Saturday, December 5, 2015

What is the difference between Animal Control Departments and the SPCA?

There is a very clear distinction drawn between Animal Control departments and SPCA's that I don't think a lot of people know about or that they find confusing. So I'm going to let you know what the differences are so that we no longer have to call the wrong department anymore when a dog is either causing a problem or when a dog is in danger.

Animal Control departments exist to protect people from dogs. If a dog is causing a problem in your neighbourhood - barking incessently, running at large and causing a nuisance, if you feel afraid that a dog is going to escape his back yard and come to attack you while you're walking down your street and you feel afraid in your own neighbourhood because of that dog. If you believe a dog fighting organization is running in your neighbourhood - those are all calls you should make to your animal control department by calling 311 in the hrm

If a dog is running loose in the neighbourhood and no one can catch him - you call Animal Control and they will come and catch him and impound him - hopefully he is microchipped, or been listed on the Nova Scotia Lost dog Neightwork and can be reuinited quickly.

The NS SPCA is the only organization in Nova Scotia "empowered under the provincial Animal Protection Act to investigate complaints of animal cruelty; help secure the arrest, conviction and punishment of all persons violating the Act; and, when necessary, seize animals from situations of cruelty or neglect."

So if you see a dog has been living on your street and is tethered regularly for more than 12 hours at a time and you have documented that and you can see him suffereing - this is not a case for Animal Control - they don't deal with those call.

So if you see a dog suffering in some way - you contact the SPCA - they protect dogs from people - which is the opposite of what Animal Control does - and a lot people get this confused.

If you can figure out the different responsibilities of the SPCA and Animal Control - you have learned a lot.

Anial Control doesn't really care about the situation of the dog - they just to make sure that the dog is not hurting people.

When the SPCA is involved they want to make sure that people are not hurting dogs.

It's as simple as that.

The HRM has made this distinction very clear in their bylaw - more clear than just about every city in the country - there is almost care about cats or dogs in their bylaw - there are other bylaws across the country - and the HRM compared their bylaw to 17 other bylaws when they were doing their research to update the bylaw from A300 to A700 - and some of those bylaws do have sections in them that take into consideration the health, safety and comfort of dogs and cats - but the HRM chose to leave all of those qualities from our bylaw for some reason. There is nothing positive in our bylaw - it is all reactive and directed at charging people for offences.

One could say that the HRM has a culture of not caring for dogs and cats at all - you could lead yourself to that to that decision, but that's not my allusion to draw.

For instance -the city of Hamilton, Ontario has a zero tolerance for licences and sends people door to door to check for proper licencing, as well they have a section of their bylaw relating to proper care for dogs being kept out doors:

Every owner of an animal shall ensure that the place where the animal is kept is such that:
(a) the animal may extend its legs, wings or body to their full natural extent;
(b) the animal may stand, sit or perch, or the place is otherwise adequate for the needs of the animal;
(c) the animal may be readily observed, unless the natural habits of the animal require otherwise; and
(d) the place is in a clean and sanitary condition.
In addition to complying with section 7.10, every owner of an animal shall ensure that any structure located in a yard where the animal is kept is:
a in the rear yard;
b located not less than 1 metre from the boundary line between the owner's premises and any abutting premises;
c soundly constructed of hard, durable materials;
d impervious to water;
e constructed of materials that may be readily sanitized;
f maintained in a good state of repair free from cracks, holes, rust and other damage;
g kept in a way that minimizes as nearly as practicable the transfer of pathogenic agents; and
(h) adequately ventilated for the health and comfort of the animal enclosed.

That's in a municipal bylaw - not a provincial law

Mississauga has an awesome animal bylaw -
Mississauga says this about keeping animals outside:

13) Every owner of an animal shall treat the animal in a humane manner, including but not limited to the provision of :
1) a shelter for the animal that is waterproof and that protects it from exposure to the elements;
 2) a shelter for the animal that is adequate for its size and breed; (230-14)
 3) adequate food and water for the animal;
4) access to shade during warm weather which does not include shade provided by an Animal Enclosure; (230-14) 8
5) sanitary conditions for the animal; and (230-14) 6) adequate veterinary care deemed necessary by a reasonably prudent person to relieve the animal from distress caused by injury, neglect or disease. (230-14)
14) No person shall allow an animal to remain outdoors during Extreme Weather, except for brief walks or brief periods of exercise, unless the animal has access to an Animal Enclosure that will adequately protect the animal from the elements. (230-14, 277-14)
As well:
6) no person shall tether an animal for more than four (4) consecutive hours in a 24 hour period. This time restriction shall not apply where a dog is subject to: (i) a Muzzle Order under section 35 of this By-law or (ii) a provincial court order, should either provide for tethering restrictions. (230-14) 7) any person can apply for an exemption to the tethering requirement of subsection 20.1(6) of this By-law by filing an application with the Commissioner as further outlined in Schedule “D” to this By-law. (230-14)
As well:
2) Notwithstanding subsection 20.2(1) of this By-law, no person shall leave an animal unattended in a motor vehicle if the weather conditions are not suitable for the animal to remain free from distress or injury.
 3) Notwithstanding subsection 20.2(1) of this By-law, no person shall transport an animal outside the passenger compartment of any motor vehicle unless the animal is contained in a kennel or similar device that provides adequate ventilation, adequate space, protects the animal from the elements and is securely fastened in such a manner to prevent distress or injury to the animal.  
So you can see other municipalities across the country take the dog's health and well being into consideration - not just whether or not the dog is running at large, trying to kill us, barking out of control or shitting everywhere, or their owners paying a yearly fee in order to own our dogs.

We have to ask ourselves - why is the HRM so focused on finding ways to micro-manage dog owneres - a demographic that is very easy to find and very easy to legislate so tightly that it can make it very difficult for us even to leave our house with our dogs and not do something wrong.

It's becoming very difficult for our dogs to exhibit normal dog behaviour like barking for 5 minutes and yet our neighbours can have in home child daycares and the children scream all day and nothing can be done about it - our neighbours can mow their lawn at 7am on Saturday mornings or go with their leaf blowers and we are helpless - Tim Horton's coffee cups are a blight on our streets, people think nothing about all the garbage that's everywhere - but the places we can take our dogs become less and less everyday because of some misplaced paranoia and it begins with things like the legislation that's been placed upon us by the HRM staff, and I think a lot of people agree with me.

If you've read A700 and you don't think it's good legislation - then you should do something about it.

You should contact your councillor - or contact all the Councillors and say that you were unhappy that there was no public consultation before it was enacted, and you'd like it to come back to Council to see some amendments made

The Running at large section is far too vague - the only other bylaw in Canada that has legislation like that is Calgary, and what Calgary's bylaw says in relation to that reads:
- an Animal or Animals which are under the control of a person responsible by means of a Leash and which cause damage to persons, property or other Animals;

A700 says in relation to the same topic:
- on a leash but not under the control of a person

Do you see what I mean by A700 being too vague?

Calgary says that the dog is on a leash, but it's causing damage to persons, property or other animals - A700 just says "not being under control" - so it's completely up to the "Compliance Officer" to decide what is considered to be "not under control".

That is not what good legislation is called - that is what is called "bad legislation".  And it's legislation like that that hurts people having dogs doing normal dog behaviour and "Compliance officers" being assholes.  In my opinion.

I have listed below all the animal control departments all across the country that the hrm sought advice in building the bylaw - and they cherry pick some amazing things.

Brampton Ontario:

Caledon Ontario:

Calgary Alberta:

Edmonton Alberta:


- allow hens
- zero tolerance for licences - send officers door to door

London Ontario:

London has an off leash dog park bylaw -
As part of the Enforcement Division, Animal Services encourages safe and enjoyable communities for both people and pets. The Animal Care and Control Bylaw has been established to reflect Mississauga's community values.

Our philosophy is to promote responsible pet ownership. Our goal is to encourage voluntary bylaw compliance by first educating then enforcing the bylaw.

Moncton New Brunwick Pet owner bylaw -
Do not allow your dog to cause a disturbance by barking or howling for more than five minutes between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Oshawa Ontario dog bylaw -

Ottawa Ontario -
Has a section on keeping dogs in sanitary environments and a section on tethering and responsibility to care for animals

Saint Johns Newfoundland -
Talks about leaving dogs out in unsanitary conditions

Toronto Ontario -
Talks about appropriate treatment of dogs and cats

Winnipeg Manitoba -
Talks about regulating rescues

Vancouver Britis Columbia -
Has a whole section on the basic keeping of dog
Also allows chickens

Wolfville Nova Scotia -
Is the only other bylaw provided by the HRM that also includes a section that allows officer to shoot animals on sight

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