LETTER: Ban on animal ownership must be enforced

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Considering prevention is the middle name of the SPCA one would hope they believe this.

This was one of 29 animals rescued from a Winlaw property last month.

Re: Winlaw man charged with animal cruelty

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is the saying. Considering that prevention is the middle name of the BC SPCA one would hope they particularly believe this. But the recent raid and arrest of Joao Vieira in Winlaw does not support this at all.

With three convictions and four breaches dating back to 2006 it is utterly absurd to think that any further conviction and sentencing of Vieira will prevent this horrific situation, the months of pain, fear and starvation, from happening again. The only way to stop this repeated animal torture is for proper monitoring and enforcement of the ban on ownership of animals imposed by the court.

The BC SPCA should have been monitoring Vieira for years and it’s not a complicated or difficult action: a simple drive-by once per month would probably suffice because any sighting of any animal is enough to arrest him. If this was done properly then there would be a maximum of 30 days from any time he moved.

If the BC SPCA lost track of him then they should have brought the RCMP in, again no more than 30 days from the last known whereabouts. And these days it’s not that hard for the RCMP to find someone (Vieira no doubt had to open an electronic account, I think he has a vehicle, if he purchased property it’s publicly registered, etc.) in a few weeks. If the RCMP declined to make it a priority then the court should be advised (the court does not like being ignored).

A proper log showing known addresses and dates of visits as well as documented procedure for reporting and tracking are the very least that should be kept by the BC SPCA for court-ordered bans. How onerous could this be? It should be a much bigger job but the reality is that ownership bans are rare. I expect that Vieira is the only one for the BC SPCA to manage in this area.

The raid on Vieira, the death and torture of 33 or more animals, all happened only because organizations and people with responsibility dropped the ball. Worse, the questions I asked were met with denial and deflection. This tells me that this awful situation will be repeated in the future.

Kevin LePape, Rural Nelson

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