Friday, October 31, 2008

Booty Beauty, Jack Takes a leap forward & Happy Halloween!

I love having rich friends who go away to conferences - one of my friends just got back from a "No More Homeless Pets" conference put on by the Best Friends Sanctuary in Utah and she brought me back SO MUCH GOOD STUFF! I am agog with all the good junk she got me and all the reading material and links and stuff I've got to go through. I am so excited - and I also got 3 t-shirts and a coffee mug too. There is tons of educational material though to disseminate (er push onto) people too which is awesome. And bumper stickers too! haha! My Dad is going to shit when he sees that I've put a bumper sticker on the actual paint part of my car - but my new car is so little there's no space on the back window for such a big bumper sticker! Oops!

For Halloween tonight I put halloween themed handkerchiefs on Daisy and Charlie, bought a bunch of chocolate - and then only got like 4 groups of kids come to the door - so I'm going to be on a chocolate high for awhile. Yea! I love this photo - look at Jack in the background - he must have been having a head shake while I took the picture!
A good shot of the kerchief...

This is Buttercup being nosy out on the back porch this afternoon...

Jack seems to have turned a final corner and relaxed even more the last little while. He's been playing with his toys like crazy.
Today I could not believe it - for the first time since he's come to live at my house - and I didn't think he'd ever do this - he went into a full play bow with Charlie. Charlie was laying down initiating play with Buttercup, and Jack came over - and went into a full play bow with Charlie - and Charlie reciprocated. I was in shock.
I didn't think that Jack would ever learn to play with the other dogs - he's gotten pretty good at playing with me - with his squeaky toys - but he's never shown any interest in playing with anyone else. Buttercup has tried so hard to play with him - it's so comical watching her - but it seems like finally there's a bit of hope.
I don't know if he's finally loosened up enough, or if he's finally learned how to do it from my guys - but whatever its, it's wonderful. I hope he repeats the behaviour soon.
I think Charlie was as shocked as I was!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A letter to Mayor Peter Kelly about bylaw A300

So I said that last week a few people met with Mayor Peter Kelly about bylaw A300. Today we sent off a letter to him because he said that the proper protocol was to send him a formal letter requesting him to do something and he'd forward it off to the correct departemnt and his staff would send back a report and he'd report back to him. So that is what we did - and here's the letter we sent -

Mayor Peter Kelly
1841 Argyle St.
PO Box 1749
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3J 3A5

October 30, 2008

Re meeting of October 22, 2008 regarding bylaw A300

Dear Mr. Kelly:

We would like to thank you for meeting with us and our associates on the morning of October 22, 2008 with our concerns about bylaw A300 as it’s currently written regarding what constitutes a dangerous dog and the definition of “threatening”. As discussed in our meeting we are enclosing the changes that we feel are appropriate to Bylaw A300.

In a staff report published after the public hearings on bylaw A300 last September, your Municipal Solicitor had recommend the following about the section on the definition of “threatening” and dog attack:

i). the definitions of both “bite” and “threatens” be deleted leaving the courts to assess whether within common parlance the animal has bitten or threatened the victim;
ii) the words “without provocation” be removed from “attack” definition consistent with the Calgary Bylaw; and
iii) remove the reference to “chase” leaving the courts to decide whether a threat exists as a result of a chase event.

All of those sections were left in – and Animal Control Services were allowed to determine the level of punishment that dog owners would face – up to and including the destruction of the dog. We would like it if the solicitor's recommendations would be addressed again.

What we would like to see discussed about with bylaw A300

1. Remove all reference to the term “threatening” because as defined a “threatening appearance” carries the same weight as a full attack that causes injury. A dog’s appearance alone should never be the judge of whether they are dangerous,
2. Remove section 2 (a),(b),(c),(d) and replace it with legislation that only allows a Justice of the Court to order the euthanization of a seized dog,
3. Add a provision so that there is a strict time limit when seized dogs are impounded and a court date is imposed so that undue trauma is not inflicted on the dog or the dog owner;
4. Issuing muzzle orders, notice to microchip dogs, or fines for failing to register a dog shouldn’t be part of the bylaw – they should be part of the Animal Control Officer’s guidelines/regulations and they should be able to issue them like they do fines.
5. You can go to court to dispute a parking ticket – but under bylaw A300 curently – you cannot automatically go to court to dispute the destruction of your dog – we would like a change implemented that will allow an accused dog owner a court appearance without having to file suit, which is currently the only recourse.
6. Animal Control Officers should be able to apply to have a dog deemed dangerous or vicious – but they should not be able to deem them such themselves. It is our opinion that only a judge – who uses material supplied to him by a veterinarian, a behaviorist, and others – should make that decision.

We are attaching model bylaws and actual bylaws from other jurisdictions in Canada and from organizations like the Canadian Association of Pet Dog Trainers and the National Companion Animal Coalition. We are also attaching an addendum showing which sections of these attachments we think have good sections that would work for Bylaw A300.

It is our belief that currently Bylaw A300 as it’s written puts every dog in danger in the Halifax Regional Municipality that looks a certain way – any dog can “appear threatening” to someone who is afraid of dogs or has a low tolerance for dogs – and under the bylaw as it’s currently written – that can constitute an attack. So when the call to Animal Control is made – whoever has the better story – the complainant or the defendant – is who the Animal Control Officer is going to believe – because when a “threatening” charge is made – there doesn’t have to be any physical evidence. This is very dangerous waters to be treading.

We are only three (3) people who are writing this letter – but by the HRM’s own estimates – there are anywhere from 46,500 to 93,017 dogs – and 46% of households own dogs in the HRM – that is a significant population of taxpayers who’s voice should be heard, and they are all worried about this issue.

Thank you for your time.


Linda Koekman
Joan Sinden
Marc Boutilier

We also sent some attachments, and I sent some explanations of the attachmemnts and this is what I sent:

Attachments to Letter To Mayor Peter Kelly regarding proposed changes to Bylaw A300

1. An Enlightened Approach to Companion Animal Control for Canadian Municipalities – from the National Companion Animal Coalition:

The section that we think is important is under Section E – dangerous dogs where it talks about establishing what a dangerous dog actually is and one of the things it suggests saying is - “a dog that has shown the disposition or tendency to be threatening or aggressive” – this is a much better definition than what the HRM currently uses in it’s dangerous dog definition: “threatens any human being or animal”

2. Regional District of Central Okanagan Bylaw No 366:

We like this bylaw because the wording makes it very obvious that it’s the owner who’s at fault, and not the dog when a violation occurs – such as in section 2 when it reads: “Dangerous Dog means any dog that has been the subject of an owner’s conviction of an offence against Section 17.3 or 17.4 of this bylaw”

3. Canadian Association of Pet Dog Trainers – Proposed Dangerous Dogs Act:

Has several sections in it that are very good.

Article 2 (section 121) Talks about the “Judicial process” and how Animal Control Officers can petition the court to have an animal declared potentially dangerous or vicious – Animal Control Officers cannot do that themselves as they currently can here in the HRM. (section 122) talks about how strict time limits have to be imposed on that judicial process so that – like what has happened here in the HRM – dogs don’t languish in the pound, egregious amounts of money and personnel aren’t wasted, and public relation disasters don’t happen when cases are tried in the public.

Article 3 gives a sliding scale of aggression – with a location relevance (ie whether the incident happened on the dog’s home property or in a public place), and a situation relevance – whether they attacked a small animal, up to killing a child.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Some Updates

So RG did some digging - and she/he is right - the Carlton Free Press - the only newspaper that was following the Chapman Kennel dog killers - is publishing their last paper today. This is bad news for people who wanted to see the stories that they were publishing about them being followed up. That sucks.

Some good news - one of the fringe benefits of having my Charlie Loves Halifax website and this blog is the fact that I know a TON of people - so sometimes when I talk about dogs from the Dartmouth shelter - they get spotted in their new homes and I get to hear about their fabulous new lives - and guess who we're getting to hear about? ELVIS!!!

I got an email from a friend of mine who is a groomer out at Tailwaggrrs in Bedford - and here is what she emailed me -

I was just sitting here on this wonderful Sunday morning and I decided to check this email account (because this is where the Dog Watch letter arrives!) and noticed the little write up about Elvis the AMAZING Cocker Spaniel, and I just had to let you now about my meeting with the little guy. Last Saturday I had a busy day of grooming and he was my last apointment of the day. A lovely couple had adopted him only a few days previous and they decided he had a couple of days to adapt and it was time for an ultimate spa treatment! From the second I met Elvis it was apparent that his new owners thought the sun rised and set for Elvis alone!! And after meeting the little guy I started to believe it too. This guy has had a rough go of things in his past but that certainly hasn't dampered his spirit in the least. This little man would take every opportunity to give kisses that he could! I am not sure if you have had the chance to meet the handsome little man in person, or if you knew that he had found a wonderful forever home, but I had to let you in case that you hadn't.

It is because of dogs like Elvis (and Daisy, one could never forget Daisy!) that my job is the best job in the entire world!!!

So it would seem that Elvis's wait wasn't all for nothing - he did end up finding the perfect home for him. That is just super.

The opinions are in - I wrote a post about a truck with dogs in the back cab that I saw - and it had a window made specifically so that the dogs could stick their heads out - and I couldn't decide whether or not it was a humane thing for the dogs - and the comments all came back as being a good idea and good for the dogs. So I'll go with the public and say that it is a good idea - although one person did make a good point in that the dog can stick their whole head out of the window and if someone came close the dog could bite anyone walking by - leaving the owner open to not keeping the dog (and the public) safe - if the dog was being teased or tortured and lashed out.

I make no secret about the fact that Nathan Winograd is my hero - and next May 2-3, 2009 there is going to be something called the "No Kill Conference" in Washington DC that is being put on by his own organization - the No Kill Advocacy Centre. I couldn't stand it any longer, so this week I bought a ticket to the event, worried that the conference was going to sell out and there'd be no way I could go. So now I've bought the ticket - now I've just got to figure out how I'm going to get from Halifax Nova Scotia to Washington DC for May 2nd, 2009. Is Washington DC very far away from Nova Scotia? I get lost going to Dartmouth. Can I drive there? I guess maybe I should mapquest it...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween Pug Party and Bark & Fitz!

Today I just happened to be at Bark & Fitz when a halloween pug party was going on - so I HAD to take photos - who wouldn't? The dogs were just too cute!

What we were actually there for was to get Jackie a hair cute - which we successfully did - and boy was he happy when it was over.
I am quite sure he feels like a million bucks when he's got a fresh hair cut - just like most proper gentlemen.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dogs in cabs of trucks part 2

Last summer I was behind a basset hound flailing around in the cab of a truck - today I was in the parking lot of Value Village, and I saw this truck - with an interesting thing in the back instead of a window in the cab of the truck - a whole made specifically so that the dogs could stick their heads out.
It doesn't seem to me as if this is really sufficient so that the dogs can get adequate ventilation for their bodies though?
I don't know - people who own siberian huskies seem to think they've got the answers to everything in this world and everyone else is wrong about everything when it comes to dogs and how they should be treated, so maybe I'm wrong - but I don't think this is particularly humane.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Some Cute Photos to end the day

These are some photos I took out in the back yard this afternoon after I got home from work

The dogs all seemed to be in a really good mood, so it seemed like a good time to get the camera out

Daisy especially was on fire

And Jack doesn't know he's going to the beauty parlour on Sunday to get all of that hair that he loves to keep really stinky - cut off.

Pit Bull Law in Ontario loses Appeal

We don't have any reason to travel to Ontario anymore - they've proven that they're a province full of idiots, or at least their government and judicial system is. Today the Ontario Court of Appeal came out with their report on what they were going to say about the ban on pit bulls that was instituted in - 2005 - and they decided to not only uphold it, but to also bring back all the stuff that was lost when the court case was originally decided last year. So it's bad news all around - especially what the judges said about pit bulls.

Here's what the Canadian Press reported the Judges said:

Ont.'s highest court says pit bulls are 'unpredictable' dogs, upholds ban

TORONTO — Pit bulls are dangerous and unpredictable dogs that have the potential to attack without warning, the Ontario Court of Appeal said Friday in a decision upholding the province's ban on the animals.

The Ontario government enacted the Dog Owners' Liability Act in 2005 to ban the breeding, sale and ownership of pit bulls after several incidents in which the dogs attacked people.

The Appeal Court ruled Friday that the ban on the breed does not violate any constitutional rights, as lawyers had argued.

The law survived a constitutional challenge in March 2007, though some changes were ordered. Superior Court Justice Thea Herman said a ban on "pit bull terriers" was unconstitutionally vague because it didn't refer to a specific type or breed of dog.

But the Appeal Court disagreed, restoring the law to the form in which it was enacted.

"The total ban on pit bulls is not 'arbitrary' or 'grossly disproportionate' in light of the evidence that pit bulls have a tendency to be unpredictable and that even apparently docile pit bulls may attack without warning or provocation," the judges said in their decision Friday.

"This evidence of unpredictability provided the legislature with a sufficient basis to conclude that the protection of public safety required no less drastic measures than a total ban on pit bulls."

Lawyer Clayton Ruby, who challenged the law, called it a "sad day" in Ontario.

"Kind, loving, gentle dogs are being killed across this province for no reason," he said in a statement.

"The provincial government should focus their efforts and resources on identifying truly dangerous dogs rather than apprehending and killing dogs that pose no threat at all."

Ruby said he is considering an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Jean-anne Moors of Banned Aid, a coalition fighting the ban, said the group knew it was fighting an uphill battle against the government, but she is still "very disappointed."

"I have three so-called pit bull-type dogs who are all legal under the law," she said, meaning she owned the dogs before the law came into effect and they are muzzled when out in public.

Still, she said, "Everybody's looking at me as if I'm some kind of criminal when I walk down the streets with my dogs. They have no history of aggression."

Moors said the law sets a troubling precedent because it's not just a pit bull issue.

"If a government ... can make such an arbitrary decision that a dog is a bad and dangerous dog and seize it under certain circumstances and destroy it ... that's a matter of concern to anybody who has a dog - period."

Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley said he was pleased the court upheld the legislation.

"We brought in the legislation because it was important to keep people safe, and our province will do whatever it takes to keep the people of Ontario safe," he said.

What I say to that last paragraph is - Attorney General Chris Bentley has given himself and all Ontarians a very false sense of security.

There is also the case of Rambo - a pit bull type dog who was kept in a cage from December until a couple weeks ago - when he was set free so he could come to shangri-la, also known as Nova Scotia - read the article all the way to the bottom - and you'll find some very true sentences.

Death Row Dog Set Free

October 8, 2008 03:15 PM - In the end, Gabriela Nowakowska had to put the interests of her dog Rambo ahead of her own.

"It was very difficult losing my dog," the 21-year-old Mississaugan said, referring to the fact that Rambo was picked up last Christmas Day and has been held in a cage at the Mississauga animal control centre ever since. "But now, Rambo is going to have a life and he's going to be free."

The dog, who has been held at the City's animal control centre on Central Pkwy. for the past nine months, is headed for a farm in Nova Scotia run by Ador-A-Bull Dog Rescue after a deal was struck in a Mississauga courtroom early this afternoon.

Nowakowska pleaded guilty to possessing an illegal dog and received a suspended sentence.

Rambo, who was examined by a veterinarian yesterday and found fit, will be transferred by the rescue group to the East Coast, where he will be trained with a number of other dogs and then could be adopted to a loving home.

"As long as the dog goes free, that's what I want," Nowakowksa told The News a few minutes after the ruling. "The only thing that's important to me is that he's still alive."

Justice of the Peace Karen Jensen commended Nowakowska, who works two minimum-wage part-time jobs as a waitress and at a deli counter, for her efforts on behalf of Rambo. "You've suffered the loss of your dog but you have made some gains ... for which you are to be commended."

Those gains include the change in City policy that now permits dogs like Rambo accused of being pit bulls to be sent to another province rather than automatically being put down.

The City's application to execute Rambo will be withdrawn Oct. 20 if all goes well.

"By then, he should be in a whole new province and everyone's happy," the Justice of the Peace said.

Nowakowska's lawyer, Anik Morrow, told the court that as time passed his client realized that nothing could be gained by going forward. "Her concern is ultimately the dog," she said.

Rambo is now much bigger and it would be difficult for his owner to care properly for him in her apartment, the lawyer said.

"We are now seeing the impact of the long-term incarceration of the dog," Morrow said, noting the animal has begun to groom himself frequently, which is often a sign of stress.

The City agreed to waive the pound fees for Rambo, who has been kept for the longest-time ever at the shelter. Those fees were estimated at $3,000.

Elaine Buckstein, the City's director of bylaw enforcement, commented that, "whether you agree with it or not, we have to enforce the law. The shelter staff did an excellent job of housing Rambo for eight months."

Ward 6 Councillor Carolyn Parrish, who championed Rambo's cause, was "delighted" at the outcome.

"We've learned from this that this law is very difficult to enforce and it breaks people's hearts," the councillor said. "Saying that something looks like something else is a very poor basis for a law."

Nowakowska was convicted of owning a dog that was "substantially similar" to breeds of dogs generally known as pit bulls.

My Service dog is more special than your dog

On the news tonight there was a lady named Helen McFadyen and her service dog Opal. A couple months ago I found her blog, which she's called "Wise Advice
Wise Advice from Helen McFadyen aka LabLady
" - which I assumed was her talking about her life as a blind person living with her service dog in Halifax. But what it is actually is one long rant about how everybody in the world is really horrible to her because she is blind and nothing in life is fair because she is blind, and no one makes any concessions to her because she is blind, and no one understands her because she's blind. I was rather blown away actually how one person could hold that much self-absorbtion. I would have felt bad if I wasn't so repulsed. So I didn't do my usual thing of letting other people know that I had found a local blog - I just clicked out of it, and let it go.

But tonight she was on CTV news actually saying - that HRM should provide her and her dog - and other people with service dogs with sole access to off-leash space. What she actually says in the below video is that - if there are "normal sighted dog owners" at the dog park - they MUST LEAVE - so that the blind person and their service dog - can have some off leash exercise - because she doesn't trust other people's dogs with her dog.

What has every other service dog and their owner been doing up until now? When I am at Point Pleasant Park - I have seen tons of service dogs there off leash with their owners having a hell of a time off leash - with no problems whatsoever.

She says it's because her dog cost $35,000 - well, do you know what? My dogs are PRICELESS. I don't know if I've heard quite so ridiculous a proposition in a long, long time. I really hope the City does not continue pretending to enable her quest, because if it does - I want MY OWN DOG PARK TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yesterday's meeting with the mayor

A very brave lady by the name of Linda had contacted Mayor Peter Kelly a few weeks ago because she'd been so upset by Brindi's story, and somehow she was able to set up a meeting with him to talk about the badly written A300 bylaw. She was told she wasn't allowed to talk about Brindi's case though - only about bylaw A300, and she knew she didn't want to go alone - so she contacted a couple people to go with her, and I was one of them. She also contacted Marc Boutilier, and Francesca Rogier - and we all went yesterday and talked to Mayor Peter Kelly about why we think bylaw A300 is bad and what we think should be changed.

Marc did most of the talking - and we were all thankful for that! He did an awesome job, that's for sure - he said he's got a lot of politician's in his family, and I'd say that there must be something in their blood - because he should follow in his "family business".

I had put together a whole paper package to give to the mayor, and made extra copies for him to pass along to Robin McNeil - the staff sargeant who actually wrote the bylaw, and Andrea MacDonald, the manager of Animal Control - and it was basically what our proposal was - and model bylaws from other places in Canada that we thought had sections that Halifax could use instead of the section that's currently in the bylaw.

We don't want to change the whole thing - just 2 sections - one part about how a dog can have attacked you simply because it "appeared threatening" to you, and also the part where animal control officers have the power to seize your dog and destroy it without even notifying you. That gives animal control officers way too much power we think. Don't you think it does?

Here are some of the things we put forward:

The bylaw currently says:

2 (1) In this By-Law,
(d) “attack” means to injure or bite, or to threaten or give the impression of threatening;
(g) “dangerous dog” means any dog which:
(iii) threatens any human being or animal;

(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.

We want everything in red taken out. Animal Control officers can currently cherry pick from any of the above enforcement options - so they can not even charge you with an offence - the first time they come to your house - if they feel like it warrants it - they can just seize your dog and destroy it, and who in their right mind would think that is right? And you can't even appeal the ruling.

We think that only a judge and a court of law should be able to have that power. Period.

Some of the other issues we brought forward were:
• Behavior rankings that define the types of canine behavior that indicate the differences between a less dangerous and a more dangerous dog;
• Bylaws that only allow a Justice to determine whether a dog is a vicious animal – not Animal Control;
• Strict time constraints on pending court cases for vicious or aggressive dog hearing when a dog has been seized and is being impounded – thus less cost to City, less cost to owner – and MUCH LESS trauma to dog;
• Bylaw that uses wording such as “aggressive dog means any dog that has been the subject of an OWNER’S CONVICTION” – puts the complete blame on the owner – not the dog (Central Okanagan bylaw);
• Sliding scale of aggression noting that there are more serious types of aggression ranging from a dog barking at a person, to a dog puncturing the skin in a bite, to a dog killing a person;

Another thing we brought forward was that during the public hearing last September on bylaw A300 - 32 people came and spoke for and against the bylaw, and the "attack" section was talked about by several people - myself included - and that fact was noted in the staff report that came out a couple month's later. What the report said was:

The public commented that:
“Attack” definition states “threatens or gives the impression of threatening” this was an area of concern. One resident also commented that the term without provocation may be hard to prove as a required element.

The staff comments were:
The Municipal Solicitor is recommending that:
i). the definitions of both “bite” and “threatens” be deleted leaving the courts to assess whether within common parlance the animal has bitten or threatened the victim;
ii) the words “without provocation” be removed from “attack” definition consistent with the Calgary Bylaw; and
iii) remove the reference to “chase” leaving the courts to decide whether a threat exist as a result of a chase event.
Option: Amend definition of “attack” means to injure or bite, or to threaten or give the impression of threatening

For some reason though – all of those sections were left in – and Animal Control Services were allowed to determine the level of punishment that dog owners would face – up to and including the destruction of the dog.

When we brought that up to the mayor - he couldn't answer our question why it was left in when the Municipal Solicitor obviously thought it should be taken out.

Overall - we were all really happy with our meeting with Mayor Kelly - now the hard work starts! We have to write him a formal letter stating exactly what it is we want to see done, and then he's going to pass it off to his relevant staff so that they can get an answer back to us - and if our suggestions are good enough - maybe then they'll change the bylaw.

I'm also going to be contacting every HRM councilor with our suggestions to see if one of them will consider bringing it forward at Council. When I sent out my questionnaire to the candidates - 34% of those who responded said that they thought that A300 as it's currently written DOES in fact put dogs in the HRM in danger - and 48% of them said that if they were elected they'd work to have the bylaw rewriten. That says to me that they've been talking to their constituents on front door steps - and their constituents have been telling them that - they're happy that cats are out of the bylaw - but they're worried about their dogs, and something's got to be done.

Marc, Linda and I gave the Mayor an alternative yesterday - I hope someone listens to us.

Do you want to know something funny though? I didn't use the Calgary bylaw though - I've had a really close look at it, and I don't like it. It is SO restrictive, and if you have a dog who's deemed "vicious" - you have got to post a sign of a foaming at the mouth dog at every entrance to your property and your house. I don't like that. And they don't just have one line about dog attacks that "appear threatening" - they have a whole list of "threatening behaviours". So I decided - I don't like the Calgary bylaw. "Bylaw Bill" - as Bill Bruce is now calling himself - can keep his bylaw if you ask me.

I much prefer - the Regional District of Central Okanagan's bylaw, and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Proposed Dangerous Dog Act - those are the ones we submitted yesterday. Those are really good I think.

SPCA starts over

Nova Scotia SPCA spokesman Sean Kelly says the animal-welfare agency wants to be more transparent and accountable

It’s back to square one for Nova Scotia’s SPCA, after the volunteer organization weathered an enduring storm of controversy and bad publicity, officials said Wednesday in Halifax.

Spokesman Sean Kelly said the animal-welfare agency, which has a new board of directors, wants to be more open with its membership and effective in helping provincial chapters.
The group has been plagued by infighting and criticized for its handling of a couple of high-profile animal-cruelty cases.

It revoked the membership of five people after the annual meeting in the spring; those members have been reinstated and received a public apology Wednesday.

Mr. Kelly and two colleagues told a news conference the SPCA wants to be more transparent and accountable. Part of the group’s redemption plan includes hiring more special constables to investigate cases and employing an executive director to manage the organization.

“All of that support is going to trickle down to us having more resources, more time, more money to move toward supporting the (SPCA’s) branches,” Mr. Kelly said.

Board secretary Mary Hill acknowledged fundraising efforts have been harmed by past negative publicity. She said the new board has a different outlook than the former, including encouraging constructive criticism, and has put policy statements on its website.

In the past, SPCA members have said they were muzzled by higher-ups in the agency who imposed “a gag order” on complainers. Squabbling in the ranks threatened the group’s ability to carry out its animal-protection duties.While the SPCA has its bylaws and form of governance, the organization falls under the Animal Cruelty Prevention Act, which is governed by the provincial Agriculture Department.

Compliance officer Petra Mauerhoff said the SPCA wants to improve as an organization and leave its former troubles behind.

“What it comes down to,” she said, “is we’re really starting in a way from scratch.”

Ms. Mauerhoff said the group has “very ambitious” rebuilding plans but stressed progress will appear slow.

“We don’t want to rush forward, fall on our face and then have to start again,” she said. “We want to do it right the first time.”

Yesterday's NS SPCA press conference

I always get sick after exciting things - so right after the press conference yesterday I basically came home and went to bed and didn't get up until now - almost 24 hours later, and I am still not feeling very well. My brain can't handle all the neuron activity that it takes to actually go and meet a mayor and then watch as a humane organization apologizes to you and your friends. So I'm glad that days like yesterday don't happen too often.
I thought that Sean Kelly and Mary Hill and Petra did super super well at the press conference though, I know how nervous that they probably were - and they came off as being really professional, well prepared - and the things they said were all fabulous.

They were so great that instead of using a free ticket to go to the Cause for a Paws on November 1st - I've called the Neptune Box office at 429-7070 and paid the $75.00 and purchased a ticket - so that the SPCA will get my money instead because I know how important it is that the Cause for a Paws is a success at this time in the very currently delicate history of the NS SPCA.

I hope that any of us who has an extra $75 hanging around (and I know that not a lot of us do, really) - will show the new Board that we agree that this is a now or never situation - and we are willing to support the work that they think is most important right now - and not everyone's own personal agendas - because that is what led this organization into near disaster. We have to have faith that because we know that they are in fact good people - they are doing the right things. And I am willing to support that.

We all want a positive future for the NS SPCA and all it's branches in Nova Scotia. And as Sean said - it's time to put the human politics behind - and the dog politics in the front. That sounds very good to me. I don't want to see all the work that Sean and Mary Hill have put into trying to turn around the organization not be recognized - so I am happy about the direction that they want to go - I hope that they are as good salesmen as they are board members - because their work has just started - and they have got a very difficult job to do, that's for sure.
Believe it or not, I'm a very positive person - and I want to be part of an organization that's doing good things - I am quite sure that yesterday's press conference was meant to be the starting point of showing the good things that have already happened, and now we're going to start to see some fruition of the plans they've already implemened - I personally can't believe that Sean Kelly, Mary Hill, and Kat Horne have been able to stand the barrage of constant criticsm in the last months - and still do the amount of good work that they've done - and I think they deserve a huge amount of credit for that. And now we can saddle up and ask them - how can we help you?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

NS SPCA Press Conference Today

Today the new PR board members of the NS SPCA had their first press conference - and I went with my little camera and taped it, you can watch it below.

After they read their apology to the members who had their memberships revoked (myself being one of them) and then specifically said about me that my dog Jack was legally adopted from Animal Rescue Coalitions - the camera work gets a bit shakier than usual - because I have to admit - I got teary eyed. I didn't think I would, but I guess the strain all these months of the goings on and the threats of the cruelty investigators coming and taking Jack away - and knowing now that they've officially acknowledged that they're not going to do that - really hit me at the press conference. It may also have been because I had 4 hours of sleep because I also had a meeting this morning with Mayor Peter Kelly about bylaw A300 and I was getting ready for that - but that's another post.

So anyway - here's the video of the press conference -

Monday, October 20, 2008

Zeus Update!

Yea! I got an update from Zeus's owner tonight!

Here is what he said: He is doing great!!! he really is a special guy. We ve really been able to bond the last few months and he has come full circle when it comes to obediance.

He still is ot great with other dogs but follows direction when we are near another K9

I admit he is getting alittle spoiled but he deserves it and we are making up for lost time. In a few short weeks he has moved from having his doggie bed , to getting his spot on the couch to now sleeping on the bed. he has a funny way of guilting me with his eyes, even now he sits beside me whining to go home.

Isn't that awesome? I love the photoshopped photo too - that is just too cute. Zeus the bon-vivant business man. That is just super. Who would have thought that was his true calling, eh?

"animal ownership is doomed if Obama becomes our next president"

What do you think about the title of this blog post. Is that ridiculous, or what? Well that topic was sent in an email to me today by a Yahoo group called "BSL Updates".

It was written by John Yates - of the American Sporting Dog Alliance - the same group that is against any kind of legislation that would help put puppy mills or puppy mill brokers out of business because it might potentially infringe on the freedoms of hunters or hobbyists. I'm going to paste the email below because it is so absolutely outrageous it is quite unbelievable and funny.

And it is seemingly endorsed by other right wing animal rights activists - who have said of Barack Obama - "HSUS endorses Obama..........hmmmm...BTW he is FOR GUARDIANSHIP and not ownership folks."

So in other words they are saying "DON'T VOTE FOR OBAMA".

When did this world turn upside down and the Democrats down in the United States become an extremist party that's going to end the world as we know it?

Here's a quote from the letter:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has been a solid supporter of animal protection at both the state and federal levels. As an Illinois state senator, he backed at least a dozen animal protection laws, including those to strengthen the penalties for animal cruelty, to help animal shelters, to promote spaying and neutering, and to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption. In the U.S. Senate, he has consistently co-sponsored multiple bills to combat animal fighting and horse slaughter, and has supported efforts to increase funding for adequate enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and federal laws to combat animal fighting and puppy mills.

“In his response to the HSLF questionnaire, he pledged support for nearly every animal protection bill currently pending in Congress, and said he will work with executive agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior to make their policies more humane….”

That statement is a nightmare come true for dog owners, farmers and hunters. It also is a nightmare for any American who believes in the sanctity of individual freedom.

John Yates is saying all of this as if it's a BAD THING!!! Can you believe this horse shit?

I think what this letter exposes is the paranoia, craziness, and wish to exploit animals that organizations like the American Sport Dog Alliance, the American Dog Owners Association, the National Animal Interest Alliance, the Centre for Consumer Freedom - want you to think is actually concern for your rights as a dog owner. It's all bullshit - it's all about protecting the right to make money for puppy mills, and the right to shoot animals for hunters. It's hooey.

Here's the email from John Yate that was sent out today:

Date: Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 4:33 PM
Subject: [BSL-UPDATES] Fw: Obama And Dog Owners
To: update

To Dog Owners Who Support Obama

Is Your Freedom To Own Dogs The Most Important Issue?


American Sporting Dog Alliance

The 2008 presidential election has become emotionally charged for dog owners, resulting in a virtual brick wall that divides supporters of Democrat Barack Obama from those of Republican John McCain. The two candidates present a stark contrast in both style and substance.

As the campaign draws to a close, neither side seems willing to listen to the other.

We are asking Obama supporters to hear us out, but want to be up front from the beginning. The American Sporting Dog Alliance is opposed to Obama’s candidacy because of his close relationship with the Humane Society of the United States and his political alliances with several key animal rights movement supporters in Congress. We also think he has been dishonest about his views regarding hunting and firearms, and these are issues of major importance to many of our members.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance sees this election as a watershed for animal owners. We think that its outcome will determine the future of the private ownership of animals in America.

We are convinced that animal ownership is doomed if Obama becomes our next president.

Some people may ask if this is really important in comparison with the candidates’ views on foreign policy, the economy and social issues. The truth is that animal issues have played no role in this election for mainstream voters, because the news media, political pundits and politicians have not identified them as important.

But they are important to us.

We also believe that these issues should be important to everyone, because the way Obama would implement the animal rights agenda is a perfect microcosm of his views on the future of America. Those views accurately predict Obama’s approach to foreign policy, the economy and social issues.

Throughout American history, animal ownership has been regarded as a personal choice. Each individual has had the freedom to own animals or not, to eat them or not, to enjoy them or not, and to hunt or not to hunt.

It has been freedom based on the idea of “live and let live.” You do your thing, and I’ll do mine.

The principle was to create a society that is based on the maximum possible amount of freedom for each American to live the way that he or she chooses.

America was founded on the simple yet radical principle that the purpose of human life was to be happy. The Declaration of Independence used the words “pursuit of happiness” as a vital aspect of freedom. What makes a person happy was seen as each person’s private choice. Government was seen to exist only as a way to ensure the greatest opportunity to make and pursue personal choices.

“Happiness” was not mentioned specifically in the Constitution or Bill of Rights, because it was seen as a given. Those documents attempted to create a government that provided the greatest possible opportunity to pursue choices in one’s life, and to protect Americans from both foreign and domestic threats to our freedom to make personal choices and live our lives accordingly.

All of the complex protections of due process, voting rights, civil rights, checks and balances on political power, and redress to the courts boil down to exactly that: Protecting our freedom to make and live by personal choices.

Our relationship with animals is one of the choices each of us has had the freedom to make and live by. It was part of our American identity, and still is for most of us.

It was all about the freedom of the individual.

In the Twentieth Century, however, a new philosophy swept over much of the planet: Collectivism. It boils down to a belief that “social good” is more important than the individual. It defines benefit to society as a higher value than benefit to the individual.

It was a philosophy of sacrifice, maintaining that each person should be willing to sacrifice him or herself to “the greater good,” which was defined by the collective. In real life, the collective usually translates into government and those who have the power to influence it.

This philosophy was at the heart of Marxist/Leninist thought, and it also was the underpinning of Nazi ideology. In both cases, the collective – that is, government – became the sole arbiter of how people must live. Government existed under the pretext that its job was to define and promote the common good. This was seen as the highest value – not freedom!

Collectivism actually is a very old idea that reached its greatest influence during the Medieval Period of European history, when the concept of individual freedom was viewed as heretical. During the Dark Ages, the purpose of human life was to serve and glorify the monarchy and the church. A belief in basic human rights and individualism often led to being burned at the stake.

In light of this historical background, the American emphasis on personal freedom was truly revolutionary. It’s core belief is that the job of government is to protect freedom so that people could live the way they choose. Many people mistakenly believe that this was meant only to protect people from religious and political oppression.

In fact, it was meant to protect the individual from any kind of oppression that threatens the individual pursuit of happiness and fulfillment. The right to own and enjoy property was a major issue for the founding fathers, as this is basic to the freedom to pursue happiness.

Obama represents the modern reincarnation of collectivist thought, and his views and alliances on animal rights issues illustrate this clearly.

The endorsement of Obama’s candidacy by the radical Humane Society of the United States should send up a hailstorm of red flags for anyone who values individual freedom. The HSUS ideology embraces collectivism in its purest form.

Without exception, every political position advocated by HSUS boils down to a belief that individuals have an obligation to society to sacrifice individual freedom in order to achieve the “common good” – as defined by HSUS. Every HSUS position tells animal owners that they must sacrifice their own freedom in order to pay for the sins of a few people who treat animals callously.

For example, everyone knows that there are a few bad “puppy mills” in America that should not be allowed to exist. All of us would agree with that statement, including owners of commercial breeding kennels.

But HSUS argues that these few bad kennels make every breeder of dogs suspect, and that this requires “Big Brother” to look over his or her shoulder in order to protect dogs from exploitation. It is like saying that we shouldn’t enjoy our supper because people are starving in Ethiopia, or that all parents should be licensed and inspected because a few of them abuse their children.

The fallacy of this argument is easy to see. All of its premises are utterly illogical.

It assumes that government is somehow morally superior to individuals, and that government can be trusted more than people. Read any history book for an hour and the flaws of this argument become apparent. Throughout history, government has been the greatest oppressor of people, animals and the Earth itself – by far! I doubt if Al Capone harmed as many people as the average corrupt restaurant inspector in Chicago.

It assumes that the answer to bad government is more government. HSUS and Obama believe that current laws are not being enforced. Their answer is to create new laws, which is a laughable example of intellectual absurdity. The answer to bad government is to make it work better, not to create new laws and bureaucracies whose only purpose is to burden and oppress good people.

It assumes that exploitation of animals is the norm, rather than the rare exception. Anyone who raises dogs knows that this is absurd. The lives of dogs have never been better at any time in human history. They are beloved members of millions of American families, most breeders dedicate their entire lives to their animals, and thousands of dedicated rescue people save the lives of millions of dogs that are doomed to suffering and death in government-run animal shelters.

Would you want the fate of your dog to rest in the hands of any government-run animal shelter in America?

And yet, HSUS and Obama see government as the answer.

Obama’s well-documented belief that government is the answer to America’s problems is at the heart of our objection to his candidacy.

For example, every improvement in the lives of dogs in America is solely because individual people have made personal and ethical choices that benefit their animals.

No improvement of any kind can be attributed to the actions of government.

Each political victory by HSUS and its allies in government has resulted in terrible suffering for animals. For example, the HSUS-backed ban on domestic horse slaughter has led to tens of thousands of horses being trucked to Mexico, where they are slaughtered under the most inhumane conditions imaginable. Every mandatory spay/neuter ordinance has led to the terrible deaths of thousands of abandoned pets at the hands of government-run animal control programs.

Compassion for animals is one of the highest human virtues. It happens only through the dedication of individuals. Compassion and government are mutually exclusive concepts.

The HSUS endorsement of Obama is but the tip of the iceberg.

Consider that his primary political mentor, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, has been the major proponent of anti-dog-owner animal rights legislation in Congress. Durbin is the sponsor of the current “PUPS” legislation that would extend the heavy arm of federal bureaucracy into most kennels in America, and also was the author of the failed amendment to the Pet Animal Welfare Act that was attached to the 2008 Farm Bill.

Obama’s main allies in Congress read like a “Who’s Who” of radical animal rights activism: defeated Sen. Rick Santorum (author of the failed PAWS legislation three years ago), Sen. Diane Feinstein, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Sen. Ted Kennedy and several others. Obama’s running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, consistently gets 100% HSUS ratings.

The Obama ticket is an animal rights dream team.

Please remember, too, that political endorsements and support come with a price tag. We believe that price tag includes:

Support for federal animal rights legislation to restrict dog ownership and virtually eliminate the breeding of companion animals. A federal spay/neuter mandate is likely, as are prohibitions about using dogs for hunting, herding or in competitive events. These are all parts of the HSUS agenda.

Support for the camouflaged but very real HSUS agenda of forcing America into becoming a vegetarian society. This would be done by increasing federal regulation of farming, ranching and slaughterhouses with the goal of making meat, milk and eggs too expensive for most people to afford.

The gradual elimination of hunting, both by outlawing specific kinds of hunting and also by changing policy to eliminate hunting as a tool in wildlife management.

Naming HSUS-sanctioned people to be the new Secretary of Agriculture and Secretary of the Interior, and also filling many administrative and leadership vacancies in both Departments with HSUS-anointed personnel.

Creating a federal task force to study and recommend legislation on animal issues that is heavily weighted toward HSUS.

Nominating pro-HSUS judges to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court, federal appeals courts and federal district courts. Even if judicial nominees don’t have a track record on animal issues, it is likely that most of the nominees will strongly support the concept of federal intervention on social issues, and strong opposition to the concept of private property and the rights of individuals.

And, based on Obama’s track record as an Illinois state senator and his endorsement by gun control groups this year, many restrictions on the right to own firearms are likely. This also is a major goal of HSUS.

When it comes to political paybacks, to the victor go the spoils.

The HSUS Legislative Fund’s Board of Directors has voted unanimously to endorse Obama. This is the first time ever that HSUS has endorsed a candidate for president, and this says a lot about the importance of Obama to HSUS.

This endorsement didn’t happen out of the blue. Our review of the HSUS questionnaire submitted by Obama shows clearly that he actively sought the endorsement. He wanted it. He went after it. Obama stated his total acceptance of every HSUS position on dozens of different pieces of animal rights legislation. He did not disagree with any of them.

As dog owners, we cannot ethically support any candidate who is in 100-percent agreement with HSUS.

Here is how the HSUS announcement describes Obama:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has been a solid supporter of animal protection at both the state and federal levels. As an Illinois state senator, he backed at least a dozen animal protection laws, including those to strengthen the penalties for animal cruelty, to help animal shelters, to promote spaying and neutering, and to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption. In the U.S. Senate, he has consistently co-sponsored multiple bills to combat animal fighting and horse slaughter, and has supported efforts to increase funding for adequate enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and federal laws to combat animal fighting and puppy mills.

“In his response to the HSLF questionnaire, he pledged support for nearly every animal protection bill currently pending in Congress, and said he will work with executive agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior to make their policies more humane….”

That statement is a nightmare come true for dog owners, farmers and hunters. It also is a nightmare for any American who believes in the sanctity of individual freedom.

An Obama victory, especially by the wide margin now shown in the polls, would place collectivists in firm control of both houses of Congress and the White House. Obama and HSUS would be able to get almost any law they want.

What all of those laws will mean is that government will not respect your freedom to make and live by your personal choices. You will be required to sacrifice your life to the collectivist ideal of “total animal liberation.”

That means the elimination of almost all breeding of dogs. That means tight restrictions on the ownership of dogs. That means laws making it impossible to raise food animals, or for most people to be able to afford to buy animal products. It means the destruction of hunting and gun ownership.

It will all happen in the name of the “common good,” as defined by HSUS and Obama.

The animal rights agenda is a totalitarian philosophy to force you to sacrifice your life to achieve the political goals of HSUS. Obama quite clearly has signed on to that agenda, and his signature is written in your blood.

Like most totalitarians, HSUS favors only “top down” leadership. For example, they know it is hopeless to try to convince Americans not to eat meat or to raise dogs. They don’t even bother to try. Instead, HSUS pushes for laws aimed at making it impossible for Americans to afford to eat meat or raise dogs.

The strategy is to gradually remove meat and dogs from the lives of a large majority of Americans, until the day when those things don’t matter any more. At that time, they will be politically able to achieve their long-range goal of the complete elimination of animal ownership in America.

Obama is a key part of that strategy, because of his willingness to support “do-gooder” animal rights legislation, even though very few Americans are asking for those laws. The animal rights movement is not a popular uprising of political sentiment. Instead, it is an elitist movement that reflects the view of only a small but politically well connected percentage of the population.

Through his support of HSUS, Obama has shown clearly that he is an elitist who is willing to impose the extreme views of a small minority on America to achieve a collectivist goal. If he will do it about dogs, he will do it about any social or political issue.

Freedom is his enemy. Personal choice is his enemy.

Collectivism is all about using governmental power to force people to conform.

In that light, we are especially concerned with the power Obama will have to nominate Supreme Court justices, and other federal appeals court and district judges.

The constitutional system of checks and balances sees the courts as the citizens’ final avenue of redress when their rights are infringed upon by the legislative and executive branches of government. The courts are meant to be a check of that power.

For dog owners, the courts are our last line of defense against bad laws that take away our rights to own and enjoy animals.

Obama will nominate the kind of judges who will be inclined to limit individual liberty in order to achieve collectivist social goals. They will believe that individuals must sacrifice personal freedom in order to create someone else’s idea of a better world. They will see the right to own and enjoy personal property as something evil.

This year’s Supreme Court case about firearms rights illustrates this viewpoint. In this case, gun control advocates tried to claim that individual rights do not exist. Instead, they attempted to say that there are only “collective rights” of the American people as a whole – as they define them.

This was the actual argument used by Obama’s allies to try to say that the Second Amendment does not apply to you and me, but only to an undefined “us.”

Obama has claimed that he is not opposed to firearms ownership and hunting. We believe he is not telling the truth, and is really saying that he is not opposed to his definition of acceptable firearms ownership and hunting.

His track record as an Illinois state senator shows this clearly, and we are indebted to Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson for making this important information available to the voters. He was the ISRA’s chief lobbyist during the years when Obama was a state senator in Illinois.

Here are excerpts from Pearson’s account of Obama:

“I lobbied Barack Obama extensively while he was an Illinois State Senator. As a result of that experience, I know Obama's attitudes toward guns and gun owners better than anyone. The truth be told, in all my years in the Capitol I have never met a legislator who harbors more contempt for the law-abiding firearm owner than does Barack Obama.”

“Although Obama claims to be an advocate for the 2nd Amendment, his voting record in the Illinois Senate paints a very different picture. While a state senator, Obama voted for a bill that would ban nearly every hunting rifle, shotgun and target rifle owned by Illinois citizens. That same bill would authorize the state police to raid homes of gun owners to forcibly confiscate banned guns. Obama supported a bill that would shut down law-abiding firearm manufacturers including Springfield Armory, Armalite, Rock River Arms and Les Baer. Obama also voted for a bill that would prohibit law-abiding citizens from purchasing more than one gun per month.”

“Without a doubt, Barack Obama has proven himself to be an enemy of the law abiding firearm owner. At the same time, Obama has proven himself to be a friend to the hardened criminal. While a state senator, Obama voted 4 times against legislation that would allow a homeowner to use a firearm in defense of home and family.”

“Does Barack Obama still sound to you like a "friend" of the law-abiding gun owner?”

“And speaking of friends, you can always tell a person by the company they keep. Obama counts among his friends the Rev. Michael Pfleger - a renegade Chicago priest who has openly called for the murder of gun shop owners and pro-gun legislators. Then there is his buddy Richard Daley, the mayor of Chicago who has declared that if it were up to him, nobody would be allowed to own a gun. And let's not forget Obama's pal George Soros - the guy who has pumped millions of dollars into the UN's international effort to disarm law-abiding citizens.”

“Obama has shown that he is more than willing to use other people's money to fund his campaign to take your guns away from you. While a board member of the leftist Joyce Foundation, Barack Obama wrote checks for tens of millions of dollars to extremist gun control organizations such as the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and the Violence Policy Center.”

Firearms issues are important to many of our members, and probably half of them are hunters. We also recognize that many dog owners do not own guns or want to own them.

However, we believe Second Amendment issues are important to all Americans. If a politician is willing to destroy even one of our freedoms, then none of them are safe. To compromise one part of the Bill of Rights is to endanger all of them.

Firearms issues also are important in understanding the collectivist mindset. Because an infinitesimally small percentage of firearms owners are criminals, collectivists believe that the other 99.99-percent should sacrifice themselves for the “common good.”

The call to sacrifice extends even unto freedom itself.

We cannot support any political candidate who has demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice any of our basic American rights. Obama has shown that willingness and, we believe, fully embraces collectivist calls for the sacrifice of the rights of innocent individuals in order to achieve his social goals.

It is a mindset that would willingly destroy the lives and livelihoods of millions of American farmers, dog professionals, hunters, dog owners, hobbyists and the tens of thousands of people whose jobs depend on them, in order to impose Obama’s vision of a “New World Order” on America.

We believe Obama would destroy those people without batting an eyelash. He would see himself as the righteous defender of animals, but doesn’t want to see the truth.

The people who own animals are the people who defend and protect them.

Animal rights groups like HSUS want to destroy them: as gently and gradually as practical, perhaps, but destroy them nonetheless.

Please do not vote for Barrack Obama.

For your dogs’ sake. For your sake. For everyone’s sake.

Just say no to Obama.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance represents owners, breeders and professionals who work with breeds of dogs that are used for hunting. We welcome people who work with other breeds, too, as legislative issues affect all of us. We are a grassroots movement working to protect the rights of dog owners, and to assure that the traditional relationships between dogs and humans maintains its rightful place in American society and life.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance also needs your help so that we can continue to work to protect the rights of dog owners. Your membership, participation and support are truly essential to the success of our mission. We are funded solely by the donations of our members, and maintain strict independence.

Please visit us on the web at Our email is Complete directions to join by mail or online are found at the bottom left of each page.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wrapping up come stuff - plus oxen!

So today we went out to the Maritime Fall Fair Exhibition out at Exhibition Park to watch the oxen pull.
My Dad loves to watch the oxen pull, and it was an exciting match today - it got up to 10,500 pounds - which is a lot of weight for a 3,500 ox I'd bet.
I fell in love with this guy. He is owned by a Wendell Wagner from New Germany.
He didn't win unfortunately, but I think his oxen had the most personality of them all.
They were definitely the most photogenic! One thing I learned today is that oxen - and probably all cow types - can pick their nose with their tongues! Yea!
These 3 photos show how intense the ox handlers get near the end - it's like they're pulling all the weight themselves!
When the last round came and the weight was up to 10,000 pounds - every one of the men fell down trying to get their oxen to pull the weight.
So exciting!
I have bad news on pork farming in Nova Scotia from what I could tell at the Exhibition today - you can click on these photos to read the fact sheets I brought home. It appears that they do use gestation crates here in Nova Scotia - but they lovingly call them "farrowing pens" - they "provide the best environment for both the large sow and the small piglets - the bars on the bpen give the sow something to lean against when she lies down, and the piglets have a safe area to stay out of the way". They talk about the "life cycle of the pig" - but they don't say anything about the living conditions of the mother pigs when they don't have their babies - which troubles me.
I wonder if there is any large factory farms in Nova Scotia - but I would say that the life of a pig in Nova Scotia is not good.
Chickens on the other hand are another story - I had what I said the other day confirmed - all chickens in Nova Scotia are free to roam in large barns where they have protection atainst the weather, predators and disease - they also don't have their beaks cut here, which is good news.

So that's my report from the Exhibition!