Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Legislated rescue regulations are not going to be happening in Nova Scotia

This is not going to be a happy post.  This post is going to have quite a bit of information so I hope the people interested in this kind of stuff reads reads this carefully.

This post is meant to shame an organization and I'm doing it on purpose because I believe that it's necessary because sometimes it needs to be done and when you are unhappy sometimes that is the way that things start happening.

Back in 2015 people who run some rescues in Nova Scotia started talking amongst ourselves that there were some animal rescues that were not being run ethically and that was a problem.

The department of Agriculture's Minister - the Honourable Keith Colwell, had decided after the regulations around Standards of Care for dogs in Nova Scotia had become law in December 2014 - that he was going to meet with different animal advocates from around Nova Scotia on a yearly basis and in January 2016 he asked the people around the table if there was anything that could be added to those regulations that could help the animals of Nova Scotia and I suggested that regulations around animal rescues would be hepful.

Minister Colwell thought that was a good idea and he said that if I wrote some up and then submitted them at our next meeting scheduled for December 2016 that he would have a look at them.

Throughout the course of 2016 things progressed and got screwed up and messed about and the NS SPCA took over the writing of them - I had written up what me and other rescues wanted to see in the regulations - you can read them in a blog post I wrote in 2016.

I don't know what was finally submitted to Minister Colwell, or even if any regulations were ever submitted to him at all by the NS SPCA - but at our meeting this past January 2018 I asked what the status of the regulations were with the Department of Agriculture and was told that the department would not be moving ahead with them - that regulations around rescue organizations were not feasible under the regulations we have here in Nova Scotia.

Well that has really thrown me for a loop.

What do we do now?  And why are regulations around rescues not feasible?

The province of British Columbia and Saskatchewan are moving ahead regarding regulations - the city of Winnipeg already has regulations written into their city's bylaw.  Tons of States down in the US have regulations - why can't we have some semblance of legislation around rescues here?

Why can't dogs and cats have a safe place to fall no matter what rescue they land in here in Nova Scotia?

We all know that currently there is absolutely no legislation around rescues - anyone can say they are starting a rescue, start fundraising and never actually take in any animals - or they can start importing animals from the States - that are diseased, aggressive, and adopt them out here - never assess the animals in any way and adopt them out to unsuspecting people.

This past weekend a rescue here in Nova Scotia rescued a dog that they said had been abused for the past three years - they outlined all the abuse the poor dog had gone through - and when people suggested that they should contact the NS SPCA so that the original owner would see justice for the abuse they had heaped upon this poor dog - they simply deleted the posts on Facebook because they felt they were being attacked - and they said the SPCA was useless.

At the very least - when a dog is taken in by a rescue that they believe has been abused - they should have a duty to report that abuse to the NS SPCA so that the owner can be charged with that abuse.

Veterinarians in Nova Scotia have a duty to report - it is right in the Animal Protection Act - if the Department of Agriculture can regulate veterinarians in this way - why can't they regulate rescues?

It just does not make sense.  And the ones suffering?  The animals being taken in by these un-ethical rescues.  Also suffering are the ethical rescues who do things right.

So I am saying - Minister Keith Colwell - it's time that you think about the animals of Nova Scotia - and regulate animal rescues - at the very least - amend the Animal Cruelty Act so that rescues have a duty to report animal abuse when an animal is taken into a rescue.

It was just a story like this that started the whole regulation of rescues - if you can regulate veterinarians - surely you can regulate rescues.

Before an animal dies because of an unethical rescue - do something.

Until then - I think the ethical rescues of Nova Scotia need to get together and talk about regulating themselves.

Before now I would have been all over this - but I don't have my own rescue anymore - I'm not doing rescue now - so I'm not in a place to do anything a bout this anymore - so I hope that sharing this will sad news will spur some rescue owners into action to start talking amongst themselves.  Good luck to you.

So what can you do - if you are like me and don't run a rescue, but just are a regular dog owner?

Write to Minister Colwell and tell him that rescues need to be regulated - we were going to be a leader in the country when these regulations were being talked about - there is no reason why the regulations the rescues put forward can't be put into the legislation.

You can contact him here -

Department of Agriculture
6th floor (Suite 605), WTCC
1800 Argyle Street
P.O. Box 2223
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3J 3C4

Phone: (902) 424-4388
Fax: (902) 424-0699

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