BC, AUGUST 2002: PAWS RESCUES 56 DOGS
August 17, 18, 19, 2002
STATEMENT RE: WOUNDS FOUND ON TOPAZ CREEK DOGS
Starting in November 2002, Craig Daniell became the BC SPCA's manager of Cruelty Investigations, four months after Creston PAWS gave up begging the SPCA to help Meyers' dogs, which were suffering clear and unambiguous "critical neglect" as defined by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and rescued the dogs themselves.
PAWS president, Vicky MacDonald, spoke by phone on January 16th with Mr Daniell:
"Mr Daniell told me that he is very concerned about how the Topaz case was handled and is trying to find a way to get it to Crown. It is past the 6 month deadline from the date that the dogs were signed over to PAWS but he is looking for any kind of information that will extend that deadline.
"He said that the report from our vet, Dr. McLeod, should have been enough to bring criminal charges and the next time BJ Howe (SPCA, Cranbrook) goes calling it will be unannounced and she will be bringing with her someone qualified to closely and physically examine the dogs Bo Meyers still has. How they "appear" is not an indication of their well-being!
"He said that there is NO DOUBT this case should have gone to Crown, that he is ordering a review of the investigation and that there will be repercussions over the inadequate handling of the case and "people will be removed" from their positions for their lack of proper investigation.
"He also said that he is convinced that Bo will be back at it if he is not properly watched and there will be no warning for him "when" he tries to do this kind of thing again! And that a person "qualified to inspect and assess the dogs" will accompany the next SPCA rep that visits Meyers.
"I don't know how much will really get done, there is still that little niggle of distrust with the SPCA but finally, at last, it APPEARS that someone is listening!!!
"Craig repeatedly stated how he wished he had started with the BCSPCA a couple of months earlier and how upset and disappointed he was at the "shoddy" way this case was handled. We talked about the chains in the neck, the maggots, etc and he said criminal charges should have been laid right then and there for unnecessary pain and suffering. If the SPCA had been involved as they should have been Meyers would have been immediately before the courts."
In a March 4th phone conversation Vicky MacDonald told AAS that Meyers now has six dogs and a pregnant female. They are chained to stumps and trees out in the open and that she has not been told what if anything the SPCA is doing except that SPCA Special Provincial Constable Brad Kuish viewed the dogs from the edges of Meyers' property in mid-February. He could not go on the property because he had not obtained a warrant, so he would not be able to see if the dogs were thin or diseased. This cursory inspection was made after Mr Daniell told Vicky MacDonald that
But if the SPCA had prosecuted Meyers when it should have, Meyers would undoubtedly not be permitted to own any dogs and the SPCA would have the court's authority to inspect Meyers without a warrant.
AAS believes that Mr Daniell is sincere. But the statute of limitations was allowed to run out on this case and now he is not, as far as PAWS can determine, taking action to prevent Meyers from doing this all over again with the six dogs and litter of pups in spite of protestations and promises to PAWS president, Vicky MacDonald.
Mr Daniell has his work cut out for him if he wants the SPCA to actually prevent cruelty. The SPCA is riddled with the type of employee who mishandled the Topaz Creek cruelty case so badly, and so blatantly ignored years of extreme distress that it can not have been mere oversight or inexperience - it had to be deliberate. He has many more of these "old SPCA" employees to remove before the SPCA is not continuously humiliated and exposed by their actions (see the Beaverdell Seizure story, click here). Mr Daniell inherited a legacy of fifty years of concentration by the SPCA on its pet disposal business (pound contracts and open surrender policy) and its avoidance of prevention of cruelty. Many staff all over BC are no better than those at the Nelson and Kelowna SPCAs (see the Dog Hanging and Sheep Savaging stories in Nanaimo, (soon). AAS has traced fifty years of SPCA animal-disposal and the kind of employees who were hired to do it. We have ample proof that employees for years have systematically obscured and stalled and ignored evidence and witnesses until there was no case to prosecute. We believe that Mr Daniell is going to change that, that in fact he has already begun. But we would like to see Mr Daniell follow through, as busy as he is, on Mr Meyers, before more suffering is inflicted on more dogs at Topaz Creek.
We have less faith in the Board of Directors of the BC SPCA. In response to a request from Gail Moerkerken of Maple Ridge, a rehomer of Topaz Creek dogs, that the SPCA move quickly to prosecute Meyers before the six-months statute of limitations for a summary offence was past, Ms Moerkerken was told that the matter would be put before the November 2002 meeting of the Board of Directors. No action to prosecute Meyers was taken so we are left to presume that the Board decided not to prosecute Meyers and knowingly allowed the statute of limitations to expire early in January 2003. But Meyers continues to neglect his remaining dogs and so there is an opportunity to reopen this case. We hope Mr Daniell avails himself of this opportunity.
In fact, in a letter of February 18, 2003 to Jo-Anne Chambers of Victoria, Mr Daniell says, "Turning now to the manner in which this case will be handled in the future, I wish to place on record that a senior officer will continue to monitor the situation extremely closely and will take further action should the recommendations that were made not be followed completely".
The president of the BC SPCA, Michael Steven, in a February 17th letter to a PAWS supporter assured her that "the SPCA is monitoring the property regularly through unannounced inspections" (Ms MacDonald told AAS on April 2nd that to the best of her knowledge this is not being done), "and is working with PAWS to promote a by-law that would limit the number of animals an individual is permitted to keep on their property". Ms MacDonald told AAS that she is not working with the SPCA, that PAWS is working on this alone, and has no knowledge of the SPCA working on this at all.
April 1/03 - Vicky MacDonald confirmed to AAS that Meyers still has his dogs chained to stumps, surrounded by car wrecks and that puppies have been heard crying. There is no reason to believe that Meyers is not treating these dogs just as he treated the others and that these dogs too will one day be in critical distress. Will the SPCA wait for these dogs to suffer as much as the others did?
If the BC SPCA refuses to take any action to prosecute Meyers, the question begs to be asked - why not? It is true that publicity would reveal the horrible extent of the dogs' suffering that the SPCA permitted for years; the gross mishandling of inspections and evidence; the way the SPCA allowed itself to be given credit for the rescue when in fact it was they who permitted the suffering, and how this credit would have resulted in an outpouring of donations to the SPCA, when in fact it was little, broke organizations that paid the bills. But surely not wanting the public to know all that is not reason enough to permit further suffering to more Topaz Creek dogs?
|See AAS messageboard posts on the subject of PAWS'
rescue and how the SPCA took credit:
CRESTON PAWS ROBBED! http://www.animaladvocates.com/cgi-bin/newsroom.pl/read/967
An open letter to the BC SPCA http://www.animaladvocates.com/cgi-bin/newsroom.pl/read/972
SPCA knew about the Topaz Creek Dogs http://www.animaladvocates.com/cgi-bin/newsroom.pl/read/749 (and many more in this thread)
Back to the Beaverdell/Topaz Creek Comparison, click here