Saturday, February 27, 2010

Update on Dana, the missing pittie

Kim Daye, the animal rescue officer who spotted Dano on Thursday, said she believes whoever took the dog got nervous when his case hit the news.
from the CBC news website
Pit bull rescued twice in a week
Last Updated: Saturday, February 27, 2010 12:42 PM AT
CBC News For the second time in a week, Dano is resting at the Saint John Animal Rescue League after being rescued.
Dano was first rescued from the Toronto Humane Society where the light-brown dog was to be euthanized, as the breed is banned in Ontario.
That's when Jennifer Wood drove to Toronto and brought him back to the Saint John Animal Rescue League.
"They're innocent dogs. Obviously he's sweet, good-natured," Wood said.
"They deserve a chance."
Dano was getting acclimatized to his new surroundings last Sunday when two women walked into the shelter, specifically looking for a pit bull. They asked to take Dano for a walk in the parking lot, but they never returned.
Janet Foster, the executive director of the shelter, said the shelter's staff were briefly distracted when Dano disappeared. They immediately called Saint John police to report the pit bull stolen.
It didn't take long before someone called the shelter saying they knew exactly where Dano was staying. But the caller said they wanted cash before they would disclose Dano's whereabouts.
"When we said, 'Well we're a non-profit, we don't have a reward right now,' she wouldn't give us any information. She just wanted money to tell us where the dog was," Foster said.That was the last the shelter heard about Dano's disappearance. At that point, the shelter staff were worried that whoever took Dano might turn him into a vicious guard dog.
But on Thursday night, Kim Daye, a Saint John animal control officer, spotted Dano, loose and walking near the shelter.
She said she thinks when his story hit the news, whoever stole him got nervous and set him loose.
Daye said she was just glad to find him safe.
"I was so excited. I could hardly sleep last night. I didn't want to leave him, I wanted to take him home," Daye said.
Breed banned
The Saint John Animal Rescue League is one of a number of Canadian animal shelters that are trying to save pit bulls from being euthanized in Ontario.
The Fredericton SPCA saved two Ontario pit bulls, Peyton and Rocky, in January.
The breed was banned in Ontario in 2005 after a number of attacks involving the dogs.
Ontario residents are allowed to keep pit bulls that they already had as pets but were forced to comply with a series of rules, such as they must keep the dogs muzzled in public.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The voice of the people

two letters from today's Cape Breton Post
First-hand view of dead dog left convincing impression The Cape Breton Post
I have been reading with interest and sadness the letters about the dead dog found frozen to the ground on Barrachois Mountain. I was with my brother when we discovered the poor animal.

We went there because it had snowed three days earlier and we had seen no sign of anyone having gone to feed or water or take care of the dog.
When we found the animal I just happened to have my camera and I took photos, which I still have.
The dog was chained and tangled in a small fir tree outside his house (if you would like to call it a house); he had two bowls, empty of food or water but filled with snow.
Inside his dog house there was at least an inch and a half of pure ice on the floor. The dog had what appeared to me to be two large frostbite sores, one on each hip.
In the time it took us to notify the Cape Breton Post, about an hour, someone apparently alerted the owner because someone arrived, unchained the dog, emptied the snow from his dishes, and threw a handful of food into the dog house.
The representative of the SPCA arrived, did not even know where the dog was and started to argue that it was not the same dog that had been investigated earlier.
He commented that the dog didn’t look to be in too bad a shape, to which my brother remarked that, yes, the dog looked great dead and frozen to the ground.
Whether the SPCA had been there previously as it said is for the law to determine.I just hope this animal did not die in vain and that the owner is never allowed to own an animal again.
Global TV was on hand and taped the conversation between my brother and the SPCA; the SPCA’s story has changed each time it’s been told.
Who did the necropsy? Was it someone who does a lot of business for the SPCA, or someone independent? Who alerted the owner to get there and clean up the site before the Post got there?
That poor dog was tied in the forest for two years with little or no interaction, less than adequate living conditions, and only enough food to barely keep him alive.I have seen this with my own eyes.
Jim Bona
Animal rescue organizations need to be independently monitored The Cape Breton Post
In response to the articles and letters about the death of the chained dog near Barrachois, I believe there needs to be legislation on the tethering of dogs for most or all of their lives. This is no life for any animal even with shelter, food and water.

If the local SPCA is unable or unwilling to correct the situation, let’s work for change, recognizing that there is a problem. The solution in my mind is to form a concerned citizens group that will monitor the situation, speak openly against inhumane practices, and see that animal shelters are doing the job they were created to do – protecting the animals.
Shelters must be seen to be accountable for the services they supply, or don’t.
I believe there is plenty of room for personal burnout that leaves employees cold, uncaring and numb to the trauma and abuse that is witnessed on a daily basis.
There is a recognized syndrome that affects many members of the animal welfare community. Author Douglas Fakkema of the Canine Underground Railroad describes this in four phases of rescue.
Once a person becomes immune to the animal suffering, that employee becomes part of the problem and not part of the solution.
Anyone concerned for the welfare of our animals should visit, a British Columbia animal advocates society run by volunteers, some ex-SPCA employees, who are very vocal in making their local SPCA branches be seen to be accountable for the treatment of animals in their care and in the handling of investigations.
Animal shelters that have become part of the problem, in my estimation, are simply warehousing and euthanizing unnecessarily because the employees have long forgotten why they wanted to work in animal welfare.
I believe all humane rescue societies, SPCA and others, need to be closely monitored (and video-monitored for internal lapses in humane treatment). This should be done by someone who does not have a stakeholder interest, and not by shelter management or board members.
When reports of incompetence or lack of interest keep surfacing, I believe it is past due for an in-depth and complete investigation. At the very least, it’s time for concerned citizens to join forces and truly speak up and for the animals that so desperately need to be heard.
A former SPCA employee:
Christene Higgins
Dutch Brook
When two different people ... local people... are moved by their experiences to speak up on the same subject, it well worth paying attention to.
What time is it? Its time for the society to recognize that credibilty in their New Path is directly connected to the credibility of every branch that bears their name.

We need another kind of champion

What a thrill to see Canadian women doing so wonderfully at the Olympics! To be perfectly honest, its just as lovely to see more sports available for all women to compete in ... bearing in mind that sixteen years ago in 1994, the women's program for the winter Olympics only included four sports - biathlon, luge, skating and skiing.
Its easy to overlook how immediate history is. I'm only fifty five, and in the space of my adult life have seen so many real shifts in what we as a society view as acceptable behavior.
I'm old enough to remember my mother being paid less to do the same job as her male counterparts. Thirty six years ago, the recruiting officers put on quite a show trying to convince me to select a 'ladylike' trade .... when the truth was they were trying to sabotage steps to open up more trades for women. I can still remember my shock in northern Alberta to find that the local hotel where my coworkers had invited me for a drink had separate entrances and areas labelled "white" and "Indian".
Fifteen years ago, the first No Kill "retreat" was a one day event with 75 attending. This summers No Kill Conference in Washington has been sold out practically since the dates were listed.
So it also made me pretty happy to read this article on the Best Friend's website this morning Petworld closes its doors . Like the people in the article, I have nothing against Pet Stores per se ... only the inappropriate practice of peddling animals from puppy mills.
Which is why I wish that more Nova Scotia pet stores were engaged in the more animal and consumer friendly practice of having satellite adoption centers, such as the SPCA satellite adoption center re-opens at Petcetera!
But I'm wandering afield here. The point that I'm making in my wandering way is that the issues that see such opposition from politicians in general and the pet industry in particular are no different than any other change.
The bloom has definitely faded on the rose that was the brave new NDP government. If they are seeking a meaningful way to improve their faltering image, support for better legislation for the animals would be a dandy place to start.
Most of the legislation that would better the lot of the animals does double duty to protect consumers or improve public safety. If the public is entitled peace of mind of publicly posted kitchen inspections, so that the relatively smallish sums they spend for dinner .... doesn't it just make sense to protect those who spend ever so much more on their new family pet?
If the animals, or their advocates, had a union rep ... they would be negotiating with the province for mandatory breeder registration and minimum housing laws. For anti tethering legislation. For legislation to ban the sale of living breathing sentient beings in the dreaded free online ad sites.
What time is it? Its time to remember that most of "today's families" are pet owning animal lovers who would support better laws for the animals. It is the one thing that all our MLA's could support that would paint a better picture for posterity than the current cartoon fodder.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pitbull missing from shelter!

from the Telegraph Journal
Pit bull missing from shelter

Published Wednesday February 24th, 2010 SAINT JOHN - A pit bull rescued from Ontario has gone missing from the Animal Rescue League, spurring concerns the dog could end up in the wrong hands.
Dano, a pit bull, has been missing from the Animal Rescue League since Sunday.
The dog has been missing since Sunday afternoon, when two women who appeared interested in adopting the animal took him for a walk.
"Their story is the dog saw a cat and took off," said Janet Foster, executive director of the shelter on Taylor Avenue.
At first the shelter staff thought the dog had been stolen and they called police.
"The staff were driving for hours looking for the dog," she said. "It's like it's disappeared off the face of the Earth."
Only registered volunteers with the rescue league are permitted to walk dogs, but a junior employee allowed the women to take the dog, named Dano, into the parking lot, Foster said.
The women had repeatedly come into the shelter asking about the dog.
"We're very, very careful who we adopt pit bulls out to," Foster said. "You have to really understand the breed, and all the hard work that's been done on the dog, I'd hate to see it ruined."
Dano was one of two gentle pit bull-mix dogs brought in from the Toronto Humane Society, Foster said. It was clear they had been well-trained by good families.
"This is a very gentle dog. He's wonderful," she said.
Pit bulls have been banned in Ontario since 2005 following several attacks in that province. People who owned the dog before the ban are allowed to keep them as long as the dogs are spayed or neutered and muzzled and leashed in public.
Last June, the Supreme Court of Canada declined to consider whether the law is unconstitutional.
Foster said two volunteers offered to drive to Montreal to meet the Toronto Humane Society officials and pick up the two dogs.
"We're here to save animals and these people in Ontario were absolutely desperate."
The second dog, Livingstone, has since been placed in a foster home until someone adopts him.
Animal shelters from across Canada are trying to rescue the dogs that might otherwise be euthanized. Ador-A-Bull, for example, seeks out eastbound travellers willing to have a dog crate added to their luggage at the airport. The group pays for the extra baggage and makes all the arrangements.
This was the first time the Saint John Animal Rescue League has saved the banned pit bulls, Foster said. Any future rescue would depend on volunteers' generosity. A few pit bulls, which are terrier mixes, have come into the shelter, she said. Any vicious or harmful dogs would be euthanized.
"There are no bad dogs. We all say that. It's just the way they're trained," Foster said. "You can train any dog to be vicious. We've had more bites from little dogs than any pit bulls in here."
Dano is light brown, two years old and is a neutered pit bull-Mastif cross. He was last seen at the playground end of Taylor Avenue in the city's north end.
He is micro-chipped and is very people oriented. If you have seen this dog or have information, please call Shelley Rogers, shelter manager, at 642-0923.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Solomon's Riddle

from tonight's Herald
Brindi's owner found guilty of animal bylaw charges
By STEVE BRUCE Court Reporter UPDATED 7:05 p.m.Tue. Feb 23 - 3:52 PM
The owner of Brindi the dog has been found guilty of violating Halifax Regional Municipality's animal control bylaw.

Now the judge has to decide what to do with the dog, which has been held at an SPCA shelter since it was seized by the municipality 19 months ago.
Francesca Rogier was convicted in Dartmouth provincial court Tuesday of three charges — being the owner of a dog that was running at large, owning a dog that attacked another animal and failing to comply with a muzzle order.
Judge Alanna Murphy, who presided over the three-day trial, adjourned the sentencing hearing until March 9.
The municipality is expected to argue that Brindi, a mixed-breed dog that Rogier had rescued from a shelter, needs to be destroyed to protect the public.
Rogier will ask that the dog be allowed to go home with her to East Chezzetcook.
The court also could hear from a dog trainer who's prepared to have Brindi spend the rest of her life at his kennel in South Rawdon, Hants County.
Brindi was in my obedience classes where she did very well,” Bob Ottenbrite said outside the courtroom. “She was also in agility classes where she got to interact with other dogs.
“I don't believe that she deserves to be put to death. I think there can be alternatives.”
Rogier told reporters she would be willing to have Brindi live with Ottenbrite temporarily but not permanently.
“That would be completely acquiescing to an unfair process, an abusive process that is over the top,” Rogier said.
“She doesn't belong there. She belongs with me.”
The dog was under a muzzle order in July 2008 because of earlier complaints about her behaviour. On the morning of July 20, she ran off Rogier's property and attacked a dog that was being walked along East Chezzetcook Road.
Rogier said the dog got away from her as she was trying to put on the muzzle.
Animal control officers, acting on a complaint from another pet owner, seized Brindi and ordered her euthanized.
But a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge ruled last January that the bylaw that authorized the killing of Brindi exceeded the power of the municipality. Justice Duncan Beveridge also said Rogier was never given a chance to oppose the decision to seize and destroy her dog.
Three days later, and one day before the six-month limitation period would have expired, the municipality laid the charges against Rogier.
Rogier, who represented herself at trial, argued that the charges should be stayed because of an abuse of process by the municipality.
But the judge ruled that she could find no evidence of “any improper or oblique motive or bad faith or any acts so wrong that it violates the conscience of the community. ... It seems to me that the laying of the charges was an attempt to remedy a previous effort which had been deemed to have been circumventing the proper process.”
Murphy also rejected Rogier's defence of due diligence. “What occurred could have been prevented by taking a very simple preventative measure – putting the dog on a leash and putting the muzzle on before leaving the house.”
Outside the courtroom, Rogier continued to argue that the judge ignored a lot of evidence that she said would have supported her case.
“There's a preponderance of other cases that shows that dogs that have done worse than my dog — bitten people and really savaged animals — have only been fined,” she said.
“I have a behavioural assessment that says my dog should not be put down ... but HRM refused to consider it.
HRM has failed to consider reasonable alternatives in this case. They have contradicted their own pattern of enforcing the law – wildly contradicted it.”
She said she hasn't been allowed to visit Brindi at the SPCA shelter since December.
“I just believe that this dog is a good dog and she should be in my home.”
With The Canadian Press

Now that legal culpability has been determined, the only big question that remains is who will wind up paying the price for this. Should Brindi be penalized for the conditions at Celtic Pets which created her original issues? Should Brindi be killed because an adoption was permitted without ensuring that the adopter's dog experience and skills were an appropriate match for the dog? Is it appropriate to kill a dog whose human was either unwilling or unable to react appropriately to an (admittedly flawed ) series of administrative actions by HRM?
Killing Brindi would serve no positive purpose.
So that leaves one of two options ... either Brindi gets to go home with her owner ... or she is given the opportunity to start a new life elsewhere. Although my compassion makes it easy to understand why her owner wants her back ... there is the very real concern for Brindi's own safety after so many bridges have been burned in her neighbourhood.
If Brindi moves on to a new life, there should be absolutely no other consequences for her owner. Honestly .... what bigger penalty could any dog lover pay?
Life is such a precious and valuable thing. In a world where so many are so careless with the lives of those who only want to please ..... the life of a good dog should matter.
I found this on the society website tonight, Sentencing Recommendation Submitted to HRM

Superintendent Bill Moore
Community Projects
Halifax Regional Police
February 12, 2010
In follow up to our conversation yesterday, I would like to request that the Crown Attorney in the Rogier/Brindi case make a further submission to the court to suggest an alternative sentence to euthanasia.
The Nova Scotia SPCA would be willing to assist HRM in making alternative arrangements for Brindi; such as adoption to home in which her needs could be met, and the community could be assured of public safety.
It is the Society’s belief that Brindi could be safely placed. Brindi has demonstrated over the last 18 months that she can live peacefully and happily with a responsible owner.
Please feel free to contact me directly to discuss further.
Best Regards,
Kristin Williams
Executive Director
Nova Scotia SPCA

I would imagine that feedback from HRM residents would be most effectively addressed to individual councillors ( if you don't know , go to Who is my Councillor? ) I would also suspect that this would be a very appropriate time to send in letters to the editor of the Herald. No matter how passionate, this is not a time for animal advocates from "away" to contribute.
What time is it? It is never ever time to kill an innocent animal when there are better options on the table.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lets Say

Thirty five years ago, when I was first posted out west, phone calls home to my parents in New Brunswick were reserved for special occasions. Those brief vocal snapshots were a far cry from the daily discussions my daughter and I have been able to share since she moved to the land of BSL.
Thirty five years ago, none of us ... least of all the phone monopoly, could have imagined a world that would contain "all you can eat long distance plans". Of course, back then most of us had absolutely no idea that the immediacy of the Internet would have such an impact either.
Thirty five years ago, my supervisors were still referring to me as a girl or calling me honey. Women in sticky spots with their supervisors were still being advised not to press charges because it would be 'bad for the man's career' .... and a drunken compulsive gambler could get a car loan quicker than a divorced woman.
So much has changed ... but some things never go out of style. When my granddaughter is playing with her friends while I'm talking to her Mummy, I still hear the ageless refrain "Lets Say".
From earliest age, those two words unlock a world of imagination. Authors and inventors .... scientists and inventors .... all start with a premise that is the adult version of "lets say"
My friend Joan is the regional rep for Recent events have inspired her to take that up a notch to address the need here in Canada in general and Nova Scotia in particular. To that end, she is building a marvelous new website at . If you are going to be at the GPAC show tomorrow, Joan will have some wonderful material at her booth where she will be selling liver.
Even better, Joan has started an online petition to drum up support at ... because of course at the end of the day, the single thing ... the only thing ... that galvanizes politicians is a show of numbers.
What time is it? Its time to understand that complacency is the real killer.
The heresy of one age becomes the orthodoxy of the next. Helen Keller

Friday, February 19, 2010

Weekend events for the animals

This weekend, no matter where you are in Nova Scotia, there are interesting events for animal lovers:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Urgent need for a lifesaving safe berth

I'd like you to meet Tammy and Freddie. Their Dad has to go into the hospital and sadly will not be coming out. His one and only wish is that someone will be able to help save his beloved cats.
I had an email tonight to let me know that if someone can be found to foster or adopt his old friends, that ARC will cover the costs. This is what the vet had to say about these sweet seniors
"Tammy is a spayed 13 yr old cat, has recently had a health exam, thyroid and blood work done in september only has FVRCP vaccine up to date is overweight and has some dental issues with increased amounts of tartar.
Freddie is a neuter 12 yr old cat, has recently had a health exam and blood work done in september only has FVRCP vaccine up to date is overweight and has some dental issues with increased amounts of tartar."
A 12 or 13 year old cat is really old middle aged these days, and these two lovelies could easily have years of love and devotion to offer. I know I say it all the time ... but its only because all the cliches really are true. Senior pets ARE more experienced at love. They really are older and wiser.
If you believe that you have room in your home and your heart to provide a safe have for this pair of seniors, please contact ARC

Just imagine, pt 2

from this morning's Cape Breton Post
Necropsy shows dog was in good health CHRIS HAYES The Cape Breton Post
SYDNEY — A necropsy on the body of a dog found in the Barrachois area two weeks ago was inconclusive about the cause of death but did find the animal was in good condition, had appropriate fat stores and appeared in generally good health.

Kristian Williams, executive director of the Nova Scotia SPCA, said Wednesday a veterinarian who conducted the necropsy would have been looking for factors that could have contributed to the cause of death, including hazardous cold and signs of neglect, injury or illness.
“There was no indication of any of the above,” she said.
The presence of fat stores would seem to indicate the dog was being fed regularly, she said.Williams said an investigation is continuing and without a conclusive cause of death it will now look at whether or not the specific standards of care outlined in provincial and federal legislation were met.
The investigation will look at whether the dog at the time of its death had adequate access to food, water, shelter and whether that was restricted by the way it was tethered, she said.
The dog was not attached to a chain when the SPCA arrived, although a neighbour who found it has said it had a chain around its neck at that time.
“We need to verify that with interviews with the parties involved and also collaboration with the local police,” Williams said.
There was some evidence that the dog’s water was frozen, added Williams.
The body of the male bull mastiff mixed breed, which was apparently a watchdog, was found by neighbour Joe Bona on the frozen ground in an isolated logging area in Barrachois on Feb. 3.
Bona was disappointed by the necropsy results and maintained Wednesday that the animal was living in poor conditions and froze to death.
When the SPCA first responded to a complaint at the address in October 2008, the owner voluntarily complied with its requests regarding standards of care.Williams said Wednesday she can’t get into the details about the requests that were made to the owner but they had to do with the tethering and socialization of the dog, but not with food and shelter.
Five visits were made between then and January 2009, during which the owner remained compliant and nothing was noted in contravention of animal welfare legislation. On the last visit, the dog had been removed by the owner and the case file was closed, the release said.
Following the initial complaint, the SPCA did not receive any further complaints regarding the property. Though the SPCA can’t be certain, the dog that was found dead has the same general description of the dog from the 2008 complaint.
The SPCA can’t say conclusively it’s the same animal but it very likely was, Williams said.Williams encouraged anyone with any information to come forward to the SPCA.
The SPCA won’t reveal the name of the dog’s owner unless charges are laid.
The SPCA in Nova Scotia continues to advocate for stronger tethering regulations under the current provincial animal welfare legislation, Williams said in a release. Current legislation outlines minimum requirements for animals including adequate food, shelter and water, but does not address tethering restrictions or guidelines.
Well then. We don't even know this poor dog's name. Nor will we ever know most of the names of all the other dogs who have spent so much of their lives shut away from from a kind word and human companionship.
But we can put any number of names to the practice of tethering - inhumane, callous, cruel, dangerous.... that list could go on ad infinitum.
Sadly, the type of person who can harden their heart to treat an animal in this way is not going to be swayed by sentiment. As with anything else in life ... legislation is the key to protecting the innocent.
When I first moved out here, the salt of the earth flannel coated fellows up and down the road used to use a two- four for an armrest in the front seat of their pickups. It wasn't uncommon to hear statements like "I can drive better drunk than most people can sober"
Why don't these good old boys do that anymore ( or at least not so much) ? It certainly isn't because they have had a change of heart. Nope. Its those darned laws that just make it too expensive and too inconvenient to drink and drive anymore,
Common sense is a rare thing ... otherwise people would understand that chaining a dog out to be a watchdog is a Very Ineffective Security System. For more on that particular subject, should be required reading.
Of course there are a lot of misconceptions about anti tethering legislation. Anyone with a yard leash at the back step for morning and midnight pee breaks is going to get a little antsy. The field trial and dog show folks are going to get nervous that it will change the universe as they know it.
Anti tethering legislation will not get off the ground until it is presented as a public safety measure. Even animal lovers are generally suspicious of any legislation that could impose limitations on their personal freedoms.
Any time I have mentioned anti tethering legislation to any politician, their collars quickly get too tight or they start to fidget like a toddler in immediate need of the potty.
If our provincial MLA's are seeking some redemption while they are brushing the cookie crumbs off their fingers, supporting anti tethering legislation proposals would be a dandy place to start. If you would like your MLA to support legislation to create safer communities for all our children, please contact him or her ( if ya don't know the contact info by now ... Members - Constituencies)
If you wish to lend the support of your voice to the society in their pursuit of anti tethering legislation, the appropriate email would be
It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds. - Samuel Adams

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Next time, look under the bed

from this morning's Herald
Pit bulls being sent east after Ontario ban
By BRETT RUSKIN Wed. Feb 17 - 4:53 AM
The muscular body, pointed ears and macho aggression of pit bulls was just too much for Ontario: they were banned in 2005. But a rescue group has begun shipping the dogs to Atlantic Canada.
Ador-A-Bull seeks out eastbound travellers willing to have a dog crate added to their luggage at the airport. The group pays for the extra baggage and makes all the arrangements. The dog carriers simply have to deliver the dogs to the new owners.
In Ontario, the government has banned the ownership, purchase or breeding of pit bull-type dogs. Dogs that were owned before the ban were neutered, or euthanized if they had ever attacked or bitten someone. Many Ontario dog owners protested the bill but an increasing number of attacks by aggressive dogs pushed the bill into law.
But now, with an eastward influx of pit bulls, people like one Halifax dog walker are asking: "Why do we need to inherit another province’s problem?"
Halifax almost had an Ontario-style ban. In response to a pit bull’s mauling of a small Lhasa Apso in 2000, regional council considered similar restrictions.
"Pit bulls are not bred for harmony or for friendship," Coun. Jerry Blumenthal said at the time.
Ador-A-Bull says it takes steps to ensure its dogs are suitable for adoption.
"All of these dogs are temperament-tested and are fostered in a home environment in Ontario for a minimum of one month to be sure that they are perfect breed ambassadors," said Kristina Crosby, one of the organizers.
"With (pit bulls), you need to know what you’re dealing with," said Christine Greening, owner of Bark & Fitz, a Halifax pet boutique. "If you properly understand the breed, they can be fantastic dogs. Any dog can be great with the right owner."
At Point Pleasant Park in Halifax on Tuesday, walkers and dog enthusiasts alike placed the burden of dog control solely on the owners.
"I’m from Ontario and my neighbours had pit bulls and they were not well-trained," said a walker named Julien. "They would run around the neighbourhood and terrorize kids. Even though, still to this day, I don’t trust pit bulls, I think it’s 100 per cent up to the owner.
"I know they can be very aggressive," said Ellen, who was walking a small dog. "But it’s OK as long as they’re trained well."
The dog rescue group says it has strict rules for owners.
"All new owners are required to register their dog within the city in which they reside and complete at least one set of positive reinforcement obedience classes as per our adoption contract," Crosby said.
At Point Pleasant Park, Greening greeted dogs of various breeds and owners by name.
"I know three pits," she said. "They are all incredibly well-behaved."
Pit bulls from Ontario have been transferred to owners in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

There are so many ways that this story could have been written. The author could have researched the backstory on BSL ... or BDL as it is more commonly referred to now. (The D of course being for discriminatory to more accurately describe the situation.)
Instead, the article leads in with the type of statement that is designed to prey on people's fears. It suggests that the 2005 enactment of Ontario's Bill 132 was strongly supported, when it was strongly opposed by every animal advocate in the province and by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies ( )
This is a far cry from the last story the herald did on the NS Branch of Ador-A-Bull Rescue ( which I talked about in a post last year called There but for the grace of God ) That was a sensitive and sympathetic story that demonstrated the real impact of the legislation.
At some time, every parent has drawn the line and insisted that their child clean their room before being able to watch tv / go outside / getting their allowance or whatever else works for motivating. And every parent has learned that when the room is miraculously transformed too quickly that its time to look under the bed. The room might look clean, but the dirty laundry and pizza crusts are still fermenting out of site.
Implementing BDL to address public safety concern is exactly the same. All the underlying issues ... the chaining and the penning .... little to no training or socialization ... are swept under the bed so that everything looks neat and clean.
The topic of how pound seizure legislation followed hot on the heels of Bill 132 being implemented opens a Pandora's Box of Unhappy Tails that is a separate and very sticky subject for a different day.
But I'm wandering slightly afield here. Like every other reputable rescue in this province, Ador A Bull does carefully screen and match potential adopters so that the match will last furever. To imply that their practices are unique and therefore a reflection on pitties is poor journalism , imho
The next time this particular reporter is looking to research a backstory for an article involving pitties, might I suggest that he go to the Best Friends resource page for their "Pit Bulls - Saving America's Dog" campaign , instead of quoting Councillor Jerry Blumenthal, whose expertise lay in teaching and school administration.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The other kind of Yarmouth Cat

Its no secret that I'm a fan of adoption incentives. So I wasn't surprised to get this article sent in jpg form ( for some odd reason its not online where it should be on .... sigh )
Its a shame that the specifics aren't on the Yarmouth SPCA website, which is why I'm posting the article here ... at the end of this post. If you're having trouble reading it, click on the article for a larger version : )))
Maybe its being the oldest SPCA branch that has made these folks wiser ... they don't make excuses about being off the beaten path, or high unemployment or half a hundred other things reasons that another branch keeps falling back on.
If you haven't been to their Petfinder page lately, go have a look. Visitors to their site don't have to wonder whether a pet would suit their family. Noone has to guess how many pets are at their shelter. Tonight there are 57 pets listed, each with at least one nice picture and at least a little bit of detail.
The bottom line is that these folks use their petfinder listings to give potential adopters a good reason to drive to Yarmouth.
What time is it? Its always time to pull out all the stops for the animals.

Just imagine....

from today's CBC news website
No-pet policy for Man. renters could be outlawed
Last Updated: Monday, February 15, 2010 7:44 PM CT The Canadian Press
The fur is set to fly in Manitoba over whether landlords should be forced to accept tenants with pets.
Animal owners are lining up behind an opposition bill that, if passed into law, would outlaw no-pet rules at rental properties across the province.
"There is much greater support for this than I ever anticipated," said Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard. "There's a lot of passion when I talk about it with individual people who have to give up their pets when they move into apartments."
Since the end of January, more than 2,900 people have signed up on a Facebook page to support Gerrard's bill, which was tabled at the end of the legislature's fall sitting. Groups such as the Winnipeg Humane Society have joined the battle and are calling on the NDP government to pass the bill.
"We get elderly people in particular, or young people, forced out of apartments because they have pets. The pets have nowhere to go and they end up here," said Bill McDonald, the humane society's executive director. "I have seen far too many sad stories."
Ontario is the only other province with such legislation, McDonald said, and fewer pets have been destroyed there since the law took effect a decade ago.
Landlords not convinced
On the other side of the fence are landlords who feel they should have the freedom to choose whether to allow animals. They say some tenants have allergies, while others simply prefer to live in a pet-free building.
Ron Penner, president of the Professional Property Managers Association representing 50 landlords in Winnipeg, told a legislature committee last year that his members are "very adamant" that pets remain optional.
Gerrard's bill is expected to come to a vote in April, but at this stage appears to have little chance of becoming law. The government passed its own law last June that allows landlords to charge up to half a month's rent as a damage deposit specifically for pets.
"It is hoped that the damage deposit provision ... will encourage more landlords to welcome tenants with pets," Rachel Morgan, press secretary to Family Services Minister Gord Mackintosh, wrote in an email. "The new [law] will strike a balance between the various interest groups in this emotional issue."
"While pets can have a positive impact on people's physical and mental well-being, it is clear that these benefits are not universal. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions can experience severe reactions to pets."
NDP has supported some opposition bills
Gerrard is hopeful, however, that the government may change its mind, especially in the face of public pressure. The New Democrats have supported several opposition bills since they took power in 1999.
"What's happening now is that people sneak pets into apartments and they probably cause more problems. It's better to allow pets in apartments but doing it in a way that there are responsible rules," Gerrard said.
His bill would allow landlords to set down rules for acceptable pet behaviour and cleanliness of the rental unit — a provision he feels would appease tenants who don't want pets in their building.
The bill would also allow pet owners who felt they had been discriminated against to file a complaint with the provincial residential tenancies branch.Read more:

What an incredible idea! Everyday the sad free to a good home section is full of pet who are lost in the moving shuffle ( the subject of how some folks don't put their heart into their housing search is a separate topic that has been, and will be, pursued in a separate post)
For more information on how pet owners can keep the pets that they love , go to Preventing Homeless Pets
Legislation is always the key. When seat belt legislation was first proposed, opponents weren't sure if it was worthwhile because they couldn't imagine how it could be enforced ... until they realized that they didn't have to check each and individual car. Once the law was there ... once the penalties were in place .... each and every successful prosecution did double duty both to educate and act as a deterrent.
It is even more important with animal welfare legislation. In a complaint driven process, society inspectors do not need to inspect every home and yard. How would better legislation help? It would provide inspectors with the proper tools to react effectively on behalf of the animals. That in turn would assure good samaritans who are concerned about animals in their own neighbourhood that their complaints will do more than cause hard feelings.
What time is it? Its always time to remember the only way to reach the destination is to start the journey.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Could there be a better day to celebrate Miss Ruby's birthday?

Happy Valentines Day! After the real cold snap that we had, its a treat to have the mercury up around zero (Celsius for those of you not from Canada, eh: )))
The good news is of course that means that I can comfortably spend longer stretches of time out and about with the dogs. Sadly that also means that its pretty slippery underfoot and we all need to be a bit careful
Do you know what impresses me the most about many of the kind hearts who work frontline animal rescue? It isn't their love for the animals or their unflagging optimism. What really impresses me is that they can still find it in them to be diplomatic to humans after everything that they have seen over the year.
Take Brock for instance, who is pictured above. He was found wandering the streets and was brought to Yarmouth SPCA a few weeks ago when it was ever so much chillier out. Now its bad enough that someone would abandon a twelve year old pet in the depth of winter. To add insult to injury, Brock is almost completely blind.
The staff at the shelter can't stop talking about how sweet this dear old boy is. They say he is gentle and friendly and loves to go for walks.
I've lived with a blind dog before and honestly, I believe we humans are more worried about a pets disablity than the pet is. Chloe had no trouble navigating around the house and was definitely still able to go for walks with McG until the last few months of her life. Granted ... I didn't think it would be sporting to rearrange the furniture or leave boots out where she could trip on them .... but other than that she was still her sweet old self.
One of the nicest things thats happened for senior pets this past year is that some SPCANS branches, like Yarmouth are pulling out all the stops for their seniors. The Yarmouth SPCA are willing to underwrite the adoption fee for Brock for an approved adopter. In the interim, they are looking for someone to foster this grreat guy so that he doesn't have to wait at the shelter until he is adopted.
This is a very special day in this house. We don't know Miss Ruby's exact birthday, only her age. Two years ago this morning, the first picture below arrived in my inbox from ARC.
Even though she was desperately thin, it was clear to me that she was as bright as a buttton. We had no idea she was going to be such a beauty once she was being properly fed. I just thought she was brave and bright and for me it was love at first sight.
Her fosters, by the way, were Megan and Aidis, who have so generously volunteered so much of their time taking pictures of shelter pets and held the wonderful Shelter Dog Art Show last year.
It is just another little miracle that Miss Ruby is not one bit food aggressive. Even more amazing is the fact that I can trust her to leave the bowl of liver cookies alone when I'm not in the kitchen.
So ... in this house .... Valentine's Day is Miss Ruby's official birthday. She is my heart, and I've made a pan of her favourite liver brownies to celebrate. This afternoon for a treat we'll go for a second good hike in the woods, because after all the best present we can give our pets is the time we spend with them.
If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. Will Rogers

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Very Sweet Gift for Feral Kitties

Remember The Little Rescue that Could? A Very Kind Heart has offered to provide P.E.T. PROJECTS with a bonanza of building supplies to use for feral cat shelters. The only snag is that P.E.T. PROJECTS has to find a way to transport the following supplies from Bible Hill to Shelbourne County:
  • There are 10 pallets in all that they may have access to-
  • The plywood pieces range from 1x4 to 4x4 feet -
  • There are approx 200-300 pieces on a pallet

Wow!!! If you have ever gone shopping for plywood, you'll know what a windfall this represents. It should be noted that PET Projects has generously offered to share this treasure trove with other feral cat groups. If you have any suggestions, or believe that you can help, please contact P.E.T. PROJECTS

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine fundraisers for the animals

If you live in Nova Scotia, there are lots of great gift ideas and lovely ways to celebrate your love for the animals this weekend:

  • Sonya, who is the heart and soul of SCAR, will be at the table at mall Q104 Community B... in the Halifax shopping mall, fundraising with Hearts Fur Pets .... for a loonie you can buy a heart for the booth and write your pets name on it
  • ARC will be fundraising for the animals in need at the Halifax Kennel club show, at Exhibition Park Feb 13 and 14 8:30 to 5 If you would like to volunteer and help them, please email Mabel at and she will fit you in the schedule Please drop by and see them and their new goods
  • P.E.T. PROJECTS are "seizing the day" to promote their adoptables by reminding everyone on their facebook group and mailing list that they have "Great Cats Seeking Love " To meet their lovelies, go to
  • just in time for Valentine's Day, CAPS have started up a new BOGO for all the kitties of all ages in their care.... ie adopt one adult, get half off the fee for the second adult ....
  • Wow!!! What a great Valentine gift Idea! S.H.A.I.D is selling tickets for a special event at Whitepoint Lodge .... On the Rocks, which is an evening of wine/liquor tasting with nummy finger foods at White Point Resort. A nice way to break up a cold month. The resort also has package deals with overnight accomodation included. 40% of each ticket sold goes to SHAID this year. Remember dogs are welcome at WP!
  • And of course, if you are in the HRM area, there is the great new SPCA-A Thrift Shop-ing at the Harbourview Weekend Market, 42 Canal Street, Dartmouth (Formerly Value Village. Saturday & Sunday 9 am - 4 pm ..... offering the best of both worlds ... the opportunity to find great buys and help the animals at the same time : ))))
  • Supporter of the LA Animal Shelter will be hosting a Sweetheart Dessert Buffet at 185 D’Orsay Rd and a paper donation is required. The more the merrier and they will also consider take-aways, so in order to prepare sufficiently,they are asking that people confirm by the Monday beforehand.

Off on another note, for those readers with senior pets, I am looking for pictures of people having fun with their senior pets for a section I'm working on for the new site , And yes ... I will be listing private adoption opportunities for senior pets, but would prefer that the listing come as a referrel though your local area rescue, SPCA branch, AC or a vet clinic. Requests for short term and emergency fosters will also be listed on the site

Like the song says ..... in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Update on yesterday's post

Sometime this morning, 17 dogs were listed on the Cape Breton SPCA Petfinder page. As always .. a picture has to be worth a thousand words because there is absolutely nothing else on the bio. Still, on behalf of Chigger , Shye , Darrell, Somer, Hur, Boss, Rompin, SASSIE, Sasso, FERN, MAX , NIKKI , Chaucer , Knowledge , Frisker , Princesse and CLOE , I would like to thank any and all concerned responsible for getting these listings up.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The more things change it seem the more some things stay the same : (((

Its no secret that this middle aged granny has a very special spot in my heart for senior pets. Its impossible to visit the homeless pet site without being presented with some of the older, but wiser, pets in this province in need of a good home.
Senior pets are particularly vulnerable when they become homeless. People refuse to see how much love they have left to offer and focus instead on potential health issues and the possibility of big vet bills.
So why do I spend so much energy on the seniors Because slowly but surely, .... one kind heart at a time, people are discovering the unsung joys of senior pet adoption. Elderpets bring a mellow maturity to the table that can easily overrule the charms of a puppy or kitten.
I am working on the finishing touches of my own very special valentine for the senior pets in ns ... a special site of their own ... which will soon be up at . To go along with that, for the last couple of days, I have also been updating the Senior Pet Blog, , to include all the senior pets in this province listed on petfinder.
There are a couple of lovely dogs at the Yarmouth SPCA, another couple of lovelies listed with East Coast German Shepherd Rescue , another couple of sweet seniors at the LA Animal Shelter , a beautiful gal at the Metro Shelter, a dear old fellow at the TLC Animal Shelter .... along with a handsome marmalade fellow at S.H.A.I.D, a beautiful tabby at the Valley Animal Shelter and a lovely tuxedo gal with P.E.T. PROJECTS
Pretty much every other RESCUE GROUP and BREED RESCUE in this province have listed lovely seniors during the last couple of years. ( the topic of how all homeless pets over the age of five were, and sometimes still are, automatically killed as being unadoptable is an Unhappy Tail to pursue at another time. )
Every rescue marches to their own beat, so in order to keep the homeless pet site current, I do site updates at least a couple of times a day. This morning, for instance, there was a lovely new lad named KD to add to the site. Generally that's how it works ... a couple come on ... one or two come off.
A couple of weeks ago, ALL the listings for the Cape Breton SPCA came off at the same time. Sadly, once again there have been no replacements on their site, just the forlorn little notice that Sorry, there are no pets matching your exact search criteria.
Last year the Cape Breton SPCA took in a total of 3966 pets. After you subtract the 259 that were reclaimed by their owners and the 299 that were transferred out to other organizations, that still left a whopping 3408 pets. If you divide that figure by 52 weeks in a year ... that means they took in an average of 65 pets a week last year.
By their own admission, they are the SPCA Branch with the highest intake in the province. So it would only make sense for them to be using their Petfinder listings properly, instead of listing a token amount of The "Shut Up Dogs" .
Petfinder is a free service .... one that the Cape Breton branch is already signed for. It will be VERY interesting to see the stats that they cook up for this year.
What time is it? If the Cape Breton Branch really has started down a better path, if they really are tired of killing so many animals... then it is time for them to list all their adoptable pets, all of the time.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Laying a fire

I love putting on a cozy fire in the morning. Admittedly it takes time for my little airtight stove to really warm things up, but it is always well worth the wait. The warmth doesn't just radiate through the house, it sinks in and soothes the arthritis that is just part and parcel of being a middle aged granny.
Is wood heat extra work? You bet. By the time I put a stick in the stove, it has been in my hand at least four times. Even though I get my wood cut and split, it still has to be stacked to dry when it lands in the yard, put away in the woodshed before the fall rains and brought into the wood cupboard in the house before it gets anywhere near the stove.
It isn't always neat and tidy. If its piled in the wrong place, the wood will be full of ants. Mice and snakes are attracted to the warmth of the wood pile, and after a summer seasoning in the sun add an element of surprise when the wood is being brought in. There are always bits of bark and wood chips that get tracked to the wood cupboard and then to the stove.
Is it worth all the extra work and mess? You bet. The payoff.... a better quality of life.... is always well worth the time and effort.
Animal welfare issues usually fly under the radar for most folks. They have their own work and families and their own wood to stack, so to speak. Every now and then, there is a Horrible Unhappy Tail in the news that briefly generates public outrage until it becomes yesterday's news.
The newfound interest that all parties developed in the wake of the strong voter feedback on Bill 138 was the reason that the new Animal Protection Act was fast tracked through the house. But, without sustained voter feedback, our politicians normally only pursue the problems that pop up in the public opinion polls. That is how the new Animal Protection Act wound up sitting on the shelf for so long, waiting only for the formality of the official nod from our Lt Governor.
So if we have this wonderful new Act, why were the SPCA in Cape Breton not able to seize a chained dog living in what any sane person would deem to be inhumane conditions? Because we do not have legislation in this province to limit tethering. Without that, lacking more specific minimum housing standards in the Act, there was no legal way for the SPCA to seize 'property'.
Anti tethering legislation is a pretty touchy subject that our MLA's will NOT touch without sufficient voter feedback. They are politicians not advocates ... and they will be unwilling to risk their job security on battles they feel they cannot win.
Why is there so much opposition to anti tethering legislation:
  • Does it mean that yard leashes at the back door would be illegal? Nope!
  • Would it mean that SPCA inspectors would start poking around everyone's back yard? Not unless the neighbours were complaining about the living conditions for a chained or penned dog .... the society simply doesn't have the budget to have proactive home inspections and must rely on reactive inspections generated by complaints.
  • Would it mean that dogs could not be tethered at dog shows and field trials? Of course not!

Anti tethering legislation simply sets specific time limits and minimum standards to protect both dogs and the communities in which they live. Its important to remember that anti tethering legislation is as much about public protection as it is about preventing animal abuse.

What would a law like this mean here in Nova Scotia? It would mean that when SPCA inspectors reacted to a complaint about a chained or penned dog, they would have the authority to react BEFORE the dog died.
What would such a law look like? Existing legislation varies from state to state, but the best parts should include:
  • Time limits for tethering ... whether the three hours in California to ten hours in Texas
  • Nighttime ban ..... the times vary but most are between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am
  • Prohibited within close proximity to schools, and on this the general consensus seems to set a 500 foot limit for proximity
  • provisions for weather conditions ie prohibited below 40 degrees F and above 80 degrees / windchill / storms/ heat advisories/ etc
  • specifically banning certain types of collars, such as prongs
  • It should be noted that it has been found to be counterproductive to specify leash length as that has proven to be a loophole enabling animal abusers to get off the hook

What time is this? Its time to recognize that the ONLY way to effectively address animal abuse is to tighten up the legal loopholes. Its not going to happen at the flick of a switch. Its not going to be easy. And it will not get out of the gate without strong voter feedback.

It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds. Samuel Adams

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Still such a dangerous place

from the CBC news website, tonight
Guard dog's frozen body discovered in N.S.
Warning: this story contains graphic content
Last Updated: Thursday, February 4, 2010 8:59 PM AT
CBC News
A Nova Scotia man is demanding answers from the SPCA after he found a dog's frozen body near his home Wednesday night.
Joe Bona of Barrachois Mountain in Cape Breton said a guard dog for a local construction site was chained up outside in freezing temperatures.
"The dog was at the end of the chain, frozen to the ground, and I took sick to my stomach and I'm still sick to my stomach over what I seen," he told CBC News.
Bona said he first saw the dog nearly two years ago when he was walking his own dogs at night. He said he contacted the SPCA because he felt the bullmastiff did not have food, water or proper shelter.
"You can't save all the dogs," said Bona. "But there's something could have been done about that dog."
Kristin Williams, the executive director of the Nova Scotia SPCA, said inspectors had been checking on the dog regularly since 2007. The most recent inspection was just before Christmas last year.
Williams said the owner had been meeting the minimum standards of care for the animal.
Bona — who had gone to check on the dog because of the recent cold snap — said the animal deserved better.
"We found him curled up in a pile there," he said. "All the snow that was under him, he melted down into the dirt and that's where he met his demise. Right there, in the snow.
This bullmastiff was discovered frozen in the snow this week at a Cape Breton construction site. (Wendy Martin/CBC)"It's unexplainable that somebody would leave their dog in that situation knowing the temperatures and knowing the shape the dog was in."
Williams said the SCPA is waiting for an autopsy to determine the cause of death and whether charges are warranted.
Attempts to contact the owner of the property on Thursday were unsuccessful

To everyone who has ever sent an ugly email demanding to know who the &^% that I think I am trying to work for legislation to limit tethering .... to every politician... including my own MLA ... who has ever sidestepped suggestions that the practice of chaining dogs is both inhumane and a public safety issue .... for everyone who didn't want their name associated with an open facebook group to drum up support for anti tethering legislation .....take a good hard look at this.

We've been down this road before .... remember Po? His before picture is on the cover of the facebook group, Break the Chain in Nova Scotia and bears no resemblance whatsoever to the pictures of this great guy AFTER substantial sums were spent by ARC to rehabilitate and heal this good dog. ( The subject of how these lovely folks do not define "healthy and treatable" by the dollar sign is a separate topic for another day )

The Cape Breton SPCA was 'checking' on him and 'couldn't' do anything for him either.

Chained dogs are like mice .... for every tragic story like this in the news there are untold numbers whose stories never see the light of day. How many more dogs have to die before the ugly emails stop, the MLA's grow a backbone and people stop looking the other way?

What time is it? Its time to recognize that every dog that dies on the end of a chain is also a victim of indifference.

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing... - Albert Einstein