After a case of social media-style justice, the Prince Albert SPCA is asking the community to have faith in their ability to properly handle cases of animal abuse.
Photos circulated in recent weeks on Facebook of a seemingly malnourished dog and included comments accusing the dog’s owner of mistreating the animal. Within days the photos received hundreds of comments, and led to what SPCA executive director Al Dyer called “very violent and unwarranted personal accusations” against the dog owner.
“Social media is a really good tool in some ways but can be a weapon in others,” Dyer said adding the post has since been taken down. “A lot of times not all the facts are available. It’s very easy for it to get out of hand.”
Dyer said the situation has been dealt with, and the numerous comments were based on a lack of information. He couldn’t speak to specific details of the case because of the sensitive and very public nature of the case. Prince Albert Police Service confirmed a joint investigation between police, the SPCA and a local veterinarian found there had been no criminal negligence.
Dyer said the SPCA has the same tools available to them as police when investigating, and “will go to whatever lengths they need to in order to get answers.” His organization only needs a formal complaint to launch an investigation as it can’t work off of anonymous tips.
“We can’t do it on part information,” Dyer said. “It’s very important we have all of our facts, that’s our obligation. Not only to the complainant but also to the person being complained about.”
If anyone has an issue they want brought to the SPCA’s attention, Dyer urged them to come forward with photos or videos and be prepared to give their name.
On Twitter: @spencer_sterrit
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