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Social media swirls after after cow left outdoors in Torbay during snowstorm

Torbay resident Renee Gosse took this snap of a cow outside in a residential yard in Torbay during Saturday’s snowstorm and posted it to Facebook, calling for action to have the animal moved out of the weather. Her post has been shared close to 2,000 times, with people asking for the police, the town and the province to intervene.
Torbay resident Renee Gosse took this snap of a cow outside in a residential yard in Torbay during Saturday’s snowstorm and posted it to Facebook, calling for action to have the animal moved out of the weather. Her post has been shared close to 2,000 times, with people asking for the police, the town and the province to intervene.

Town monitoring situation

Officials with the Town of Torbay say representatives have visited the site where a cow was left during Saturday’s snowstorm, and are working with police and provincial veterinary authorities to deal with the situation.

Local resident Renee Gosse was driving to the supermarket in Torbay when she noticed the cow in a fenced-in yard next to a house before the storm started early Saturday afternoon. She told The Telegram she went back after the weather got rough to see if the cow was still outside, and it was.

Gosse took a photo and a video of the cow, which appears to be huddling against the side of the house. She posted them to Facebook, where they have been shared close to 2,000 times by people calling for authorities to intervene or offering ways to help the cow themselves.

The Telegram received numerous requests over the weekend from members of the public, asking for an investigation.

Gosse said she called the RNC about the cow.

“They told me it wasn’t a police issue, that it was an animal control issue,” she said.

Gosse attempted to contact the Town of Torbay and the province’s division of Forestry and Agrifoods. She said she was told by the division she wasn’t the only one who had reached out about the cow, but not much could be done until Monday. She plans to follow up.

“I was speaking with (Torbay mayor) Craig Scott, who’s basically saying it’s not his jurisdiction,” Gosse said. “He’s trying to find out if the town has any legal authority in this situation.”

“The sad part is that the animal is out there, in the (yard) of this person. It needs to be protected, it can’t wait until Monday. People want to help, they want to intervene and get this cow to safety but it’s like there’s an invisible force field blocking us from doing anything unless (the owner) agrees to surrender the cow.”

The Telegram attempted to contact the owner of the cow, but was unable to leave a voicemail since the mailbox was already full.

Until changes to the province’s Animal Health and Protection Act were made in 2013, the SPCA had the authority to seize animals it suspected were being abused or neglected. That authority now belongs to police and municipal enforcement officers, with the SPCA designated to shelter the animals once they’ve been seized. The SPCA has lobbied for a larger role in the process.

The province’s Forestry and Agrifoods website says the RNC and RCMP have authority to enforce animal welfare laws, as do conservation officers and officials from municipalities that have identified an interest in enforcing the laws. Those municipalities are St. John’s, Mount Pearl, Conception Bay South, Wabana, Carbonear, Placentia, Gander and Labrador City.

According to the website, anyone wanting to report a suspected case of animal cruelty or neglect should contact those municipalities, if relevant, or the police in the case of small companion animals, and the Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer in the case of farm animals.

“Conservation officers working in the Department of Natural Resources can then conduct a proper investigation,” the province’s website states. “For urgent matters, please contact your local RNC or RCMP detachment.”

The Telegram has requested a comment from the RNC.

Gosse said the cow is no longer visible outside, but she’s not sure if it has been moved indoors or not.

The Town of Torbay posted messages on its website over the weekend with updates on the cow, saying municipal officials have sought legal advice on how best to deal with the situation and how to prevent similar incidents.

“The town is receiving advice from our municipal commissionaires, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the provincial veterinarian association, who are all aware of the complaints from the public,” one of the posts reads. “The town is ensuring that the proper procedure is followed and documented, so that the welfare of the animal can be investigated.”

Torbay town councillor Geoff Gallant said the town is under the impression the cow has been taken inside. He didn’t elaborate.

“The town takes any report of animal cruelty very seriously, and would like to remind residents to please contact the town directly with any complaints,” he said in an email.

 

 

Earlier story

Officials with the Town of Torbay say they are monitoring a situation involving a cow that was left outside during Saturday’s snowstorm, and will provide updates of any news.

Local resident Renee Gosse was driving to the supermarket in Torbay when she noticed the cow in a fenced-in yard next to a house before the storm started early Saturday afternoon. She told The Telegram she went back after the weather got rough to see if the cow was still outside, and it was.

Gosse took a photo and a video of the cow, which appears to be huddling against the side of the house. She posted them to Facebook, where they have been shared close to 2,000 times by people calling for authorities to intervene or offering ways to help the cow themselves.

The Telegram has received numerous requests from people, asking for an investigation.

Gosse said she called the RNC about the cow.

“They told me it wasn’t a police issue, that it was an animal control issue,” she said.

Gosse attempted to contact the Town of Torbay and the province’s division of Forestry and Agrifoods.

She said she was told by the division she wasn’t the only one who had reached out about the cow, but not much could be done until Monday. She plans to follow up.

“I was speaking with (Torbay Mayor) Craig Scott, who’s basically saying it’s not his jurisdiction,” Gosse said. “He’s trying to find out if the town has any legal authority in this situation.”

“The sad part is that the animal is out there, in the (yard) of this person. It needs to be protected, it can’t wait until Monday. People want to help, they want to intervene and get this cow to safety but it’s like there’s an invisible force field blocking us from doing anything unless (the owner) agrees to surrender the cow.”

The Telegram attempted to contact the owner of the cow, but was unable to leave a voicemail since the mailbox was already full.

Until changes to the province’s Animal Health and Protection Act were made in 2013, the SPCA had the authority to seize animals it suspected were being abused or neglected. That authority now belongs to police and municipal enforcement officers, with the SPCA designated to shelter the animals once they’ve been seized.

The SPCA has lobbied for a larger role in the process.

The province’s Forestry and Agrifoods website says the RNC and RCMP have authority to enforce animal welfare laws, as do conservation officers and officials from municipalities that have identified an interest in enforcing the laws. Those municipalities are St. John’s, Mount Pearl, Conception Bay South, Wabana, Carbonear, Placentia, Gander and Labrador City.

According to the website, anyone wanting to report a suspected case of animal cruelty or neglect should contact those municipalities, if relevant, or the police in the case of small companion animals, and the Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer in the case of farm animals.

“Conversation officers working in the Department of Natural Resources can then conduct a proper investigation,” the province’s website states. “For urgent matters, please contact your local RNC or RCMP detachment.”

The Telegram has requested a comment from the RNC.

Gosse said the cow is no longer visible outside, but she’s not sure if it has been moved indoors or not.

Torbay town councillor Geoff Gallant said the town is under the impression the cow has been taken inside. He didn’t elaborate.

“The town takes any report of animal cruelty very seriously, and would like to remind residents to please contact the town directly with any complaints,” he said in an email.

Later Sunday, the town posted a state,ent.

"The town is receiving advice from our municipal commissionaires, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the provincial veterinarian association, who are all aware of the complaints from the public," the statement reads. "The town is ensuring that the proper procedure is followed and documented, so that the welfare of the animal can be investigated."

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