WATCH: Despite tougher animal cruelty legislation and growing public disdain, calls reporting animal cruelty to the BC SPCA are up. Jeremy Hunka reports.
Newly released figures show that calls to the BC SPCA are up, with the animal protection agency receiving approximately 1,000 more cruelty complaints in 2014 than the previous year.
Marcie Moriarty of BC SPCA tells Global News “2014 was definitely a record year for the BC SPCA Cruelty Investigations Department.”
In 2014, the BC SPCA received 8,849 cruelty complaints, about 1,000 more than 2013.
Search warrants also jumped to 160 for 2014 and the number of recommended charges rose to 53, almost double 2013 totals.
The numbers come amid several high-profile cases, including dog walker Emma Paulsen, who left six dogs to die in the back in a hot truck last year, and Des Hague, who was caught on camera abusing a dog in an elevator.
“We still do have animal cruelty and neglect issues in B.C. and I think we’re a long way from seeing a cruelty-free province,” says Moriarty. “However, I do think with more people reporting, it shows people are getting the message.”
Animal advocates are encouraged more people are reporting acts of animal cruelty, but are concerned the numbers show B.C. still has a big problem.
“We see abuse on a daily basis,” says Nicola Forbes of Action for Animal in Distress Society. “We hear about it. It’s very, very disturbing.”
The BC SPCA credits some of the increase in complaints to a new centralized call system in Victoria, which has made it easier for people to launch an investigation with just a phone call.
-with files from Jeremy Hunka