Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Making money off the back of dogs is wrong - no matter who is doing it

Back in 2009 Nathan Winograd wrote a book that changed my life - it was called "Redemption" and it was about the "no kill revolution" and it was all about the idea that animals did not need to die in shelters - whether the shelter was a private shelter or an animal control operation or wherever -the only reason why animals were killed in shelters was because there was no will to save them. I started writing blog posts about the theory - I don't know if it brushed off on the animal community in Nova Scotia or not - but the Nova Scotia SPCA publicly became a no kill organization sometime afterward - and I was happy about that. There are some tenets to the no kill philosophy when it comes to shelters - they have to save at least 90% of the animals that come through the doors - they can't kill any animals that are healthy and medically savable - the only animals that are killed are done so for compassionate reasons or for behavioural reasons and all other animals - are adopted out. And how is that done?

Through several ways 
1. All of the things listed to the left;
2. Stop the killing; 
3. Moving your shelter offsite - having adoption drives at local public places offsite to the shelter - people tend to be intimidated by sterile shelter environments - so take the animals offsite to pleasant places where the animals can shine; 
4. simplify the adoption process - not have 4 page adoption applications and make the process more streamlined; 

So - saying all of this - the Nova  Scotia SPCA has been doing this very successfully for many years and I've been so proud of them for a long time because of that - they have made Nova Scotia into mostly a no kill province - we've had some animal control departments that were a hold out in not being no kill - but generally - we - a population of 971,375 (in 2019) - have basically stopped killing our rescue animals - and that is huge.

And through the work of Spay Day and Linda Felix - we have even got in control with a lot of feral and homeless cat populations - at least in the HRM- and hopefully it will spread to the rest of Nova Scotia in the coming years - but there have been quite a few times where the cages at the SPCA when it comes to cats - have also been empty - we are getting very lucky here.

But what we are starting to face - is what the rest of North America is facing - and that is animals being imported from other parts of North America - and the world - dogs and cats coming in from places that do not have a control on their population of animals - and a lot of times thosse animals have either health or behavioural problems - and from here on I'm only going to talk about dogs.

In 2017  I wrote a very long blog post about this subject which I hope you'll go back and read - because it touches a lot of topics I"m not going to cover again - it goes over the history of importing dogs to the Maritimes, what has happened, and what the rules are for bringing dogs into Canada.

Since 2017 - not one thing has changed - not one thing - except it's gotten 1000% worse - more people are doing it - and one big group has been added to the group and is the reason for me writing this post - because really - it just shows - it's gone too far.

The Nova Scotia SPCA has begun importing dogs from the USA.  Because I guess the revenue stream that they are getting currently from what they are getting now from the thrift stores, from their 50/50's, from their Christmas craft sales at the malls, from the items they sell on kijiji from the more expensive things that people donate to the thrift stores, from the people of Nova Scotia who donate to the Nova Scotia SPCA on behalf of the animals here in Nova Scotia -- from the money they receive from the government of Nova Scotia for the care and comfort for the animals, from the animal control contracts that they have throughout the province - I guess none of that is enough - they need to start driving down to the USA and getting dogs - and eventually cats as well - and bringing them back here to adopt them out to us here  - because they just want  to supply us with a good and healthy product - done the right way - see below screenshots.

So this facebook post came out at the end of August - on International Dog Day - announcing that the Nova Scotia SPCA was going to be starting to import dogs from the United States - it was a real bad secret - before the pandemic even we knew this was going to be happening - scuttlebutt was the SPCA had gotten a $100,000 grant from Pet Valu and they had spent it on a completely tricked out van to start importing animals from the States but it'd been put off by the pandemic and it'd been used for storing dog food and nothing but.

So here was confirmation that the SPCA had started to do what absolutely almost every rescue in Nova Scotia also does - which is bring in animals from the USA.

Scroll down for  more commentary....

So here we have much esteemed and loved local veterinarian asking if the SPCA has worked the NSVMA on this project - and I am going to say that - no - the SPCA has not consulted with the NSVMA on this project based on their answer - and I'm going to ask you to scroll down a little further for my commentary on their answer....  (I'm not going to get into the health challenges of imported dogs - I already wrote about that in my 2017 blog post - it's awaful, let me tell you)

Well now - here we are now at the brass tacks of the whole thing, aren't we?  We are at the meat of the whole thing.

"the demand in Nova Scotia is there, is only going to create a breeding problem in Nova Scotia or deprive families from the opportunity to enjoy a pet".

When I read that - I was like - there - they said the quiet part out loud, didn't they - they fucking said it right out loud.  Jesus Christ.  How are the Nova  Scotia SPCA any different than Gail Benoit? Tell me - how are they any different?

They are in that paragraph both admitting to making money off the back of animals - and that is wrong - it doesn't matter who you are - whether you are Gail Benoit, whether you are Oops Puppies, whether you are Second Chance Animal Rescue, or Fly with Me - all  of these groups should NOT be talked about in the same sentence as the Nova Scotia SPCA - but now they are.

This is why the NS SPCA is saying that they are doing it - to show the other organizations how to do it correctly - BULLSHIT - they are doing it because the egregious amounts of cash being made by the other groups and they want in on it.

For example - one group is bringing more than 50 dogs up from Texas EVERY MONTH at $660 a dog - it costs nothing to spay and neuter a dog in Texas - like ten bucks - so the profit - they sleep in the vans - is enormous - $660 x 50 = $33,000 Canadian - in ONE trip if all the dogs live to tell the tail = because some of the dogs don't - and who's going to know?  When I talk to people nobody seems to do the math - and multiply that $33,000 x 12 - and all of these groups are constantly doing fund raising - one of them has a fund raiser that is  "give us $1 because it's Friday"- that's the fundraiser.

So I don't know what the SPCA can show these groups - I think the SPCA has a lot ot learn from these people actually.

But what is getting lost in this equation?

The ANIMALS and what's best for them.

I'd like to take you back up to the no kill equation - because there's something important there - and it's the fact that it isn't being done in any place that these animals are being imported FROM.  Not at all - like not at all.

And that is why I have a problem today - and why I've had a problem with importing animals since day one.

If shelters were doing something to try and actually do something to help animals in their own community - other than shipping them off to communities around North America - then I might have a different opinion.

But I have never seen any kind of advocacy done on the part of Texas shelters in relation to animals being imported to Nova Scotia.  Other than saying - here's a bunch of dogs- have at them.

They aren't doing anything in their community about spay and neuter- ie low cost spay and neuter, community adoption programs - and one that I think is so important - pet retention programs - what can you do to keep pets in homes - it's my belief that a lot of the time the first home is the best home.

The NS SPCA says that they are taking animals from no kill shelters.  If that's the case- what's the point?  It really is a matter of commmerce then if you're taking animals from a no kill shelter if that's the case.

So what do I think at the end of this?  Nova Scotia might be a no kill province but Canada certainly isn't - 500,000 animals are killed every year - I had mentioned to the SPCA about dogs in Northern communities but they poo poo'd that - that is just too far for them - they suggested they could get me in contact with shelters who were closer that might be able to help if I wanted to advocate for that - so I just went - okay - to that -but actually - 400,000 of the animals are killed in Quebec - and that's definitely not too far away - Quebec is actually the puppy mill capital of NORTH AMERICA - so a lot of those dogs would be cute and cuddly I'd bet.

Send the van to Montreal - it's 13 hours straight through - I'll do it - it's a great drive - I love it.  Anyway - I'm kidding - but if you're going to sell dogs for money - get them from Montreal - several of the importing rescues are gettting them from Montreal now - the SPCA can maybe go that way too - show them how it's done Canadian style.

I am ending this by saying that I know I'm writing this at great peril - I know the powers that be at the SPCA will not be happy with me for writing this - they will be very unhappy.  I volunteer at one of the SPCA's thrift stores and that store is very important to my mental health.  I have put off this post for awhile, but I just couldn't put it off any longer.  It's too important.

The SPCA kicked me out in 2008 when the management was corrupt at the top and they were killing animals for spite.  In October 2008 when a  new board took over they held a press conference and gave me and the other people who had their memberships revoked back - and apologized to us all-  video of the press conference is in the blog post where I talked about the day - so I have some experience with negative personal experience with the SPCA having to do with blog posts - it doesn't stop me from doing what I think is right.

I think that places that have 30 million people - should be able to take care of their own problems - I know that is very harsh - I don't think that the Nova Scotia SPCA needs to become dog brokers on the same level as Gail Benoit supplying "nice pets" to the people of Nova Scotia - they are in the business of animal protection.  According to Wikipedia:

"The Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (Nova Scotia SPCA) is a not-for-profit charitable society organized under the Animal Protection Act of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.,  The Society is dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals and to the promotion of respect and humane care for animals. Its members are committed to providing humane leadership in animal advocacy, protection, education, and veterinary care."

Nowhere in there does it say they provide the people of Nova Scotia with nice pets for a reasonable price.  Sorry.