Councillors say city won’t tell people to turn stray animals loose
St. John’s city council wants to know why a woman was told the city wouldn’t take in a stray dog.
As reported by The Telegram on Tuesday, Hine Eloukkal picked up a stray dog on Columbus Drive and took him to Humane Services. The building was closed, so she went to the SPCA, where a worker told her the shelter was full, and a stray is the city’s responsibility, but that shelter wouldn’t take it either.
“She said, ‘The city tells us to tell you to cut them loose,’” said Eloukkal.
That’s not what should have happened, said Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
“We’re not looking for any animals to be cut loose,” said Ellsworth. “We have a strong commitment to our animal control here at the city. The individual who spoke on behalf of the SPCA should speak on behalf of the SPCA only.”
Ellsworth said anyone can call the city’s information line, 311, and the city’s Humane Services department — open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends — will be contacted. Outside those hours, people may be asked to keep the animal overnight, he said.
“We may ask the person who found a stray animal to keep it overnight if they can, maybe in your backyard,” he said.
“The next morning, we can certainly pick the animal up. It’s not like there’s nowhere for the animal to go.”
Coun. Tom Hann said the city has never told anyone to cut an animal loose.
“I don’t know where that inclination comes from,” he said. “While the SPCA is full, we have two or three other operations that take care of pets, so in an emergency, or if you find a pet late at night, there are other groups that should be contacted, I would think.”
Hann also noted that the city provides the SPCA with an annual $25,000 grant.
“I would think, and I don’t think we have an agreement, but I would think that for that money we should have an agreement in place that says if after hours we can’t step up to the plate and rescue the animal, then maybe the SPCA needs to make some kind of accommodation,” he said.
“I know they were full, but I’m sure if you looked hard enough you could find accommodation for another animal.”