Animal welfare investigation underway in Bowser

'What I saw was enough to make me cry for two hours'

The SPCA launched an investigation in Bowser after allegations of animal abuse came forward last week from concerned neighbours.

“What I saw was enough to make me cry for two and a half hours,” Karen Latiff told The NEWS Thursday morning, referring to a home in Bowser apparently housing various distressed animals, including a pig and a parrot.

Oceanside RCMP Cpl. Jesse Foreman confirmed police attended a residence in Bowser, along with the SPCA, on Aug. 5.

They found three cats, two dogs, a pig and a parrot in the residence in conditions “not suitable” for animals with little food, according to Foreman.

By Friday, no animals had been removed from the residence.

“Animals have been neither seized nor voluntarily surrendered,” said SPCA senior animal protection officer Tina Heary.

Heary confirmed the SPCA is involved in an ongoing investigation in the Bowser area.

There was no news of any charges or any action by the SPCA at the location on Monday. No allegations of any nature have been proven by any court.

“There are various animals involved that our constables have attended on more than one occasion and have had communication with the owner of the animals,” said Heary.

Latiff called it “heartbreaking” and wants to see the animals seized from the residence.

“Those animals were in distress no question about it,” she said. “There’s feces all over the place… This makes Deliverance look like a five-star.”

Regional district director Bill Veenhof, who represents Bowser, said he’s received numerous complaints “shaped around animal abuse” in the area.

“It’s clear the neighbours there are quite upset and it’s not just one person,” Veenhof said, adding “I don’t know that animal abuse is going on but there’s certainly an issue for concern.”

Nadine Durante, manager of the Parksville-Qualicum SPCA branch, said if a person is concerned about animal cruelty they can report it through the SPCA’s animal cruelty hotline by calling 1-855-622-7722.

“We’re looking to see if animals are getting adequate food, shelter and water, that they aren’t left alone for long hours of the day and that they’re being stimulated psychologically,” explained Durante. “Those are basics.”

She said the hotline is available for people to report wildlife concerns as well. Punishment for animal abuse can range from monetary fines to criminal charges.