The number of animal neglect cases has gone up in the city, the Ottawa Humane Society said Monday.
Over the past four months, the shelter has laid four charges against five individuals under the OSPCA Act for permitting an animal to be in distress and failing to provide adequate standards of care to an animal.
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In some cases, the neglect was due to the economic downturn and the high cost of veterinary care, said OHS spokeswoman Tara Jackson. “Economic and financial limitations play a role for sure.”
Enacted in March, the legislation — which has allowed the OHS to lay charges for lack of care without having to take into account willful intent to cause pain and suffering — “allows our agents to increase their scope a little bit,” said Jackson. “I think going forward, we’ll see more charges laid at the provincial level.”
Last year, the OHS answered over 1,600 emergency calls.
The most recent cases involved cats and dogs, including a 14-year-old Chihuahua-type dog that was emaciated and had uncontrollable bleeding for over a week, and a senior German shepherd found unable to walk or move, due to tumours on its shoulders and atrophied leg muscles. The dog’s owner admitted to never taking the animal to a veterinarian in its life, the shelter said.
In all cases, the animals’ were euthanized.
“The cases we’ve seen over the past few months have been disturbing, to say the least,” said OHS inspector Miriam Smith. “The levels of animal suffering have been severe, and the basic lack of care withheld has been shocking.
“If you notice something is wrong with your pet, take it to a vet sooner, rather than later,” she said. “Doing nothing is not an option.”
“We’ve seen some pretty extreme cases of neglect recently,” agreed OHS inspector Tim Brown.