In November 1893 the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in the local St. John’s newspaper the Evening Telegram published an article “enlisting the services of supporters throughout the colony.”
The article read: “The SPCA desires to enlist the services of its supporters throughout the colony in detecting and punishing cruelty, and, at this season, the practice of exposing old horses and other animals.” The article stated: “Worn out horses are often turned into the roads and woods to die of frost and starvation.”
The Executive of the SPCA were keen to stop this cruel practice and insisted that “the crime should be effectually stamped out.”
The SPCA which was established in Newfoundland in November 1888 was originally formed to eradicate this practice and other cruel hardships that the horses had to endure such pulling excessively heavy loads.
The Executive of the SPCA wrote to the readers of the Evening Telegram that “Without the watchful assistance of the public, the efforts of our agents must be of little effect.”
Since their founding in 1888 the SPCA had encouraged laws “wide enough to cover all cases that may arise, and the magistrates never fall in their duty when such cases come before them.” They proposed however that “While it is the duty of all Justices of the Peace to execute this law upon offenders, it is no less the duty of every citizen to prosecute cases coming to notice.”
In 1893 it was the hope that “branches of our Society (should be) formed in every outport where a Justice is within reach.”
To assist with establishing societies outside of St. John’s “Either Mr. Greene, Q.C. (Hon. Treasurer) or Mr. Johnson, Q.C. (Hon. Secretary) of the St. John’s Society will be ready at all times to assist in the formation of branch Societies an in instructing as to the method of prosecuting offenders.”
Recommended Archival Collection: At The Rooms Provincial Archives: MG 593 is the SPCA Collection 1912 -1927. It consists of correspondence; complaint books, and investigation reports into complaints of cruelty.
Recommended Song: Tickle Cove Pond. Allan Doyle (Great Big Sea). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SNScBpa4lc
Recommended Web Site: Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – http://www.spcanl.com/