Necropsy shows dog was in good health

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - BY CHRIS HAYES CAPE BRE­TON POST chayes@cb­post.com

SYD­NEY — A necropsy on the body of a dog found in the Bar­ra­chois area two weeks ago was in­con­clu­sive about the cause of death but did find the an­i­mal was in good con­di­tion, had ap­pro­pri­ate fat stores and ap­peared in gen­er­ally good health.

Kris­tian Wil­liams, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Nova Sco­tia SPCA, said Wed­nes­day a vet­eri­nar­ian who con­ducted the necropsy would have been looking for fac­tors that could have con­trib­uted to the cause of death, in­clud­ing haz­ardous cold and signs of ne­glect, in­jury or ill­ness.

“ There was no in­di­ca­tion of any of the above,” she said.

The pres­ence of fat stores would seem to in­di­cate the dog was be­ing fed reg­u­larly, she said.

Wil­liams said an in­ves­ti­ga­tion is con­tin­u­ing and without a con­clu­sive cause of death it will now look at whether or not the spe­cific stan­dards of care out­lined in pro­vin­cial and fed­eral leg­is­la­tion were met. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion will look at whether the dog at the time of its death had ad­e­quate ac­cess to food, wa­ter, shel­ter and whether that was re­stricted by the way it was teth­ered, she said.

The dog was not at­tached to a chain when the SPCA ar­rived, al­though a neigh­bour who found it has said it had a chain around its neck at that time.

“ We need to ver­ify that with in­ter­views with the par­ties in­volved and also col­lab­o­ra­tion with the lo­cal po­lice,” Wil­liams said.

There was some ev­i­dence that the dog’s wa­ter was frozen, added Wil­liams.

The body of the male bull mas­tiff mixed breed, which was ap­par­ently a watch­dog, was found by neigh­bour Joe Bona on the frozen ground in an iso­lated log­ging area in Bar­ra­chois on Feb. 3.

Bona was dis­ap­pointed by the necropsy re­sults and main­tained Wed­nes­day that the an­i­mal was liv­ing in poor con­di­tions and froze to death.

When the SPCA first re­sponded to a com­plaint at the ad­dress in Oc­to­ber 2008, the owner vol­un­tar­ily com­plied with its re­quests re­gard­ing stan­dards of care.

Wil­liams said Wed­nes­day she can’t get into the de­tails about the re­quests that were made to the owner but they had to do with the teth­er­ing and so­cial­iza­tion of the dog, but not with food and shel­ter.

Five vis­its were made be­tween then and Jan­uary 2009, dur­ing which the owner re­mained com­pli­ant and noth­ing was noted in con­tra­ven­tion of an­i­mal wel­fare leg­is­la­tion. On the last visit, the dog had been re­moved by the owner and the case file was closed, the release said.

Fol­low­ing the ini­tial com­plaint, the SPCA did not re­ceive any fur­ther com­plaints re­gard­ing the prop­erty. Though the SPCA can’t be cer­tain, the dog that was found dead has the same gen­eral de­scrip­tion of the dog from the 2008 com­plaint.

The SPCA can’t say con­clu­sively it’s the same an­i­mal but it very likely was, Wil­liams said.

Wil­liams en­cour­aged any­one with any in­for­ma­tion to come for­ward to the SPCA.

The SPCA won’t re­veal the name of the dog’s owner un­less charges are laid.

The SPCA in Nova Sco­tia con­tin­ues to ad­vo­cate for stronger teth­er­ing reg­u­la­tions un­der the cur­rent pro­vin­cial an­i­mal wel­fare leg­is­la­tion, Wil­liams said in a release. Cur­rent leg­is­la­tion out­lines min­i­mum re­quire­ments for an­i­mals in­clud­ing ad­e­quate food, shel­ter and wa­ter, but does not ad­dress teth­er­ing re­stric­tions or guide­lines.

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