals — says it's strapped for cash, but the province maintains they're getting enough money as it is.
The Nova Scotia SPCA receives $3,000 annually from the Department of Agriculture.
The bulk of its funding is secured through adoptions revenue and fundraising programs.
The SPCA says if it doesn't get a $100,000 commitment from the province by April 1, it will stop doing animal abuse investigations.
In 2011, the society said it conducted 1,608 investigations. The average salary for an investigator is $38,000.
"As a police-like service I think it requires stable, predictable funding and the SPCA is a willing partner but we don't have the funds to do it by ourselves," Williams said.
They have enough, says province
The minister of agriculture isn't budging on increasing their funding.
"I think we're concerned. We've had a good relationship with the SPCA," said John MacDonell.
He said he is willing to talk to the SPCA about its budget demands
"Their most recent revenue statement shows that they took in over $1 million and they've indicated the investigations cost them $200,000 to $270,000. We feel that it's pretty clear in the act that their mandate is the investigations, so they're taking in four times the amount of money they've indicated they've spent on investigations," said MacDonell.
"We think they have money enough to do it."
Williams said the $1 million in revenue also covers adoptions services, sheltering and veterinary care.
MacDonell said his deputy minister has been talking to the SPCA and he expects that after April 1, the society will be investigating abuse investigations. He added the job is mandated to the SPCA by law.
Williams said about 75 per cent of people in Nova Scotia own animals.