Friday, February 16, 2018

Legal loophole for abusing dogs in Nova Scotia - let's close it!

We found out through a court case in Nova Scotia this week that it's actually legal to cause distress to a domestic animal because of a couple lines currently in the Animal Protection Act under the "Prevention of Cruelty to Animals" Section.

In there under Section 21(1) it says "No person shall cause an animal to be in distress - which is fabulous, but if you go to Section 21(4) it says "Subsections (1) and (2) do NOT apply if the distress, pain, suffering or injury results from an activity carried on in the practice of veterinary medicine or in accordance with reasonable and generally accepted practices of animal management, husbandry or slaughter or an activity exempted by the regulations.

This came to light this week because the NS SPCA had charged a dog breeder - Debbie Baggs - with cruelty to animals for docking the tails of her puppies - boxer puppies when they were a few days old - she had done it herself because in 2010 the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association had banned their members from performing the procedures of docking and cropping dogs for aesthetic purposes because it is an unnecessary medical procedure and  therefore against the oath of a medical professional.

For some reason though breeders who have these aesthetic's in their breed standards don't care - they think their dogs should look a certain way and they are willing to go to certain extents to have them look like their breed standards and they believe that they know what is best for the breed that they've chosen to nurture - and that includes veterinary professionals and the humane professionals tasked with determining what is distress and what isn't.

So Tuesday February 13th this court case was thrown out by the presiding judge because of Section 21(4) in the Animal Protection Act - the Judge believed this superseded the Federal Charge of "445 1(a) willfully causes or, being the owner, willfully permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or a bird"

Unfortunately the Judge didn't care whether or not the puppies were suffering or in distress - it says right in the Animal Protection Act under 21(4) that they ARE allowed to suffer and be in distress - just as long as they are suffering because of generally accepted practices of animal husbandry, animal management, or slaughter.

I think everyone who is not a breeder would understand that today this is not acceptable.  The Animal Protection Act is supposed to PROTECT domestic animals - not allow them to be in distress or pain.

And who decides what these practices of animal husbandry are?  And who decides who is proficient to perform these practices?  Am I as a dog owner qualified to do them?  What qualifies a breeder?

And regarding the slaughter part - does that mean it's okay to shoot your dog - and if you don't kill him on the first shot - does this section now make it legal to keep shooting until he's dead - he's definitely suffering because he's not dead - but section 21(4) makes it okay for him to suffer because you are allowed to let your animal suffer in cases of slaughter.

So this one paragraph of the Animal Protection Act I'm hoping a lot of people will agree is not good - and now that we've seen it can get people off who are causing animals distress - needs to be removed as soon as possible.

What I'm hoping that people will agree to - is to start a petition.

What we need to do is find an MLA - and I propose we approach Minister Keith Colwell since he's the MLA in charge of the Animal Protection Act - and ask if he'll submit a petition in support of having this paragraph in the Animal Protection Act removed.  If veterinarians in Nova Scotia are not allowed to perform these procedures - nobody else should be allowed to do them either.

In Nova Scotia the only accepted petitions in the Legislature are paper petitions.

Once Minister Colwell agrees to submit the petition - I will make another post asking people to disburse them and pass them out.

I am hoping to have the petition submitted to the Legislature this Fall.

The best case scenario is that when I contact Minister's Colwell's office is that he says we don't need a petition - he sees how egregious this is and it is going to be removed without any problems whatsoever - but if he says we need a petition - let's get this thing done!

Animals in Nova Scotia should not be legally allowed to suffer and be in distress!  This is just wrong - simply because breeders say they know more than veterinarian's and the general public.

Let's get this done!

This is the letter I'm sending to Minister Colwell:


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Is importing rescue dogs to Nova Scotia good or bad?

There is probably no other hot button topic in the world of dog rescue than the issue of whether or not it's okay to import dogs from areas of the world where dogs aren't treated as well as we treat them here.

In order to bring a dog into Canada currently - all you need is a rabies certificate - they do not need to be quarantined, they do not need a health certificate, basically they don't need anything - if they are younger than 8 months old there are a couple more things they need - but older than 8 months old if they have a rabies certificate - they can pretty much just walk in.

They are visually looked at by Border Services Personnel - so if they look visually ill they can be turned back at the border - but if they look healthy - they will be allowed in.

Thousands and thousands and thousands of dogs are imported into Canada via rescue organizations all across Canada every year - they come from all around the world - the United States, Iran, Cuba, Mexico, Korea, China - anywhere that there are excess dogs - we take them.

There is a belief that we don't have an overpopulation of dogs in Canada - and especially in Nova Scotia.  Because we are a no-kill province - the people who have started up rescues here tell people that we are actually short of dogs.

That is of course untrue.  But I'll get to that later.

Dogs being imported is happening all across Canada - it isn't unique to Nova Scotia - and some would say it's a problem all across the country, not just here - but I'm just going to talk about here.

Importing dogs on a large scale is really a recent phenonemon - probably the last five years, other than greyhound rescue which has been going on for a lot longer and I'm not going to talk about that because that's a different thing - they are excluded from this discussion.

There are two ways that dogs find their way into Canada - people go away on vacation, see a dog on the streets, fall in love and bring them home or see a dog at a rescue and adopt them and find a way to bring them home.  They aren't really a problem because their numbers aren't huge.

What is becoming a problem is rescues that have started that are large scale and are dedicated to importing dogs - they bring in at least 30 dogs at a time from away and don't seem to adequately prepare for the numbers of dogs they're bringing in.

One rescue in particular - a rescue in New Brunswick that brings their dogs in from Georgia - has at least 50% of their dogs infected with heartworm when they arrive, and the treatment that they give them is called the "slow kill" method so they still have the heartworm in their bodies for months after they arrive. They swear up and down that heartworm is not contagious because our weather is too cold - but heartworm is endemic in Maine - and I think you'll agree that Maine's weather isn't too much different than ours - so how can our weather be too cold?

And veterinarians disagree with their assertion that heartworm is not contagious - so I am going to believe a veterinarian over someone who runs a dog rescue.

And that is one of the big problems with importing dogs - the diseases that they bring with them that we don't have here - heartworm, rabies, Anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Ehrlichia - all diseases that are not native to us that have been seen by veterinarians in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia because of imported dogs - well we haven't had a case of rabies in dogs yet - but it'll probably be coming.

Another problem is that - almost all of the dogs coming from the United States are being pulled from euthanization lists - and we generally don't know why they were put on those lists.  And then they aren't properly behaviourally screened before they are put in vans and brought to our area.

So unfortunately we have had some cases of aggressive dogs that have been dogs who were imported from the southern United States.  And it doesn't matter what the breed of the dog is - it is my belief that any dog over a certain weight can do damage - it doesn't matter if it's a golden retriever, a husky, a german shepherd or a bulldog - if they have had life experiences that make them fearful and want to lash out - they are going to hurt you.

Hearts of the North Rescue in New Brunswick at the beginning of this year - was in the news because they had imported so many aggressive dogs that they said they were going to pause their adoptions - but they never slowed down - not even for one day.  They have such a strong belief in their mission - that they just couldn't do it.  And they have brought up more than 1,000 - maybe more dogs from the South.

Another problem with importing dogs is that it doesn't help the area where the dogs come from - if you take 100 dogs from a euthanization list in a kill shelter - another 100 dogs will fill that list the next day.  There is an overpopulation problem in the US - and we here in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are not going to solve that problem that is for sure.  Only the people in that area are going to solve the problem - with spaying and neutering, licencing of animals, closing down of puppy mills and backyard breeders and things like that - shipping excess animals to places like here is not going to solve their problem.

There are 30 million people in all of Canada and 30 million people in the state of California - do you think that Canada is going to solve California's overpopulation's problem?   There are 28 million people in Texas and 900,000 people in Nova Scotia - do you think Nova Scotia is going to solve Texas's overpopulation problem?  I don't think so, as much as we might want to.

The people who are running these rescue's that have sprouted up who are importing dogs may think they have the best interest's of the dogs in mind - but a lot of them just seem to be in over their head.  They are bringing in 30 dogs at a time - and as the dogs arrive - they post to Facebook begging for food and collars and leashes - you'd think that they'd ask for that food 2 weeks before the dogs arrived - not as they arrive.

And when you look on Google - there is 4,043 kms between Harvey Texas and Halifax Nova Scotia - this picture shows how 26 dogs were transported between these 2 cities - how this van made it over the border I have no idea.  And how they all arrived healthy is another question.

Another thing that no one wants to talk about, is money.  Some rescues are making a lot of money off  of importing dogs.  Most of these dogs are being spayed and neutered and vaccinated at their place of origin, and then transported here for free - and then the rescue here is charging a minimum of a $400 adoption fee - and asking the public for donations of food, leashes and everything else that they need and doing constant go-fundme's asking for donations to their email addresses - and they aren't CRA registered, so none of their donations can be tracked.  There is a term for this, and it's called "retail rescue" and it has reared it's ugly head in Nova Scotia and has to be acknowledged.

So the last thing is - what does this mean for dogs in Nova Scotia who need to be rescued?

It means they have to go on waiting lists because there are no spaces for them.  There are now a lot more dogs in Nova Scotia than there were before - not every time that an imported dogs gets rescued does it stay in its original home so sometimes it needs to be rescued a second time - and sometimes that dog ends up at an SPCA or a pound and not back at the rescue who imported it - and there have been a few times that the dogs has become ill and the importer rescue couldn't handle it and signed it over to a local rescue who took on the onerable financial task of getting the dog healthy before adopting it out.  This has happened.

As well - imported dogs are very sexy and have sad back stories so people tend to want to donate money to them - making for less money donated to local rescues - and there is also less money to go around to much needed local rescue dogs - so local rescues suffer.

So after all this - what can we do about it?

The Canadian Medical Veterinary Association has a Position Statement on the Importation of Dogs that is a very good read - it's at https://www.canadianveterinarians.net/documents/importation-of-dogs-into-canada-position-statement

It says in part:

"There is limited regulatory control of importation of dogs into Canada. Animal health-related requirements are currently limited to a veterinary certificate of health and/or a rabies vaccination certificate depending on the age of the dog and whether the importation is classified as personal or commercial (10). Beyond this, no particular disease risks associated with the country of origin are considered when deciding whether or not a dog is eligible to enter Canada. In addition, in some source countries it may not be possible to confirm if the required certificates were in fact issued by a licensed veterinarian."
Changes need to happen regarding importation to dogs - behavioural screening needs to be done at their point of origin, their health must be cleared, quarantines must be carried out at their point of origin - we have to think about the dogs that are here first before we try to save the dogs that are everywhere in the world.  We can save them - but not at the cost of our own.

We have the biggest hearts in the world, there is no doubt about that, but sometimes we also need to think with our heads too.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Nova Scotia bans the declawing of cats in January 2018

Nova Scotia is an interesting province - our population is only a little over 900,000 people - the whole population of Canada is less than the population of California - but here in Nova Scotia we have a lot of pride in the place that we live in.

Some people who don't live here may think that we are a backwards society since we seem to be living on the edge of North America - physically we almost seem to be like a big mole hanging off the continent - but in reality when it comes to some things we are a lot more advanced than almost any other place.

And one of those things - especially in the last 10 years - is animal advocacy.

In the last ten years Nova Scotia has become a "no kill" province, we have no pet stores that sell puppies or kittens, we banned the continuous tethering of dogs in 2014, in 2009 we banned the cropping and docking of dogs, and just this month the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association disallowed it's members to perform the elective declawing of cats.  We are the first province or state in North America to do this and that's amazing.

There are some municipal governments in California and a couple other places who have banned it - but it's only cities - no large area like us has done this.

Dog people are crazy - but there is definitely something to be said for cat people - and a lot of this advocacy was done by the Tuxedo Party of Canada Cat Welfare Society who have been unwavering over their years in their hard work with feral cats, tnr and the declawing issues.

Now they are moving to take this issue Canada wide and I hope they succeed - if we did this to humans it would have been outlawed decades ago because it is just that barbaric.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Things seem to be moving in a positive direction for off-leash exercise in the HRM

If you didn't know - HRM City Council talked for quite awhile today about off leash parks today.  Not for quite as long as they talked about orange flags at crosswalks - which they talked about FOREVER, but they talked about off leash parks for quite awhile - and good things were said, which is awesome.

And a 29 page staff report was made for the discussion - and it said positive things, which is rare for staff reports when it comes to dogs - usually staff has historically not like dogs - so I was happy to read the report.

The report is recommending new off leash dog parks in several communities around the HRM because they have determined that the off leash dog parks we currently have are horribly over-used because too many people use them - especially Shubie Park - it is a victim of it's own success - and the Mainlands Commons Dog Park (my words) is just one big dust bowl because so many people use it that no lawn or anything can take root because of all the dogs who are forced to go there.

Currently in the HRM - as the report states, there are "seven year-round off-leash areas located in major urban parks, plus one small dedicated off-leash area for service dogs. Each major OLA has been located in a park that can support multiple recreation uses due to the park size, configuration, amenities, and environmental conditions. The size of each OLA (off leash area) varies widely, and provides variable active recreation options for dog owners. Six of the off-leash areas include walking trails of varied length, which encourages greater activity and exercise by dog owners, as opposed to those OLA’s where there are no trails and dog owners tend to engage in more passive use. Some parks have limited hours of use for all or part of the OLA. Two of the off-leash areas are supplemented by seasonal off-leash sports fields.

There are also 28 sports fields designated for seasonal (timed summer and/or winter) off-leash use.
Seasonal OLAs are established on sports fields that are not scheduled in the off-season, or on fields that are underused at certain hours of the day in the playing season. The fields supplement the primary network of permanent OLAs and are limited in the level of service they can provide.  All of these off-leash areas have generally been well received and attract hundreds of people each week from communities across HRM. Some of the parks serve as major regional destinations for dog owners and experience heavy or even excessive use at peak times."

So that is the sum total of current space that is legal off leash space for the dog owners of the HRM - except of course for us wily dog owners who have been able to figure out where crown land is within the HRM of course - and those of us who know are usually not willing to divulge those secrets (snicker).

I have to mention here about the Calgary model - which everyone always flouts whenever any dog subject comes up.  They have ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY off leash dog spaces within their city - a fact that they brag is probably unlike any other city in North America and they are pretty proud of that fact and they should be.

They know that when you give dog owners access to legal spaces - they are probably not going to break the law - like we do here in the HRM and basically take our dogs off leash illegally all over Long Lake Provincial Park, the Halifax Commons, and tons of other spaces.

So I bet it's killing you where city staffer's are suggesting to make the new dog parks?

They are suggesting -

"Spryfield Area- The Province has approached HRM with an offer to place some crown land in the
area of Long Lake Provincial Park under HRM control for the purpose of establishing an OLA. This
would assist the province in controlling the ongoing problem of dogs being off-leash which is a
prohibited activity in provincial parks. This offer presents an excellent opportunity to address both
provincial and municipal needs and should be carefully considered. If deemed appropriate, the goal
would be to manage that portion of crown land as a municipal park where off-leash activity is
permitted.

Cole Harbour - the former Rehabilitation Centre lands on Bissett Road are the subject of the HRM
Cole Harbour Basin Open Space Plan, and it is appropriate to consider an OLA on some portion of
the site.

Eastern Passage – The Eastern Passage Common on Caldwell Road offers an option that can be
considered for that community, although other appropriate sites may also exist. This would need to
be considered as part of an overall Eastern Passage Common Master Plan, which had been deferred
pending completion of the new school. Alternatively, approximately 1.5 km away there is a largely
undeveloped 20+ acre park parcel at the intersection of Caldwell Road and Hines Road, adjacent to
the Trans Canada Trail, that may be suitable for use as an OLA given the lack of nearby residential
land uses.

Dartmouth – Shubie Park is a major OLA area with a regional draw that may be operating beyond its
capacity. There is also an OLA on the Dartmouth Common; however, it has limited capacity and
serves a small area. To overcome these challenges, a dedicated OLA should be provided, and
consideration given to providing an additional off-leash area with lake access. There are existing
municipal parks in Burnside Business Park that could be appropriate for development of a dedicated
off-leash area."

So this is very pie in the sky talking from the city - we dog owners have been dealing with the city now for a very long time when it comes to off leash exercise and our dogs - we have watched them close - at the time - the only completely fenced in dog park - Robert Park Drive Dog Park - because one person complained to the city, and we watched the city threaten dog owners over and over and over - and even threaten to close Point Pleasant Park to dogs over poop issues - so we have very little good will built up with the city when it comes to city staff - and we pay (very high) taxes - the same as every other user of city services.

If this is an issue that is important to you - I'd suggest you contact your HRM Councillor and tell them that off leash exercise is something that's important to you - and you'd like to see expanded services around the city.

This staff report released today is a very good sign (hopefully) of things to come - and we can only hope that it doesn't die - and the way that it won't die is if dog owners stay noisy.

So STAY NOISY DOG OWNERS!


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Meeting a sloth is not a good thing!

I have to say that I was pretty horrified yesterday to see it pop up on my timeline in facebook the headline "Meet a sloth! Halifax - Diversity of Living Things" Hosted by Little Ray's Reptile Zoo - so I clicked on the link - which I am not going to provide because I don't want to give them any extra publicity for their event - and when I went to it I saw that indeed - they actually had a live sloth that they were pimping out that they called "an educational animal" that they had acquired - they said from a captive bred facility in the United States just so that they could show people how fabulous these animals were.  They said "leaving wild animals in the wild are one of the main messages at their events".

When I dug deeper to find out more about "Little Ray's Reptile Zoo" it would seem that there are several franchises of this organization and there are zoo's in Ottawa, Hamilton, Nova Scotia, and there is a page for "United States" - but all it says on that page is that they are "expanding" and that if you want to book an exhibit to contact their Ottawa location.  It also lists a Newfoundland location - but when you click on that page - it comes up as page not found.

For the Nova Scotia page - it lists Lisa and David Janes as being the owner of that franchise - who own "Blue Nose Reptiles".

I have no doubt that the Janes are committed reptile rescuer's and have a great love for the animals that they are committed to - but there are some species that do not belong to roving pet shows - and sloths and their type are one of them.

Looking at Little Ray's facebook page it appears that the sloth - and I can't see anywhere that they've said what this sloth's name is - has shared ownership between the different franchises - and I only went back to the beginning of October - and since that time has been part of TWENTY FIVE - educational days around Ontario, New Brunswick and PEI.  That is a shit-load of public appearances I have to say.

This poor animal is a huge money maker for these franchises - so I can understand if pointing out this fact is going to get some blow back from this money making "educational group".

You may ask - why do I have a problem with this?

The problem I have with this is that sloths are very beautiful and when people see wild animals like this up close a lot of people are going to go "OH MY GOD - this animal is so cute - I WANT ONE." 

And then what's going to happen?  These captive bred organizations who are only breeding for these "educational facilitys" are going to start breeding for pet populations.

There is a huge demand down in the States for cute little monkey's - and guess what - people are able to buy them from people who breeding them in captive bred facility's - remember Darwin in Toronto who was found outside the Ikea in Toronto?  I wonder where he came from?

If there is a need for something - someone is going to provide it.

NO ONE needs to see a live sloth - you can see all the ones you need on the internet.  PERIOD.

Please do not give any money to Little Ray's Reptile Zoo with their live baby sloth.

Please.  You are giving them blood money - what will they show you next if this is a success?

I can only guess.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Funny story - remember that time you left your dog in a locked, parked car by himself for 2 months?

Of course you don't remember - you aren't a psychopath who would let their dog starve to death, alone and abandoned in a car in a rarely used parkade in the middle of Halifax Nova Scotia.

But Bethany MacLean did - and she's now charged under section 445.1.1 (a) of the Criminal Code for willfully causing unnecessary suffering, or injury to an animal. MacLean was also charged under section 446 (b) of the criminal code for failing to provide suitable and adequate food, water, shelter and care for it.

For some reason she saw fit to abandon her dog for 2 months in her car in the Staples underground parking lot  and the poor thing starved to death.  That parking lot is barely used so probably no one ever heard his barks and he just slowly died.  I can't imagine a worse death.

The NS SPCA said that when they did a necropsy on him that he had garbage in his stomach - he probably tore the inside of the car to pieces and ate it trying to fill his stomach poor thing - and that "due to the condition of the dog, the Nova Scotia SPCA’s chief provincial inspector, Jo-Anne Landsburg, says it appeared the dog had been in the car “for a very long time.”"

It's amazing that something this evil could happen here in Nova Scotia - it goes against every value that we hold most dear - respect for every living creature, love for animals, caring for everyone and everything we come upon - I can't believe that no one came upon this animal in the two months he was in the car - but somehow no one did.

Bethany MacLean is going to be going to trial in April 2018 - I hope at a bare minimum she gets a prohibition on ever owning an animal again in her lifetime, and a sizable fine - due to horrific nature of this crime - I don't think a jail sentence would be out of order - depending on which judge is giving this file I think it may happen - which would be amazing.

I plan on attending the trial if my health is okay because the thing will be very interesting to bear witness to for this poor dog who had no say in his horrible death.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"How to Solve the Cat Crisis" - which crisis exactly are you talking about?

I went to a talk tonight at Saint Mary's University because I was interested in what was going to be talked about. It was advertised as "Responsible pet ownership - how to solve the cat crisis" - but when you read about it in some places it seemed like it was going to be a shit show about cats killing birds and it turns out that that was exactly about - "experts" talking about how many millions of birds cats kill every year in Canada and what could be done about it.

The speakers were the manager of Animal Services for a suburb of Toronto - Vaughaun Ontario, Susan Kelly - she talked the longest and obviously did no research whatsoever on animal welfare in Nova Scotia because she lauded the fact that out west some pet stores were now not selling puppies in their pet stores and were now only offering rescue animals in conjunction with their local rescues.

If she would have done a simple google search she would have found out that Nova Scotia hasn't had animals in pet stores since about 2011 and has only had kittens and cats in pet stores from local rescues.  We are an absolute leader in the country when it comes to animal advocacy.

I went and read their bylaw and they have a definition of a certain type of a dog called an "aggressive breed of a dog" and you can guess which breeds that cover.

It also has a section on tethered animals - and there's no limit on how long the animal can be tethered so it can be out 24/7 365 days a year unobstructed.

As well - a dog can be declared "vicious" based on one bite - and there are pretty heinous conditions that the dogs have to live under once they've been declared this - dogs that are an aggressive breed of dog have to live this way from birth without exception - and if either of these types of dogs get out of their enclosures and are found running at large - neither of them will be returned to their owner - they will automatically be euthanized.

They also have a pet limit law - 3 dogs and 3 cats.  Susan Kelly said that it was decided on that number because it seemed that was a number people could reasonably take care of.

I have a few things to say about that.

Tonight's talk ostensibly was supposed to be about the overpopulation crisis - how is putting a pet limit on the number of cats a person owns going to help the overpopulation of cats? I'm not saying that a person should own 20 cats - but if a person wants to own 6 cats and they have the ability to feed, vet and has the space for that amount of cats - why can't they have that many - especially if they are all indoor cats and aren't being a menace to the community.

A person asked the question tonight - "what if the city found out that a person had more than 3 cats - would they have to get rid of the number of cats that were over the quota of 3?" and Susan Kelly said yes they would.  I think that is just ridiculous.

Another thing that pet limits do - and this is also the same as mandatory spay/neuter laws do - which is why that is also bad - is that it turns normal pet owners into criminals - a person who just has 4 cats drop into their lap over time for whatever reason and we all know that there are a million reasons how we have acquired our animals - and now we have 4 cats - and suddenly we are a criminal in the city of Vaughan Ontario.  Ridiculous don't you think?

2 other speakers - a man named Peter who I didn't get his name and I don't know who he is because his name wasn't on the speakers list talked specifically about how many birds are killed every year in Canada by birds.  He said that 100-350 million birds are killed each year by cats.  He said that cats are the biggest and only predator of birds.

He tiptoed very lightly around what could be some answers to the problem of cats killing birds - the first suggestion is one that everyone can agree on which is to keep cats indoors - every responsible pet owner really does do this already - and for feral cats he suggested "reducing overall size of their population".  In the question and answer section I asked him how he would suggest that we do that reduction and he wouldn't answer that question - he said that up to people in the audience to come up with the answer - so he worked his way out of that problem!

He's a bird person, not a cat person obviously so how the cat people solve the feral cat problem is their problem - just do it!

Hope Swinimer also talked and I'm not going to say too much about that other than I don't understand why she was there - she hates cats because she thinks they are killing all the birds; and she runs Homeward Bound Pound which isn't mandated to accept any cats unless they are grievously injured.

So now let's talk about the Ecology Action Centre - I have known about them for years but I just didn't know anything about them - tonight I went to their website to have a look around.  Did you know they have 40 full and part time employees?  How does a local NGO have that many employees? Where are they getting that much money from?  Think of what an animal rescue could do with that much money?

I found out tonight that they have a staff member who is now dedicated to the cat overpopulation problem which is awesome - they had a handout - and obviously as a person who is new to animal advocacy some of the things in the handout need to be addressed - so I'm going to do that.

"It is estimated that there are 98,000 owned cats in the HRM".  Below this in the facts section it says that 37% of Canadians own one or more cats which is true and if that's true then the 98,000 is wrong because there are 414,129 people in the Halifax Regional Municipality which means there are 153,220 owned cats in HRM which is significantly more than 98,000

In the Facts section it says "cats pose a serious human health hazards...cat scratch disease, intestinal worms."  So what are we talking about again?  Are we talking about cat overpopulation or cat extinction?  If cats posed a serious human health hazard then we would hear about people getting sick from cats - that would be a very newsworthy item - the tv people would love to run with stories like that - but you never hear about stories like that - so I don't believe that cats pose serious human health hazards - in fact I think it's quite the opposite - they help our health and in many cases are one of the few things that keep up sane.

Also in the Facts section it says "One unspayed female...exponential growth of cat populations" - again - if this were true the streets would be filled with cats and kittens.  Note to the person who wrote this briefing note - if you are going to write something as a fact - first, make sure it's true.

In the section about the Application of Municipal Bylaws as Part of the Solution the person who wrote this briefing note obviously does not understand some things about the HRM when it is espousing about Calgary.

Both the NS SPCA and Homeward Bound Pound are No Kill - saving more than 90% of the animals they take in, and that includes cats.  It's my udnerstanding that AC in the HRM does the free drive home for microchipped found animals.

The NS SPCA has a wildly successful spay and neuter clinic in both Dartmouth and Sydney and both offer low cost spay and neuter for people who can't afford it otherwise.

It also says that communities like Vaughan run regular microchip clinics for $45.  Here in the HRM local rescues regularly run microchip clinics - Marley's Hope, Sonya's Healing Animal Society, along with Homeward Bound are always running clinics and the cost has mostly been about $20 and the money goes to the rescue which is awesome.

I've always been a big believer in microchipping your animals and I still am, but I had a conversation tonight with a person I really respect - Linda Felix who runs Spay Day Nova Scotia - and she deals with a big transient population in Spryfield and housing projects because she offers free and low cost spay and neuters for cats so she deals with a certain demographic and she says for people like that microchipping just doesn't work because people in that community move around so much so if their pets get lost and are found and the vet or the pound scan their microchip - it's not good - so for a big segment of society - microchipping is completely useless.

The only way Linda sees to solve the overpopulation crisis is spay and neuter - lower the population - make animals more scarce and you'll solve the problem - and that is the mission of Linda's life with Spay Day Nova Scotia - which is awesome.

So long story short - if the Ecology Action Centre wants to solve the cat crisis - they might want to start talking to some cat people and not bird people - because if they continue on that tack then they will just become like PETA and want the extermination of the species.

Maybe that's what they are looking for - and if that's the case - then just come out and say it right now so the cat people can get back to what they do best - trap cats, get them vetted, spay and neuter them, adopt the friendly ones and return the cats to colonies that are monitored or give the cats to farmers who have barns that need cats - and educate pet owners about keeping their cats indoors.

Cat people are a rare breed - they are the most patient humans when it comes to cats - they'll sit in their cars for 15 hours with a string attached to a box waiting for a feral cat to go in the trap that they've set up so they can catch him, but tell them that they can only own 3 cats - and watch out - you are going to have some problems - and that's pretty fabulous.

Nova Scotia has crazy dog people and crazy cat people - probably unlike anywhere in Canada - and we are making progress when it comes to cats - you just need to ask the right people. Give me 2 minutes and I'll point you in the right direction.



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Case in Calgary highlights the shortfalls on the Nova Scotia Justice system for animals

You may have noticed on your facebook timeline in the last day this picture of the 200 pound leonberger in Calgary who was being transported (illegally) on the flatbed of a trailer in Calgary.  His owner has been charged with causing an animal to be in distress, transporting an animal outside the cab of a vehicle, and other charges.

This is fabulous, and I'm very happy to see this.  In April of 2017 I observed a bernese mountain dog being transported in the back of a truck here in Halifax - in the Bayer's Lake park and then the truck went onto the 102 bicentennial highway and reached a speed of 100 kms of hour before exiting the highway and that's where I left them.  I took a short video to get evidence and took a couple pictures.

I then contacted the NS SPCA who said that they were going to charge the person because you could see the person's licence plate - so that was enough to identify the person and contact them - because it is illegal in Nova Scotia to transport a dog in the back of a truck unless it is in a secure enclosure like a crate.  It is written into the regulations - here - and it says:

Standards of care for transporting animals
9 (1) A person must not transport an animal in the trunk of a motor vehicle.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a motor vehicle, such as a station wagon, passenger van, sport-utility vehicle or hatchback model, that does not have a closed area as its main storage compartment.
(3) A person must not transport an animal in a motor vehicle outside the passenger compartment unless the animal is confined or secured
(a) in a container that meets the requirements of subsection (4); and
(b) in a manner that prevents the animal from experiencing injury or distress, falling off the vehicle or otherwise injuring itself or causing a hazard to other vehicles.

In the Summary Offence Schedule that relates to Animal Offences - for causing an animal to be in distress for the first offence is $410.00 - and leaving an animal unattended or in conditions in a vehicle that could cause distress - is $697.50 - so there are definitely tickets that can be written for people who drive with their dogs loose in the back of trucks.

I gave a detailed statement to my contact at the NS SPCA and they thanked me very much - they had previously charged this same person a couple weeks previous with the same offence and were going to charge them a second time - he had a court date for the first offence of June 7th and for my offence it was going to be some time in August.

On July 21st I got an email from my contact at the NS SPCA with bad news.

The Crown Attorney's office had decided not to go ahead with the charges for three reasons:

1. Not in the publics interest.
2. Unable to establish conclusive suspect identification.
3. Dog does not appear to be in distress.

So even though something is against the law in Nova Scotia - if the Crown decides that it's not in the public's interest - ie it doesn't have to do with humans (I guess) - the Crown isn't interested in following up.

They weren't able to establish conclusive suspect identification - we had the licence plate - but we couldn't say who was driving the truck - it could have been anyone I guess.

The dog does not appear to be in distress - I guess the Crown Prosecutors - and not the NS SPCA knows what defines stress.

The owner of the dog DID completely claim his guiltiness because he agreed to donate $100 to the NS SPCA .

So the Crown Attorney's and Justice Department in Nova Scotia once again showed that they don't care about the animals of Nova Scotia OR following the laws that are in place to protect the animals of Nova Scotia.

This to me is unacceptable - and when we see the same laws that are on the books across Canada being enforced it is just completely maddening.

I think it's times like this when stories show up in the media that it's a great time to contact our MLA's and point out that our Justice System should be enforcing the laws that we have here but aren't protecting our animals like they are across Canada.

Why - if it's illegal to have dogs in the back of trucks - aren't the laws being enforced?  And that is not a rhetorical question.

Here is the article from the Chronicle Herald about the dog in Calgary:

Calgary-area man charged after social media photo of dog tied to flatbed truck

CALGARY — A Calgary-area man is facing charges after a photo of dog tethered to a flatbed trailer began circulating on social media.

Calgary police, the Calgary Humane Society and Rocky View County began an investigation shortly after the photo surfaced on Oct. 28.

Brad Nichols of the humane society says transporting dogs in the bed of trucks is extremely dangerous for dogs.

He says they risk falling off and are exposed to extreme weather.

Nichols says it was even more dangerous for the dog in this case because the flatbed truck had no side rails to keep him on the trailer.

Volodymyr Irodenko of Rocky View County was charged Saturday with causing an animal to be in distress, transporting an animal outside the cab of a vehicle and other charges.

Here is an article from Metro back in April about the man who was charged with having his dog in the back of a truck:

Halifax man charged for letting dog roam free in back of pickup

A Halifax man who let his dog roam free in the back of his moving pick-up truck and a Queens County woman who docked puppy tails are facing charges under Nova Scotia’s Animal Protection Act.

In a media release, the Nova Scotia SPCA said Halifax resident Murray Newton is charged with “causing distress to an animal by transporting a dog in the back of a pick-up truck without being secured in a carrier.”

Newton is also charged with failing to provide reasonable protection from injurious cold.

He is scheduled to appear in Halifax court on June 7.

“The regulations are very clear in the Act that states that a person must not transport an animal in a motor vehicle outside the passenger compartment unless the animal is in a secured container or in a manner that prevents distress to the animal,” Jo-Anne Landsburg, chief provincial inspector of the Nova Scotia SPCA said in the release.

Debbie Baggs, 44, of Hunts Point has been charged for docking puppies’ tails “causing distress to the animals.” She faces two counts of animal cruelty and is scheduled to appear in Dartmouth court on June 7.

The Nova Scotia SPCA said the practice of docking dog tails was provincially banned in 2010 by the Nova Scotia Veterinary Association.

Veterinarians are not permitted to perform the procedure for cosmetic reasons.

“Docking is a medical procedure to remove part of the dog’s tail. It is often done by snipping the tail off with scissors or by placing a special band on the tail to cut off blood supply causing the tail to fall off,” Landsburg said in a media release.




Friday, October 27, 2017

When is it time to give up your dog to a rescue?

This week a woman by the name of Sarah Roberts was sentenced to a 10 year prohibition on owning animals after she was found to have 2 dogs who were in dire need of having medical care.

The Chronicle Herald article says that one of the dogs - a rottweiller - was actually screaming out in pain when the SPCA special constables were on scene at Ms. Robert's home - and the other dog had a large tumour on his chest that was making it difficult for him to breathe.

What a visual this gives you, doesn't it?  Can you imagine living in a place where these 2 sentient beings are living there with you?  Where these two living beings are breathing the same air and being in such pain - and you are just letting it continue?

This woman was in charge of these 2 animals - they depended on her for their survival and she allowed them to continue to suffer in silence.  All because she didn't feel like she had the money to pay for their veterinary care.

And that brings up the question that we all face at one time or another - can we afford to keep the animals that we live with?

I have a bichon frise who I've had since he was six months old - a rescue from a puppy mill so he has horrible genetics and in the last year I've had both of his knees replaced - it has cost me $8,000 and I'm on a fixed income - I can't afford that - so I remortgaged my home, sold pretty much everything that wasn't tied down and put the rest on a credit card which I'll be paying off for the rest of my life - at the same time one of my other dogs has also been sick which has cost quite a bit of money and added to my financial woes.

But I am willing to spend that money and I"d do it again - what's the alternative? Watching my poor little dog who depends on me lose the ability to walk?  That would be absolutely cruelty.

When you are faced with a medical crisis with your dog there are things that can be done - you can be like me and sell personal possessions you don't need, you could look to family members to see if they'll lend you money, you could have yard sales and sell baked goods, you could do something major and remortgage your house (which I did), you could do what a lot of people do and start a gofundme to raise funds and fundraise for your vet bills, there are also a lot of vets offices that offer financing for vet bills now - so you can do that and pay off the vet bill over time.

And then the last alternative is - giving up your animal(s) to the NS SPCA - if after all of these suggestions your animal still is not receiving the veterinary care they need to live their life healthily - then you are committing cruelty to your animal and something needs to be done - you cannot continue to do that to your animal.

You need to do the right thing and give that animal up so they can have a hope of a good life - not with you, but with someone who will spend the money to get them healthy and then keep them that way.  If you truly love that animal you will do this for them.

Not like Ms. Roberts - because both of those dogs who were sick had to be euthanized - if she would have acted sooner it probably would not have been that outcome.

I hope this conviction will be a wake up call to people who love their dogs, and think they are doing right by them by giving them coconut oil and tumeric and raw food - but they are being eaten alive by mange that could be cured by some simple veterinary intervention - but for some reason these people don't think that a vet can help their dog who doesn't have an inch of clear skin on their body. (this is a true story by the way)

Here is the Chronicle Herald Article:

Woman banned for 10 years from owning animals after two dogs euthanized

ANDREW RANKIN THE CHRONICLE HERALD

One of the dogs — a Rottweiler mix — was screaming in pain, partially paralyzed and unable to get up.

The other, a boxer mix, had cancer — a large mass on its chest severely restricting the dog’s ability to breathe.

That was what Nova Scotia SPCA workers were confronted with at a Chester Basin home last September. Both animals had to be euthanized.

Their owner, Sarah Roberts, is banned from owning animals for the next 10 years, a sentence she received last Friday after pleading guilty to permitting an animal to be in distress, a violation of the Animal Protection Act of Nova Scotia.

“Considering the distress that these animals were in, she failed to provide them with any sort of relief,” said Jo-Anne Landsburg, Nova Scotia SPCA’s chief inspector. “It is our belief that they had been like that for some time. Failing to reach out to anyone would say it was a severe case of neglect.”

What makes this case particularly tragic for Landsburg is how easily it could have been prevented. She urged people who are unable to care for their pets to turn their animals over to the SPCA. The organization is equipped to find treatment for sick animals until they find suitable homes.

“Unfortunately, we see a lot of these cases where animals are sick or injured and sometimes, I’m not sure if it’s applicable to this case, it’s a lack of affordable veterinarian care . . . So they will try to treat it themselves or they simply will not take the animal to the vet. It’s very sad.”

But Landsburg said it’s no excuse.

“You can always reach out to the SPCA. It would be better to surrender your animal than to leave them suffering in pain and distress.”

Roberts was ordered to turn over her other dog, a beagle, to the SPCA. The animal ended up overnighting at Brian Truelove’s kennel business, Oceanmark K-9 Resort in Chester Basin, before being transferred to the Halifax SPCA on Wednesday.

Truelove, who also serves as the animal control officer for the Town of Lunenburg as well as the Lunenburg, Mahone Bay and Chester municipalities, said the dog appeared healthy and happy.

But he also said the punishment Roberts received fit the crime.

“If I had a dollar for every dog that I had to take in myself and re-home, I’d be a rich man,” said Truelove.

“The public needs to be better informed that there is the SPCA and animal rescue organizations throughout this province where you can go if you can’t look after your dog. Take it to the SPCA and sign it over to them. Give it a chance.”

In his role as animal control officer, Truelove said, he’s repeatedly dealing with cases where pet owners attempt to abandon their animals by reporting them as stray.

In some cases, he has taken on the responsibility of caring for the animals himself.

“Sometimes you have to do it, because it is a problem of animal neglect in this province. Part of the solution is raising awareness about it.”

Saturday, October 14, 2017

What is life like for a tethered dog in Nova Scotia in 2017

What is life like for a tethered dog in Nova Scotia in 2017?  You can judge it one way - this week I shut down my rescue - No Chains All Love - where I rescued dogs who were tethered out 24/7 - Nova Scotia doesn't need a dog rescue that solely focuses on those types of dogs anymore.

When I started the rescue back in 2013 people were hesitant rescue and foster chained dogs - they thought that the dogs would piss everywhere in their house and that they'd be impossible to rehabilitate and become normal house dogs - but I proved over and over and over that dogs who were tethered outside 24/7 were amazing dogs - they were really easy to house train - it was like they knew that outside was where they were supposed to go because that's where they had gone their whole lives.  Other dogs who come into rescue who have pissed inside their whole lives - THOSE dogs are hard to house train - but chained dogs are the opposite.

And the personalities of chained dogs are amazing - when you bring them inside they are so grateful - they have been waiting their whole lives for someone to love and to have someone love them - so really, the biggest problem with them is separation anxiety - they don't ever want to be anywhere but by your side.

At one point I rescuing almost a dog a week - and they were all fabulous dogs - happy, got along with other dogs and completely photogenic.

And then finally - in December 2014 the legislation that many of us had worked so long for - came through - it was illegal to chain a dog outside for any longer than 12 hours a day - and then you had to bring the dog inside for 12 hours.

It doesn't sound great - but it gave the NS SPCA a reason to visit the owner's home if they received a complaint that someone believed the dog was being tied out 24/7 - and then the SPCA could inspect where the dog was living and do a health check - because the new regulations that were passed in December 2014 also gave specific body conditions that weren't allowed anymore - like the dog's coat had to be in good condition and their nails were not allowed to be long.

So now the SPCA could seize dogs - or give the owner conditions that they had to improve the life of the dog - and they have totally stepped and if someone believes that a dog is being tied out longer than 12 hours at a time they will visit the home - and if the dog needs seizing - they will seize the dog.

Are dogs still being tied out 24/7 in Nova Scotia?  Absolutely - but all it takes to make it stop happening for each of those dogs is for someone to be that dog's saviour - and to have a call made to the NS SPCA at 1-888-703-7722 and visit that dog - and hopefully the right thing will happen for that dog.

So after four years and many many rescued dogs - I have shut down my rescue - "No Chains All Love" - it was fun to have and I met a lot of nice people - I couldn't have done it without the volunteers that I had who believed in the cause of freeing chained dogs, and to my vet Westwood Hills - and also to Camp Bow Wow who fostered several dogs for me when I could't find fosters and for whatever reason I couldn't foster the dog myself - they always stepped up for me - they are awesome.

I think that chained dogs are the best dogs - I found that they are blank slates - whatever age they were when they are put out - whether it's 10 weeks or 3 months - that's the mental age they are when you bring them back inside - so if your dog was put out at three momths - when they are rescued at 5 years or whatever - you have a mentally 3 month old dog in a 5 year old's body - they are fascinating to watch.

We are lucky here in Nova Scotia to have this legislation - some say that it should be a lot stricter but I think that it's good enough - it IS getting the dogs off of the chains and that's all you want and need - it is legislation that is enforcable and that is the best kind of legislation.

If we had legislation that banned tethering altogether we would turn everybody who chains their dogs out into law breakers and they would start keeping their dogs in their basements, or just kill their dogs, or build fences around their dogs so no one could see them - there's no end to what people would do - but they'd still tie their dog out - that is a for sure thing.

A last thing - along with the NS SPCA stepping up - other rescues have also stepped up - they now see that chained dogs are awesome dogs and that they aren't any different than the other dogs that they rescue - they aren't going to be difficult to adopt out - like every other dog - they are an individual and should be treated that way.

I hope in some small way I showed that chained dogs are great dogs - they aren't any different than any other dog - they aren't perfect - but our own dogs aren't perfect either - they are just dogs who want to live out their lives feeling like they have some control over their surroundings - and when they are chained out they have none of that.

I am so glad that through the advocacy of the rescue we got legislation passed so that dogs can't be chained out 24/7 anymore and I hope that Nova Scotians will call the NS SPCA when they believe a dog is being tied out longer than 12 hours at a time.

Hopefully people will remember that at one time there was a dog rescue in Nova Scotia that was run by someone who really cared a lot - but in the end she shut it down because things improved enough so that it wasn't needed it anymore - and that's really good - Nova Scotia is a pretty super place to be a dog because of people like her and people like you, and for a little while you should have a warm feeling in your heart thinking about that.

As for what I'm going to do to replace the rescue - I've had a couple posts on this blog about a new venture I've started talking about dog training and what are better ways to train your dog - that is at http://youwouldbeshocked.ca - I also have my website about dog friendly Halifax that I've had since 2002 called "Charlie loves Halifax"

I'm also starting a new little venture to make and sell dog pack packs - they are for humans and they are made out of dog themed material - I'm also going to make quilts for dogs.  I haven't completed anything yet but I do have the site up - with nothing on it http://www.dogkissercreations.ca/

So that's what I'm planning on doing - as well as blogging here - which I've been doing quite a lot of lately - I seem to have gotten the bug back, which I'm sure is annoying some people, but what can you do.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Coroner's Report from 2016 Montreal Fatal dog mauling is in and it is very sad

A dog named Tina - not the dog from Montreal - just a very nice, good dog - like almost all dogs with blocky heads, wide smiles and little ears

Last week the coroner released their report on the fatal mauling of Christiane Vadnais who was killed by a dog in 2016 in Montreal and it's really no surprise - the dog who killed her wasn't a boxer as the owner had listed him on their dog registration with the city - but he also wasn't a pit bull - he was simply a mixed breed dog - so the hysteria that was caused by the tragic death of Ms. Vadnais is completely unfounded and misplaced - the dogs that the government of Montreal and Quebec are targetting aren't responsible for this person's death - it's all a sham and there is still only one person in Canada since 1983 who has been killed by a pit bull type dog.

What the coroner's report did reveal though is that this dog - who's name was Lucifer - had previous bite incidents, and one of those negative interactions involved a visit to the hospital for the human and a possible fractured arm.  The second incident wasn't as severe and was a bite to the thigh of the person.

The more serious incident was supposed to be followed up by Animal Control but never was - so not only did the dog's owner fail Ms. Vadnais - the city of Montreal also failed her and in some ways are also complicit in her death.

The report also details the very sad life that the dog led - the fact that he was muzzled all of the time because his owner didn't trust that he wouldn't attack whoever he came in contact with, and when he was found by the police who ultimately killed him - he had a muzzle dangling around his neck that was lying loose.  There was also a cage in his backyard where he lived a lot of his life alone and spent many many hours while his owner - a single man was away - so he was unsocialized and lonely - as well there was dog feces and chewed up water bottles everywhere - so when the dog was outside the cage he wasn't properly taken care of.

The report also noted that the fence between Ms. Vadnais and her neighbour was not secure - there were holes in it - the neighbour had said he would get it fixed and Ms. Vadnais had agreed that she'd pay half to have it fixed but no one had gotten around to doing anything about it.

The report details the life of a dog who wasn't taken care of, who had a lot of anxiety, who had previous aggressive negative interactions with humans, and who had access to his neighbour who would not be able to fight back against a dog that was above a certain weight.  It was a disaster waiting to happen.

There were several things that could have prevented it - a fence that was secure - if the dog would have been kept inside the home and not in a cage outside that he could escape from, if the city would have acted on the previous aggressive encounters and seized from the owner - but none of those things happened - and so on June 8, 2016 Ms Vadnais was killed by a dog in Montreal.  It was all so unavoidable.  So tragic.

And the fallout from it has already caused the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of dogs - it has definitely caused the displacement of thousands of dogs.

Canada witnessed the enactment of breed specific legislation in Ontario in 2005 and now we are watching it happen again in Quebec - 61% of the population of Canada lives in those 2 provinces according to a 2011 census so more than half of the country will live under BSL if all of Quebec goes under BSL - for a death that was caused by a mixed breed dog.

At almost the same time - on June 4th, 2016 - so 2 days before Ms Vadnais died - a 4 year old child was killed in Chesterfield Inlet NU. when she approached a neighbour’s chained dog.  No one even noticed.  Where was the outrage over that?  And since then - May 13 2017, in Little Grand Rapids First Nation MB a woman aged 30 - an Unknown Mix (northern dogs) - she was Found dead at a water treatment plant surrounded by 30 dogs.  What newscast was that on?

None.  Because it wasn't reported as a pit bull type dog.  No one cares unless it's a type of dog like that. Which is awful because it doesn't give this 30 year old woman or that 4 year old child any justice - it doesn't give people who are injured by dogs other than pit bull type dogs any kind of justice - and it also unfairly targets bully type dogs who are lovely dogs and perfect pets and tears them away from their families.

Breed neutral laws gives these people justice and keeps good dogs in their homes.  It's the only way to go and I hope some day the people in power will realize this - we have to keep fighting for our good dogs - and we have to not stop until this happens.

You can read the coroners report in english on the Justice for Bullies blog - thank you to them for providing the translation

Monday, October 9, 2017

Leptospirosis outbreak is all through the HRM

Be careful about taking your dog out in public right now - there is a leptospirosis outbreak going on right now - it's been going on for awhile and it probably started at the Mainlands Commons Dog Park in Halifax - probably some dog got it from a raccoon or rat because that's where the virus comes from - from the urine of a raccoon or rat - and then it's spread by the urine or saliva of infected dogs.

The Metro Animal Emergency Clinic in Dartmouth says that the common thread of the dogs that they've seen is the Mainlands Common Dog Park - according to the latest report from CTV news at least 50 dogs have been seen by the Emergency Department - and a quarter of those dogs have died - so this is a very serious thing.

I wrote about this virus back in 2008 when a dog in Cowie Hill died from it - his name was Benson and he was undiagnosed when he died.

Back then we had a problem with raccoons in this neighbourhood - now we don't have so much of a problem with raccoons in this neighbourhood but the problem has migrated over to rats - which also carry the disease - last week one of my dogs caught three rats in my backyard which is worrisome - there's a lot of construction going on down the street from me which I'm sure has dislodged the rats from them living happily in the woods and has moved them into the backyards on the street in my neighbourhood.

There is a vaccination for leptospirosis - but the veterinarians say that the cooler weather will kill the virus - so we just have to wait another month or so and the illness will calm down on it's own.

I'm sure it's going to reappear next spring though - so you may want to vaccinate now and be safe for when the virus pops up again in the spring - be safe and forewarned - since this is a disease that can kill a healthy dog - there's no use in fooling around - if you take your dog out in public - this should be a vaccine that you get just like parvo and distemper and bordatella - why risk a preventable death that is a horrible suffering death as well?

Here is the CTV News piece - and below is the Chronicle Herald piece:
N.S. clinic sees spike in dogs suffering from rare, sometimes fatal infection

Some veterinarians in Nova Scotia are warning dog owners to be on the lookout if their pet is acting strange -- it could be a rare infection.


The bacteria is known as “Lepto” or Leptospirosis, which infects the liver or kidneys and can be fatal for animals if it progresses. Symptoms of Lepto include vomiting, increased drinking, diarrhea and jaundice.


One clinic in Dartmouth told CTV Atlantic it usually sees about 10 cases each summer, but has recently seen 40 to 50. Veterinarians are putting the blame on unseasonably warm weather.

“Get (your pet) checked,” Katie Doucette, whose dog Diesel has been in the hospital for five days with a bout of Lepto, told CTV Atlantic Friday.


“I can't stress it enough. I wish I didn't wait the extra day.”


Diesel’s vet bill is up to about $3,500 so far, Doucette says.


Humans should be careful around their best friends if it looks like their pets might be infected. Lepto is zoonotic, meaning it can spread from animals to humans.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, humans infected with Lepto can experience two phases of symptoms. During the first phase, humans typically experience fever, vomiting and diarrhea and during the second, more severe phase, the patient can experience kidney or liver failure.





Sunday, October 1, 2017

Justice system in Nova Scotia says Yorkie and German Shepherd are equals when it comes to a dog fight

So this happened this week - in a small claims court here in Nova Scotia - a judge dismissed the claims of a grieving yorkie owner who watched her dog be torn up by a german shepherd in the hallway outside her apartment because the yorkie dared to bark at the german shepherd before the shepherd bit down and caused the injuries that killed the smaller dog.

It didn't matter that the yorkie was 5 pounds - and the german shepherd was - I don't know how many pounds a german shepherd weighs - but it was WAY more than 5 pounds.  It doesn't matter that when HRM's Animal Control department became involved they have deemed this german shepherd a dangerous dog and he now has to be muzzled in public for the rest of his life.  It doesn't matter that the other resident's of this apartment building are terrified of this dog.

All that mattered to this judge is that this - 5 pound yorkie - barked at the german shepherd - so I guess that the german shepherd was allowed to have this ONE BITE - and the small claims case against his owner was dismissed.

The yorkie's owner - Tammy Nickerson was asking for $2,100 in damages - $1,800 to replace the dog, $100 for suffering and $200 for costs.  When her little dog Twigg was killed she didn't have the funds to deal with the damage that the german shepherd had caused - so she had to sign her over to a vet tech at the clinic she had taken her to and Twigg was ultimately euthanized because of her injuries.  Initially the german shepherd Bella's owner - Ms. Van Norden had agreed to pay the vet bills, but later reneged on that - which is really unfortunate.

I don't know why the Animal Control designation didn't come out more at the Small Claims hearing - or if the judge just didn't seem to take that really into consideration - the fact that Bella is now a dangerous dog - the news articles all state that at the time of the attack that Bella wasn't considered dangerous - "There was no evidence at the hearing that the defendants knew or ought to have known that Bella was vicious, or that their dog had or might have any propensity to attack a person or another dog, let alone Twigg."

But the facts remain that both dogs were on leash, and that both owners - including Bella the german shepherds owner - should have had control of their dogs - and that means that even if both dogs were barking - neither dog should have attacked the other - leashes exist so that dogs don't need to have contact with each other - and if one dog dies and the other one doesn't - the dog who doesn't die must be held accountable.

Animal Control realized this - why a Judge wouldn't realize this is really - quite unbelievable.

This is just one more example of how the Justice system in Nova Scotia is failing the animals of Nova Scotia.

I talked about this last week - for this to come out as well - how much is this happening and we have no idea that it is happening?

When will the Justice System in Nova Scotia come into the 21st century?

Bella's owners need to be held accountable for the actions of their dog.

Luckily for Twigg's owners - the Van Norden's have moved out of the apartment building that they were living in - so the Nickerson's don't have to continue to face them everyday - but they are now living somewhere else in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

I hope that they are muzzling Bella whenever they are outside of the apartment or house that they are living in.  I hope that they are complying with the conditions that Animal Control has set upon them, and not dealing with the situation as cavalarly as the Justice System has dealt with them.

Here is the article that was in the Chronicle Herald:


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Gail Benoit is showing us that there's something wrong with the justice system in Nova Scotia

You didn't know it - but Gail Benoit was in court last week. You wouldn't know because no media was there to cover it.

It was because she had broken her prohibition order (5 years) regarding not being able to own any animals when she was convicted earlier this year when she sold kittens without a health certificate.

A couple months ago SPCA Special Constables visited her home and found she wasn't in compliance with her prohibition order when they saw she owned a fish - and last week she was in court to deal with breaking that prohibition order.

Both the Crown and Defence agreed on a $250 fine but the Judge dismissed that and instead fined Ms. Benoit a paltry $25 and gave her a year - $2 a month to pay it back.

What kind of deterrence are we showing her - and other people convicted of animal cruelty in this province if the Justice system is treating people who have been convicted of crimes and then we deal with them so lightly?

It brings to mind the classic case in 2009 when a woman by the name of Susan Keizer drowned a litter of kittens in the Valley and was convicted of animal cruelty - and fined $5 for doing it - the crown prosecutor in the case - William Ferguson - empathized with her plight - he had problems with stray cats on his own property so he understood where she was coming from when she drowned the kittens.

She had reached out to local rescues and the SPCA to try to find help with the mother of the kittens and no one would help her - and so felt like she had no choice but to make such an awful move with the kittens - it would seem that taking the kittens to a vet and humanely euthanizing the kittens never occurred to anyone in this situation - this story went viral worldwide at the time - you can read the whole story - here

Thee have been a few cases over the years where the Justice system in Nova Scotia has given really seemingly un-just convictions when it came to animal cruelty - when the conviction didn't seem to fit the crime - when the person who did the cruelty really seemed to get off way too lightly here in Nova Scotia.

Back in 2007 there was the very sad and very famous case of Dennis Perrault who cut the genitals of a kitten - he was sentenced to 3 months of house arrest which at the time was probably the most punitive of sentences that had ever been awarded for an animal cruelty cases in Nova Scotia - but the Crown had asked for 3 or 4 months of actual jail time.  The Judge Anne Derrick didn't agree with that though because Mr Perrault had PTSD and had been taking a lot of pain medication and said he didn't remember actually doing the medical procedure that he was convicted of performing.

More recently - in July of this year a woman was fined $500 for failing to provide her dog with medical attention when he was ill and he had to be killed by the NS SPCA because he was beyond medical intervention by the time he was seized by them.  The woman's name was Sunday Wallace and this is a picture of her dog when he was seized - you can pretty much tell that this dog was in dire need of medical intervention.

The first person to ever get a jail sentence for animal abuse happened in 2016 - a man had been hoarding cats in Lower Sackville and was convicted of animal cruelty because of them.  Michael Cairns was sentenced to 30 days intermittently in jail (whatever that means?) for hoarding 19 cats in "quite horrific conditions" and it was his second conviction - he had been previously convicted in 2013 and at that time he had received an 18 month prohibition.  Along with the 30 days in jail he was handed a lifetime prohibiton this time - so hopefully he will not be hoarding any more animals

One really sad case - and one that the NS SPCA was unhappy with the judge with was the case of a shih-tzu that had to be killed due to the neglect of the owner - after it was seized the SPCA had it groomed and one of the poor dog's legs actually FELL OFF!  The owner said she had no idea the dog was that sick - and the judge believed her - Charlene Lucas was fined $150 and given a 5 year prohibition - she said she didn't know there was anything wrong with the leg.  The problem is that she says she's on a list to get a therapy dog though - so what's going to happen when she comes to the top of the list?

One recent case that there was a good outcome is in New Brunswick - this week a man got an actual 3 month jail term for killing a cat - 3 months!  I don't know if we'll ever get that kind of sentence from a judge here in Nova Scotia but we can always hope - the Nova Scotia SPCA certainly asks for that kind of sentence - but whether our crown attorneys and judges are willing to award that - that is another thing.

So what can you do?  Contact your MLA and demand that animal cruelty be taken seriously by our court system.

The fact that Gail Benoit and people like her continue to be able to work the court system here in Nova Scotia is really quite unbelievable.  A $25 to pay off over a year is no deterrent to someone like her - giving her a prohibition on having animals and then not actually giving her any consequence for breaking her prohibition is rather ridiculous.

Ms. Benoit said under oath in a court of law that she would never stop selling puppies - I think if anything, we should believe what she says.