Victoria woman charged with animal cruelty after cat dies from flea infestation

SPCA constable encourages owners to keep pets' fleas in check

A Victoria woman has been charged with animal cruelty, after a heavily flea-infested, sickly cat rescued from a Gorge Road residence died in March.

A veterinarian who arrived at the home after being called by a family member was told the three-year-old Persian hadn’t eaten in four days and was lying in her box howling in pain, according to the vet’s report. The cat, which was lethargic and unresponsive, died of cardiac arrest a short time after the intervention, having lost blood and suffered other complications due to the flea infestation, said B.C. SPCA special constable Erika Paul.

She admitted the case may not have been uncovered had the veterinarian not been called to check on the problem with the cat. The charges were based on evidence from the veterinarian.

“Most of our investigations are complaint driven,” Paul said.

While fleas are common around Greater Victoria, serious infestations can be easy to spot, she said, by the animal constantly scratching, as well as humans sustaining numerous flea bites.

Infestations leading to death are more common in younger animals whose immune systems are not as developed, Paul said.

Maureen Silva, charged Tuesday after an investigation, makes her first court appearance Aug. 29 to face animal cruelty charges under the Criminal Code and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

If found guilty, she faces a fine of up to $10,000, a maximum of 18 months jail time and a prohibition on owning animals.

In general, it costs about $20 a month for dogs and $18 for cats to keep flea problems under control, Paul said.

“The bottom line is if they have a pet, take care of them,” she said. “If (the animal seems) uncomfortable, address that. There’s very effective flea products out there.”

editor@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Saanich councillor fears weed could crowd out food as greenhouses convert

Head of provincial association representing greenhouse vegetable farmers not worried about issue

Langford veteran rehab program takes multi-tiered approach to treating pain

Clinic ‘bio-psycho-social approach to healing’ from Victoria to the West Shore earlier this year

Experience automotive classics and more at the Vancouver Island Concours d’Elegance

Motorcar Weekend features Show and Shine, high-end Concours division, all for a great cause

Taking risks: Victoria theatre expert and author gains traction for his new model of tragedy

Edwin Wong releases Risk Theatre book, hosts successful global playwriting competition

Sunny skies ahead for Tuesday

Plus a look ahead at your week

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. seizes 1.5M grams contraband tobacco, down from 5.75M grams the year prior

The 2019-2020 seizures were a sharp drop compared to the 2018-2019 year,

B.C. Speaker tight-lipped about legislature security tour

B.C. Liberals question Alan Mullen’s drive across Canada, U.S.

Politicians say elections law restricting partisan ads is ‘absurd,’ ‘lunacy’

Election Canada’s choice to cite climate change as a specific example has left environment groups feeling muzzled

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Most Read