Animal cruelty, abuse reports down for first time in years, humane society says

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.”

Anyone who has a concern about an animal can reach out to the animal protection team. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC)

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.”

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