An­i­mal prob­lem se­vere, says SPCA

The Compass - - ED­I­TO­RIAL OPIN­ION -

When­ever an an­i­mal comes un­der the care of the SPCA, peo­ple can rest as­sured, “the an­i­mal is in the hands of peo­ple who re­ally care – that’s a guar­an­tee.”

Love of an­i­mals

Why has Hisock taken such an in­ter­est in the well-be­ing of an­i­mals? She grew up with a love of an­i­mals, and un­der­stands how much they need a car­ing, safe home.

Af­ter high school, His­cock stud­ied busi­ness, ac­count­ing and cos­me­tol­ogy. She lived in Al­berta for four years, where she worked in restau­rant man­age­ment be­fore re­turn­ing home. She also worked in a hair sa­lon and still works sea­son­ally in qual­ity con­trol man­age­ment for a lo­cal fish plant.

But an­i­mal care is her real pas­sion. “ Some­times it’s more about what makes you happy than the amount of money it brings in,” she said.

And what makes His­cock happy is be­ing around an­i­mals. Work­ing with the SPCA and the new an­i­mal shel­ter will give her an op­por­tu­nity to come into con­tact with an­i­mals that need the kind of ten­der lov­ing care she has to of­fer.

She didn’t re­al­ize how big the prob­lem of an­i­mal cru­elty was un­til she opened her own pet board­ing and groom­ing busi­ness.

“ There are a lot of peo­ple out there who should never own an­i­mals,” His­cock said. She said an­i­mals are some­times kept out­side and not looked af­ter. Too of­ten the own­ers don’t even know the an­i­mal is there ex­cept to throw food at it.

To il­lus­trate the prob­lem in the area, she cited a cou­ple of ex­am­ples of an­i­mal cru­elty they were called to as­sist with re­cently.

One in­volved a cat that was frozen and was noth­ing but skin and bone. The other was a dog with its pelvic bone bro­ken and crushed. Both an­i­mals were taken to the Bac­calieu Trail An­i­mal Hos­pi­tal, and in con­sul­ta­tion with the vet­eri­nar­ian, were both put to sleep.

Euth­a­niz­ing an an­i­mal is never easy, but His­cock said it’s of­ten the best op­tion in a bad sit­u­a­tion.

“ You have to think with your head in­stead of your heart,” she said.

Long hours

When the SPCA St. John’s sug­gested op­er­at­ing a branch of the so­ci­ety would be a 24-7 com­mit­ment, His­cock didn’t flinch. Hav­ing op­er­ated her own pet board­ing and groom­ing fa­cil­ity, His­cock is no stranger to long hours.

At the time she started the op­er­a­tion, she was on her own. But soon saw the need to hire a ken­nel as­sis­tant and groomer.

The same holds true for the newly formed SPCA branch and pro­posed an­i­mal shel­ter. Vol­un­teers are es­sen­tial to its suc­cess. She’s also count­ing on fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance from mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the re­gion.

“ We are look­ing for ideas in fundrais­ing, mon­e­tary do­na­tions, and vol­un­teers are greatly needed,” she said. They are also look­ing for mem­bers to join their board.

“ The mis­sion of the shel­ter is to ed­u­cate peo­ple on how to prop­erly care for their pets and en­cour­age spay­ing/neu­ter­ing ... to help re­lieve the suf­fer­ing of an­i­mals. The shel­ter will also be a safe haven for those an­i­mals who have no place to go and re­ceive the love and at­ten­tion they de­serve.”

Ideally, His­cock said, they would like to find a group of vol­un­teers — backed by their town coun­cil — in each com­mu­nity who would hold their own fundrais­ers to help with the ven­ture.

En­cour­aged by the ini­tial re­sponse from town coun­cils, His­cock also hopes for a good re­sponse from the gen­eral pub­lic.

Shel­ter site

No de­ci­sion has been made on the lo­ca­tion for a shel­ter, but His­cock hopes it might be her build­ing in Fresh­wa­ter, where she op­er­ates her busi­ness.

She could not con­tinue to op­er­ate her pri­vate board­ing and groom­ing fa­cil­ity un­der the same roof. How­ever, she ex­plained one way around that would be to ren­o­vate the build­ing to add on a sep­a­rate area to ac­com­mo­date an an­i­mal shel­ter.

Be­sides the vol­un­teers, she said the an­i­mal shel­ter would also need paid staff to op­er­ate, which would mean some ad­di­tional em­ploy­ment in the com­mu­nity.

“ This would be a good area for it, His­cock noted. “ The com­mu­nity and the peo­ple of Fresh­wa­ter have been good to me.”

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