Necropsy shows dog was in good health
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.