Monday, June 25, 2012
BY TIFFANY CRAWFORD
A woman who rescues special needs animals from around the world, including areas ravaged by disasters like Hurricane Katrina, said she is devastated after the SPCA seized 52 dogs and 16 cats from her rental property in south Burnaby.
Sandra Simans, 56, is the founder of the not-for-profit organization 1atatime Rescue and for four years has been operating an animal rescue shelter out of a Maitland Street three-bedroom house in Burnaby.
Some of her rescues were beaten and tortured, while others are blind, missing limbs or ill, she said. She claims that before they were seized all of her animals were being loved and well cared for by herself and about half a dozen volunteers.
But the SPCA contends many of the animals seized last week were suffering, and the organization has launched an animal cruelty investigation.
Simans has appealed for help in finding a place where she can take care of all the animals, some of which have highly specialized medical needs.
Animals like eight-month-old Sammy Blue Jeans.
Sammy is a two-legged dog who had been living on the streets of Taiwan. He was in a car accident when he was three-months-old. He has no hips and no tail and requires a special wheelchair Simans had constructed for him.
Bob Busch, general manager of operations for the BC SPCA, said Sammy’s wheelchair was broken. He said a new one has been fitted for him and SPCA staff are assessing his medical needs.
Busch said an animal cruelty investigation is underway. No one has been charged.
Many of the animals seized had dental issues that had not been addressed, said Busch.
“Some had rotten teeth and infections, also yeast infections, dermatitis and ear infections,” he said.
One dog had a distended abdomen with what the SPCA believes to be a shot gun pellet.
“It’s a sad situation,” he said. “The BC SPCA has the ability to care and treat the animals.”
Simans fears the oldest animals, including four blind dogs, will be euthanized at the SPCA.
“They can legally do what they are doing but the question is, morally do you really want to do this?” said Simans, whose company was incorporated in 2005 and has four directors.
Busch said animals are only euthanized if they are in severe distress and can't be treated for aggression. As of Saturday, he said none of Siman’s animals had been euthanized.
“They are being evaluated and their medical issues are being addressed,” he said.
Simans admits she was operating against a bylaw that prohibits that many animals in a residential home, but says she was doing “everything I can to save these animals.”
Last week, SPCA officials arrived at her house and told her she would have to move the animals to a new location because she was in contravention of a city bylaw.
Simans said she found a gated property on one and a half acres in White Rock where she could take them. However, she said when she returned with the rental truck to transport the animals a city official told her the animals were being seized. The city official told her she could only take two dogs and four cats, the maximum number allowed under the city’s bylaw..." More