The B.C. SPCA will recommend charges after seizing goats, dogs, cats and chickens Tuesday from a rural property on the edge of Ladysmith following allegations of animal abuse by a neighbour.
Carrie Daviduk, who lives next door to the property on Adshead Road, first complained to the SPCA in July shortly after her new neighbours moved in.
“Every day, more and more animals would show up. There was 10 goats, then there was 20 goats, then there was 30 goats,” said Daviduk, who can see the neighbour’s yard from her own. “I just watched as they put goats in a chicken coop and didn’t feed them for all of July. And they all started to get skinny.”
Daviduk said the neighbours have had up to 300 animals at a time, neglecting to feed them as they became “skin and bones.”
Neighbours have found legs, rib cages and other body parts on their own properties, believed to be from animals that have died and were dragged there from the property by scavengers, Daviduk said.
The owner, whom the Times Colonist is not naming because they have not been charged, said many of the goats were rescues and were skinny when they arrived at the property. They also said there was a large stack of hay and goat feed just out of view of neighbours. The owner said two goats have been put down but no other animals have died on the property.
Daviduk, who runs an animal sanctuary on her own property, said it’s hard to watch the animals deteriorate and listen to them cry out. “I don’t like to be a nosy neighbour. I don’t like to get involved in business. But if someone’s abusing animals and neglecting them, I’ll say something every single time,” she said.
On Tuesday, Daviduk felt “elated” as she watched SPCA officials visit the property, along with four police vehicles. “I watched a minimum of seven SPCA trucks get filled to the brim with kennels. It was probably three hours of them in the house bringing dog and cat kennels and everything out. And then they went to the barn and they were catching birds with nets. All the goats got taken,” she said.
Eileen Dever, senior officer of protection and stakeholder relations for the SPCA, said because the investigation is ongoing, she’s not able to share many specifics about the case. Generally, when the SPCA receives a concern about an animal’s welfare, officials will visit to determine if animals are in distress. If so, they’ll issue a notice to the owner to relieve the distress.
Notices were issued in this situation, Dever said. When an owner does not comply with recommendations, the SPCA can take legal action, including executing a search warrant.
A warrant was executed Oct. 31 with a veterinarian in attendance, and “a number of animals” were removed from the property, Dever said, adding she couldn’t give an exact number of the animals seized or the condition they were found in.
The animals are under the care of the SPCA.