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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Andrew Swanson was arrested Wednesday after he was wanted for an alleged choking assault and for obstructing police. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police arrest Andrew Swanson on warrants for alleged choking assault, obstruction

A member of the public spotted Swanson and called 911 before police came and made the arrest

(Black Press Media file photo)
Youth sustains minor injuries in stabbing at Saanich Plaza

Suspect under age of 16 taken into custody, no risk to the public, police say

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
West Shore proud owners of B.C.’s first electric school bus

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Sue Hodgson returns as publisher of the Peninsula News Review starting June 1. (Courtesy Sue Hodgson)
Peninsula News Review welcomes back Sue Hodgson as publisher

Dale Naftel takes helm of Oak Bay News as publisher

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

People line up for COVID-19 vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 27, 2021. Public health officials have focused efforts on the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
B.C. reports 1st vaccine-induced blood clot; 684 new COVID cases Thursday

Two million vaccine doses reached, hospital cases down

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,500 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

Most Read