SPCA vet confesses turtles suffered while at the Saskatoon SPCA.

SPCA vet confesses that turtles were healthy when seized from Elrose home in 2011.

SPCA vet lied in a written statement to the Court of Appeals in April 2011.

Under oath, in February 2013, the paid vet for the Saskatchewan and Saskatoon SPCAs disclosed that the seven turtles taken from the Elrose house required no assessment or medical treatment upon arriving at the Saskatoon SPCA. Under oath, the vet went on to confirm that 1 female turtle died three weeks later of starvation. A second turtle suffered a severe injury at the hands of the Saskatoon SPCA a week later. The second turtle fell off a high ramp onto a hard concrete floor. It was not discovered, bleeding and suffering, until the next day. That turtle required surgery to repair the broken shell.

This contradicts the vet’s first written statement to the Court of Appeal where she stated that the turtles were in distress at the Elrose home, allegedly living in unhealthy conditions resulting in health concerns including shell rot. During the first court process in April, information about the turtle dying from starvation and the injuries due to the improper housing at the SPCA was withheld from the defense and the Appeals court.

This information was only supplied to the defense, in part, late November 2012 and during court in February 2013. This was a blatant attempt by the SPCA to keep damaging information about neglect on their part away from the legal system and presiding judges in an attempt to protect their own reputation. This is clearly an abuse of a Canadian citizen’s right to full disclosure of all evidence in a timely fashion.

This information, withheld from the presiding judges in the Court of Appeals, would have most likely resulted in the return of the turtles to their owner. The judges’ decision not to return the turtles was based on the written statement of the SPCA vet that the 30-plus-year-old turtles were suffering and ill. The medical reports and testimony supplied later clearly showed that the animals were not ill and only suffered/died while in the care of the SPCA. The interests of the turtles were obviously not being served while they were in the care of the SPCA.

The Court of Appeal did order the return of the 16-year-old iguana and the family dog to the Elrose residence as medical reports showed that they were in good health and being well taken care of.

It is clear that laws have to change to protect the rights of both homeowners and their pets from the dishonest SPCA staff and paid consultants. Their need to raise funds through high profile seizures clearly overrides any ethics, including honesty and the welfare of the animals.

To stop the abuse we must remove the power from the SPCA’s hands and regulate their shelters to protect more animals from abuse and neglect in the future.

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