By Rachel Fraser

According to a Facebook post last week, two children found the remains of a domestic cat in a garbage bag on a Valemount property, sparking concerns of animal cruelty.

Valemount RCMP Sergeant Robert Dean said the incident was reported to the detachment and immediately investigated, but they found no evidence of injury or cruelty.” 

“It had been there a very long time. It was pretty much mummified,” he said. 

RCMP concluded this was a family pet that had died of natural causes and was just improperly disposed of. 

If you believe an animal is being mistreated, it should be reported directly to the BC SPCA. The provincial Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act gives the BC SPCA authority to investigate and recommend charges.

The Village emphasized that they take animal cruelty very seriously, and the Animal Control Bylaw outlines a minimum standard of care for pets in the Village. CAO Eric Depenau said there had been no recent formal complaints about cats, and that cat-related complaints are generally low.” ” 

If your pet dies at home, due to an accident or natural causes, the Jasper & Valemount Veterinary Clinic offers cremation services for deceased pets. They say costs are dependent on the animal’s weight, and whether you choose to keep the ashes. Another alternative is a pet cemetery, such as the Pet Memorial Park outside of Prince George which offers burial or cremation, and full funeral services for your furry family member.

The costs of these professional services may be prohibitive to pet owners, so some good rules of thumb for those opting for a DIY burial are to bury your pet within 24-48 hours of its passing, or freeze the body until burial is possible to avoid decomposition, choose a spot away from a water source, check with the local utilities for buried lines under or around the location, and ensure that you’ve dug at least 2-4 feet deep to avoid the remains being dug up by other animals. Make sure to mark the location with stones or a monument and disclose it to future potential buyers of the property to avoid the grave being dug up accidentally by unsuspecting workers or gardeners.