Reports of animal abuse and cruelty are down across the Island for the first time in years, according to the P.E.I. Humane Society.
The organization says the number of cases has dropped by 44 per cent compared to last year.
“That’s really significant,” said Jennifer Harkness, the development and communications manager at the P.E.I. Humane Society.
“When we say abuse, cruelty, it means somebody saw somebody … physically abusing an animal or being cruel to an animal. It really can be really horrific.”
Those weren’t the only areas where reports declined.
Other cases show declines
Harkness said temperature-related cases were down 59 per cent, health and wellness reports fell 23 per cent and calls regarding animals lacking food, shelter or water also decreased by six per cent.
It was a nice surprise, said Harkness, after dealing with twice the workload following the enactment of the Animal Welfare Act in 2017.
“We saw our cases double for 2017, 2018 and then 2019,” she said. “It’s probably not that there were more cases on the Island but people are more likely to call us.
“Hopefully, now that we’re seeing that number drop again, [it] means that people are less likely to commit a crime against an animal.”
Harkness said the statistics are also good news for animal protection officers who now have the time to take a closer look at cases on the table and even revisit old reports.
“It’s nice to see some momentum in the other direction for once and just having a moment for our officers to realize that they’ve done some important work here.”
Anyone who does have a concern about an animal can reach out to the animal protection team via email or by calling 902-892-1191.
“We really just look at this as a win at this time,” said Harkness.
“People are aware of what the regulations are on P.E.I. and they know that people are watching.”
More from CBC P.E.I.
KASZEWSKA WOLA, Poland — When the European Union condemned Poland’s government for demonizing gays and lesbians, the country’s governing coalition defiantly stood together. When state media was accused of spreading hate speech that fueled violence, the governing parties brushed off concerns. And when protests erupted against efforts to control the judicial system, they pressed ahead regardless.
Then came the minks.
Proposed legislation that would ban the farming of minks, semiaquatic mammals prized for their fur, and put in place a range of protections for other animals, opened deep divisions in the coalition that almost brought down the government.
It took the intervention of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the dominant Law and Justice Party, to quell the uprising for now by taking on a formal role that allowed him to act as a buffer between opposing factions.
The bill, which gained momentum after a documentary aired on Polish television showing minks living in deplorable conditions on one farm, has widespread public support and the leaders of the country’s foremost opposition party support the legislation.
But the conservative governing coalition is divided over the issue, waging increasingly furious internal battles at a time when the nation is consumed with the coronavirus. All that has raised questions about the long-term viability of the government.
In the face of those concerns, Mr. Kaczynski, the most powerful politician in Poland and the architect of the government’s agenda, stepped in Tuesday to be sworn in as deputy prime minister after five years of ruling from behind the scenes.
Apart from separating feuding coalition partners, one of his main tasks will be trying to grow public support for the Law and Justice Party, whose candidate for president, Andrzej Duda, only managed a narrow election victory in July.
It will be a difficult challenge since Mr. Kaczynski has been the driving force behind efforts by his party to marginalize the L.G.B.T. community, a campaign that has turned off many young voters. And his government has spent years at war with the European Union, despite broad support in Poland for membership in the bloc, especially among the generation born after the end of communist rule in 1989.
The government also has a dismal record on environmental issues — from logging in the country’s ancient forests to failing to curb a reliance on coal.
But in championing animal rights, Mr. Kaczynski sees an opportunity.
“This is a pivotal moment for the party,” said Wojciech Przybylski, the editor in chief of Visegrad Insight, a policy journal focused on Central Europe. Mr. Kaczynski, he said, knows he needs to expand his political base to include younger, more moderate voters by sending “a message of concern about nature and animals.”
The issue also seems personal for Mr. Kaczynski, who has long been known for his affection for animals. When his beloved cat, Alik, died, it was national news. The 71-year-old, who shuns nearly all requests for interviews outside of supportive media outlets, even went on TikTok to post a video promoting the
Last month, residents of the Jersey City luxury building The Beacon were getting concerned about a dog.
A husky had been seen lying on an outside balcony for several days, with no apparent food or water. Photos show the dog lying on a balcony strewn with feces.
“The dog was living in filth,” one resident of the building said. Residents were so concerned that they lowered a dish of water onto the balcony and slid food under a divider for the animal. After the dog was outside for two days, the neighbor called Liberty Humane Society.
But instead of removing the dog, animal control officers from LHS allowed the owner to keep it.
Liberty Humane Society Executive Director Irene Borngraeber said the organization acted appropriately, but a coalition of animal welfare groups throughout Hudson County say the incident illustrates what they describe as the longstanding inadequacy of LHS.
The incident at the Beacon is “just one story of, like, hundreds of stories just like this,” said Anne Mosca, a board member of the cat rescue organization, JerseyCats.
In a series of interviews, the leaders of six Hudson County animal welfare groups said LHS often declines to help injured or sick animals. The organization often requires residents to pay a “surrender fee,” even when they are simply seeking help for abandoned strays and not trying to surrender their own pet, the animal advocates said.
And LHS sometimes leaves traps for animals unattended for long periods at a time, the leaders said, meaning an animal could spend days inside a cage outdoors before being picked up.
LHS has been providing animal control and shelter services to Jersey City since 2017, when the nonprofit was awarded a two-year, $1.2 million contract. The City Council has renewed that contract twice, most recently in May. Jaclyn Fulop, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop’s wife, sits on the organization’s board. Bayonne and Hoboken also have contracts with the nonprofit.
But in interviews and written accounts, more than a half dozen people said the organization was unresponsive to calls and appeared reluctant to help animals in danger or in poor health.
“People give up on calling animal control because they’re not going to be responsive,” said Denise Labowski, a director with rescue group PAD PAWS Rescue. “So they figure, why bother?”
In one account, a person wrote that an animal control officer from LHS declined to help remove a kitten from a sewer, saying that its mother would return to take care of it. Another said that when a kitten was stuck under the hood of a car, an LHS officer suggested leaving a note on the vehicle. Others said that officers appeared hours later than they said they would.
Borngraeber said she was unaware of those specific complaints.
“I would encourage the individuals quoted to contact LHS directly to discuss their concerns and provide additional information needed to document and assess next steps,” she said in an email. “We must work together.”
And she pushed back on