January 13, 2009 Halifax, NS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SPCA Clarifies Position on “By-Law A-300 – Respecting Animals”
In response to a multitude of recent inquiries by its membership and the general public, the Nova Scotia SPCA wishes to clarify its position on “By-Law A-300 – Respecting Animals.” Section 9(2) of By-Law A-300 states:
9(2) Where an Animal Control Officer has reason to believe that a dog has attacked a person or another animal, and the owner of the dog has been identified, the Animal Control Officer may do any one or combination of the following enforcement actions:
(a) issue the owner a notice to muzzle the dog,
(b) issue the owner a notice to microchip the dog,
(c) classify the dog as a ‘dangerous dog’ in the municipal registry, or
(d) destroy the dog without permitting the owner to claim it and issue the owner a notice informing that the dog has been destroyed.
“The Nova Scotia SPCA does not believe this to be a fair process because By-Law A-300 does not provide sufficient options for determining the outcomes of cases,” states Mary Hill, Secretary on the Board of Directors. “An employee acting on behalf of the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) should not have full authority to destroy a dog in such instances. While the SPCA is trying to work under the current HRM by-law and guidelines, we look forward to working with HRM to make positive changes in the future.”
The Nova Scotia SPCA believes that Halifax needs to be in line with other major cities in Canada; Halifax is currently one of the only cities that gives the sole authority to euthanize an animal to a city employee rather than a judge, and the current by-law does not provide an option for defense by a dog’s owner outside of costly legal action against the municipality.
“In addition,” Ms. Hill states, “the Nova Scotia SPCA wishes to clarify that in order to fulfill the contractual obligations of the current contract between the Metro Shelter and Animal Control Services, under specific verbal direction of the HRM, sections 15 and 16 of the contract prevent us from speaking publicly about, or allowing access to, HRM animals held in our care without permission from HRM.” The contract states:
15.0 PUBLIC INFORMATION/PROPRIETARY INFORMATION – The HRM is subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy provisions in Part XX of the Municipal Government Act, S.N.S. 1998, c. 18. To review the provisions of this act you may view it at http://www.gov.ns.ca/legi/legc/bills/57th_1st/3rd_read/b047(1).htm and go to Part XX FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND PROTECTION OF PRIVACY.
16.0 CONFIDENTIALITY – The SPCA agrees not to release or in any way cause to release any confidential information of the HRM unless they have been specifically approved to do so in writing by the HRM Project Manager or their designate.
The Nova Scotia SPCA continues to welcome and appreciate questions and concerns from their membership and the public and wishes to express their continued appreciation to their donors and supporters.
So - WOW - I am so happy to be a member of the NS SPCA right now - isn't everybody else who's a member of the NS SPCA happy to be a member, too? I think this is just amazing - that they've come out and actually said this. The fact that they agree that a "city employee" should NOT be jury, judge and executioner of our dogs - is so huge - that it's mind boggling - because it's TRUE - and that an organization has come out and said that they read A300 in that way should really tell HRM that the bylaw NEEDS to be rewritten and it's got to be done sooner rather than later.
It's bad legislation - and it's dangerous to every dog - and it's killing dogs that shouldn't be killed - because they're NOT dangerous. The city bureaucrats have way too much power - and I think a forensice audit should ALSO be done.
How many dogs HAVE they killed with this bylaw? I think we should also know that.
It is so wonderful that the NS SPCA has started the movement to the right things starting to happen - we can do so much now with this document in the way of lobbying the HRM administration - there's no way they can deny that they've got bad legislation when they have the province's only administrator of cruelty legislation telling them that A300 is full of shit. Beautiful.