Friday, December 30, 2011

The world can be a very dangerous place to be a beagle ....

Mmmm ... what could be better than baked beans on a bitter day like this?  Simmering in a slow oven .... waiting like a warm hug to greet us coming home cold from our hike!
It is almost frosting on the cake to be able to build up the coals and have the comfort of our cozy fire!
This is not the kind of morning when we lollygagged along the trails ... poking noses into every scented nook and cranny!    On a 'fresh' ( valleyspeak for pfc ... or pretty darned cold if you prefer :) morning like this we gallop along the main trail quicker than the dratted dog teasing sqwirrels can scamper up a tree!
Do dogs need the comfort of a cozy fire to considered well cared for?   Of course not!   Separate and apart from the emotional and mental needs of a species that puts the Capitol C in Companion Animal .... it is even possible for dogs to live physically comfortable lives in properly insulated and heated outdoor kennels, built and maintained according to the standards provided in The Code of Practice for Canadian Kennel Operations
Does the poor dog in the picture below appear to be living in a structure that comes anywhere close to meeting the standards suggested by the Canadian Veterinary Association?
These pictures came from a current ad posted on Kijiji.   "8 year old female beagle. Good hunting dog just don`t have the time as I have started her pups.  $100.00 or best offer"
Even worse ... this is not tucked away in some remote spot back up the mountain.   Nope!   According to the map on the ad, this is smack dab in the middle of Aylesford ... surrounded by homes and within spitting distance of at least one church.
At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, little beagles with their thin coats were never meant to live in such inadequate housing!    It is simply rendered all the sadder that this particular doggie is a senior who has outlived her usefulness in punching out puppies :(
What time is it?   It is way, way past time for more specific housing regulations in our Animal Protection Act.  At the end of the day, that would be the most effective way to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
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

And that is how I see it on Friday, December 30th ... the FORTY -FOURTH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board created the renegade shelter.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Much ado about everything but the facts

It is no wonder that everyone loves a snowy holiday season!  Fresh snowfalls are one of the best bits of Mother Nature's palette .... transforming the plainest of yards into postcard pretty pictures! 
Mind you, when one is out and about in the woods it can make for trickier footing.   That beautiful blanket of crisp clean snow buries all the tree roots and fallen limbs ... making it much easier to be tripped up along the trail. 
To be perfectly honest, I will welcome Wednesday's rain when it will make for safer walking in the woods!
My dear Dad used to say that one cannot argue with the facts.   Is that why supporters of the renegade shelter are attempting a snow job that is long on innuendo and very, very short on plausible facts?
Of course it is!    It is much easier to suggest that the 2011 Shelter Audit was penned by 'power mad' provincial board members from away than to admit that it was the direct result of shoddy sheltering protocols.
When THAT audit was discredited, much ado was made of having local veterinarians in to assess the shelter 'properly'
When THE LOCAL AUDIT mirrored the one from 'away', much ado was then made about the renegade shelter being able to do 'some' of the items on the action list!  No explanation was offered as to why such easy fixes were not done in the past.  Nor did anyone discuss that the 27 items were only a partial list in a shelter that had days to prepare for the inspection!
When whining about having their free IAMS food cut off by the big bad ED from away backfired, silence was briefly very golden before getting back to making much ado about those darned whistle blowing volunteers.
In other words, much ado has been made about everything except the facts.  To date the only facts that the renegade shelter have been able to offer up are that:
  • they were willing to sit down and talk.  About what?   The shelter manager being dismissed?  The board being disbanded?  The results of the 2011 Audit?   The refusal to leave SPCA property?   Ignoring all directives from provincial?   By their own admission they have falsified records.  Maybe they only wanted to explain that, eh?
  • Ms Rose is no longer employed as the Shelter Manager.  She is, however, still employed at the shelter in an administrative position.  Children call this game musical chairs.
  • Mel Neville is no longer the president of the disbanded board.  The "new" renegade shelter board is composed of the rest of the disbanded board.
  • there is still have enough IAMS food to last until March.   No one is discussing what happened to the rest of the five year supply that had been received. 
  • Mr Mombourquette is very happy that Metro is willing to take animals.   No facts are being offered about any other outcomes for the animals ... outside of the suggestive quote from Dr Richardson's report stating that things would be ok for the "short term" at the renegade shelter.  Sadly, no actual spokeseperson for the renegade shelter is talking about No Kill anymore.
  • any visitor to Petfinder can see that the renegade shelter is still holding the Cape Breton SPCA petfinder account hostage
  • the annual meeting for the 'new' renegade shelter was by invitation only of names cherry picked from the Cape Breton SPCA membership.   It was a closed meeting and those who were mistakenly invited were turned away at the door.
  • Directors liability insurance will cover the legal fees to come for the disbanded board.  It is a shame there is nothing to cover the pain and distress of all the broken hearts who adopted sick and dying animals.   And it is a tragedy that there can never be any payback for the very conservative guestimate of at least 100,000 dead animals in 30 years.  In snowjobspeak that is referred to as a blessing that the money won't be taken from the animals anymore :(
  • Last but not least, the renegade shelter was able to assume control of the CBRM AC contract with the Cape Breton SPCA.    (The testy topic of how this was done without a bid for tender is a sticky subject for tax paying CBRM residents to discuss with their own Mayor and Council, eh?)
What time is it?   It is time to hope that justice will not be delayed so that this story can be focused back on the facts instead of speculation and sly innuendo.
And that is how I see it on Tuesday, December 27th .... the FORTY - FIRST day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board created the renegade shelter.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

To drive the cold winter away

Even though I am not a church going girl, this is one of my favourite days of the year.    It is such a traditional day for for good food, good company and good cheer that it really does drive the cold winter away. 
As a single mother, necessity has always the frugal mother of invention .... and so visitors on this day have come to expect handmade hors d'oeuvres and canapes ... handcrafted chocolates and fudge ... and of course homemade eggnog:)
One of the joys of being a middle aged grandmother is that all my little holiday traditions have enough history to drive the holiday stress away.   What could be simpler or better or easier than a well choreographed routine one is already well practiced in, eh?
Unless of course one is, like The Mighty Quinn, experiencing one's first holiday season on the inside looking out.  Quinn must be wondering what the tree is doing in the house !   Clearly he is curious about the presents gathering under the tree.   
Does Quinn know that it is Christmastime?  Maybe not ... but he can clearly tell that there is good cheer in the air!   If it is good enough for the Foster Mum that he loves and trusts ... why then it is good enough for him!
Quinn's journey has touched the hearts of so many here in Nova Scotia and beyond.   We were horrified at his original condition when he was first rescued from his horrible old life.  We cheered for him along every bit of the way!   We have celebrated every successful new step!
Yet is even more than all of that!  Quinn's journey has been possible because of the collective kindness of the animal loving community.  The kind hearts who rescue, donate and help spread the word about No Kill.
To paraphrase Nathan Winograd, there is enough love in any community to create better outcomes for all the animals ... and Quinn has come to represent that in our hearts.
With so much love ... I know we will be able to find our way to No Kill Nova Scotia!
What time is it?   It is not time to break out the champagne ... but it is time to celebrate that!
PS ... this winter, "outside" is a place where Quinn goes to play ...wearing a comfy warm coat ... before coming back into the lovely warm house!
This time of the year is spent in good cheer,
And neighbours together do meet,
To sit by the fire, with friendly desire,
Each other in love to greet.
Old grudges forgot are put in the pot
All sorrows aside as they lay;
The old and the young doth carol this song
To drive the cold winter away
fr. the traditional English eighteenth century song, "In Praise of Christmas"
And that is how I see it on Saturday, December 24th ... the THIRTY - EIGHTH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board created the renegade shelter

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Ghost of Christmas Past ....

From The Cape Breton Post
Humane society shelter ‘OK,’ vet tells council
Published on December 19, 2011 Chris Shannon
SYDNEY — Cape Breton regional council heard from veterinarian Frank Richardson on the state of the Cape Breton Humane Society shelter but delayed debate until after the case is heard in Supreme Court in early January.Richardson said Monday according to his inspection on Dec. 13, the animals appeared to be in good health.
“You have reasonable comfort knowing the facility is OK — not forever, but over the short-term,” he said.
“Is it perfect? Absolutely not. There are lots of improvements there that are going to have to happen.”
Walking through the facility located on East Broadway Street in Whitney Pier, Richardson told council he didn’t hear a kitten sneeze or a dog cough once.
And although he didn’t examine animals individually, there didn’t appear to be any animal in distress and many seemed “happy,” he said.
“I didn’t hear any dogs coughing, which would be indicative maybe of possible kennel cough, and I didn’t hear any cats sneezing, which could be indicative of an upper respiratory infection,” said Richardson, the registrar of the Nova Scotia Veterinarian Medical Association.
“The animals all had fresh food in front of them, the litter boxes were clean and their bedding was there. I didn’t see any obvious stress on the animals from a psychological perspective either.
“They weren’t cowering in the corners. They seemed interested in getting a pat when you walked by their cages. They seemed as content as you can be in an enclosed container.”
Overcrowding, an ongoing problem at the shelter, will need to be addressed, he said.
With every animal that enters the shelter, another one should leave through adoption or another means such as a transfer to another facility, Richardson said.
He said the staff are “kind and caring” but need to be aware of the building’s physical limitations.
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality paid for Richardson’s inspection, and that left some councillors asking why the municipality was getting involved with animal welfare when its primary concern should be the $249,000 a year contract it holds with the shelter.
“(Nova Scotia SPCA) as the body responsible for animal welfare, to stay clear until after the court case, they’re the ones who should have people in here inspecting the facility, not the Cape Breton Regional Municipality,” deputy mayor Darren Bruckschwaiger said.
The Nova Scotia SPCA dissolved the local board of directors on Nov. 21 — five days after it attempted to take control of the shelter due to accusations of poor animal care, abnormally high rates of disease transmission and bad bookkeeping.
The SPCA will ask a Supreme Court justice to grant an interim injunction giving the provincial body access to the humane society’s property to enforce the Animal Protection Act. The hearing is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 4-5 in Sydney.
Prior to Richardson presenting his report, council debated for an hour on the merits of holding the session when the decisions concerning animal care are in the hands of the humane society and the Nova Scotia SPCA.
CBRM Mayor John Morgan, who called the meeting, said it was necessary to meet with Richardson for an update on corrective measures being taken at the shelter, and to have assurances the animals are not in danger.
Following a report presented to council by two local veterinarians last month, the humane society received 27 recommendations it needed to carry out to meet minimum standards.
Humane society board chair Mike Mombourquette said he was pleased to hear Richardson’s report.
The board of directors has completed 16 of the recommendations to date, he said, adding that the staff is working to resolve overcrowding at the shelter.
Mombourquette said the shelter struck an agreement with the Nova Scotia SPCA on Friday to move six animals to the SPCA shelter in metro Halifax.
“We have agreed to the possibility of transferring more animals in the new year,” he said. “That’s huge news to me, that we’re able to transfer animals again.”
Council approved a motion to table Richardson’s report and discuss it at council following the court hearing next month. Councillors complained they didn’t receive the lengthy report before Monday’s meeting and couldn’t ask informed questions as a result.
Part of the motion also stipulated the CBRM would only discuss issues involving its contract with the shelter to enforce the dog bylaw, and stay away from animal welfare issues. The CBRM contract with the shelter expires March 31.
The motion also precluded council from carrying forward with its agenda, which included a presentation from the Friends of the SPCA group.
Well then!    This is like an unhappy bit of Deja Vu!   Four years ago, Dr Jamie Campbell did a walk through inspection of Celtic Pets at the request of the town of Port Hawkesbury. Why was he hired?   Disturbing complaints had been received by local residents that required some sort of response from Mayor MacLean and his Council!
Advance notice was given.  No animals were examined.   "They all had food and water".  Sound familiar?
Without access to the actual report, it would be churlish to nitpick .. but there is much to be read between the lines in this story.   The very fact that the society is willing to take in animals before any legal issues are resolved is very telling indeed. 
I rather expect that the society still remembers the disappointing results of the first unannounced visit to the (then) Cape Breton Branch from provincial.   Nor are they likely to forget how well presented the previous and well prepared for visits were.
At one time, the actual numerical ratings for annual military performance evaluations were classed as secret.   Superiors writing difficult PER's were able to carefully couch them diplomatic language to avoid workplace conflict .... such as "Pte So and So does wonderful work under maximum supervision"!
Clearly, Mr Mombourquette needs lessons on reading between the lines.  Is it not very telling that the society is willing to take lifesaving steps before the legalities are settled?  
What time is it?   It is time for Mayor Gordon and his Council to stop avoiding issues of animal welfare when they are enabling the renegade shelter with an untendered Animal Control contract ... one that is actually worth more than $250,000 a year when the full bill is tallied!
And that is how I see it on Thursday, December 22nd .... the THIRTY - SIXTH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board created the renegade shelter.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

May Your Days be Merry and Bright!

Bright Yuletide Blessings!
May the Peace of the Season stay with you all year long!
The Nova Scotia Homeless Pet Project would like to thank every kind heart who adopted a homeless pet this year.   It has been a record year for adoptions in Nova Scotia!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happiness is always a warm and snuggly beagle ....

Hi there .... my name is Patches and I love my new life with my foster Mum, even if she did put this goofy hat on me!    Sheesh .. she could put me a pink frilly dress for all I would care!   Until I was rescued by the kind folks at ARC, I had no idea how wonderful it was to be safe and warm!
For the first time ever, I do not have to worry where my next meal is coming from!  
Please don't get me wrong ... I am not just working hard to learn the ropes for food!   No sir!   I had no idea that people could be so kind ... and that the touch of a human hand could be so gentle and full of love!
We beagles are famous for being smart ... but sometimes we really are like second class dogs.   Sheesh ... it is only in the comic strips that beagles actually like to sleep outside in the winter on top of their dog houses.  Good grief ... you would think folks would understand that because we beagles do not really run around pretending to be WWII fighter pilots either, eh?
The truth is that we little beagles are not really built to live outside.   Have you ever seen a beagle with a big shaggy coat?   Nope!   We have such thin little coats that we really do suffer when we are left to live outside.
My foster Mum says that really good hunters actually bring their beagles in the house !   Gosh I am not sure that I am actually old enough to hear the way foster Mum describes the hunters who think that bringing a beagle in the house ruins their hunting instinct!
Even worse ... when we beagles are so famous for following our little noses, you would think that when we go missing someone would start looking for us.  Last night my foster Mum was telling me about a few little beagles that had lost their way.   Snif' .. they were a Group of Seven ... (except perhaps not quite as artistic) ... but one little one was hit by a car before they were rescued :(  Now they are are a Group of Six and just pretty darned lucky that Atlantic Small Dog Rescue has tucked them under their loving umbrella.
I can guarantee that I am definitely not old enough to hear the way foster Mum was grumbling about what terrible shape these little wanderers were in!   They have probably never seen a vet in their lives ... and today everyone has their paws crossed especially for little Raine :(
So why would anyone want to adopt a Beagle when we cannot resist following our noses?  Because Charles Schultz was right  ... Happiness really is a warm and snuggly beagle!  We put the capitol L in Lovable!   Even better, we are friendly enough and sturdy enough that we make great family pets!
Best of all of course is that we are small enough to snuggle in your lap but big enough to go for a good long hike everyday!
What time is it?   It is always time to have a look at all the lovely beagles available for adoption here in Nova Scotia!
This picture of the "Group of Six" was taken by the kind hearts who found them and were working with the Nova Scotia Lost Dog Network to try to find the owners.   Although local Animal Control and animal hospitals were all contacted, noone was able to identify who owned these little dogs :(

Bobbie  ... gee whiz everybody loves Beagles ... Pssst ... don't tell anyone that Bobbie and Blue really aren't German Shepherds because they are available from East Coast German Shepherd Rescue

Hey did you know that Beagle Paws has a Nova Scotia Chapter now?

 Find Vincent at the LA Shelter

Sweety Belle
sigh .. the Yarmouth SPCA usually has at least one beagle for adoption
This is the ONLY beagle that can live outside without suffering !
And that is how I see it on Tuesday, December 20th ... the THIRTY - FOURTH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board created the renegade shelter.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A sign of the times.

from The Cape Breton Post
CBRM will get animal shelter update today
Chris Shannon

Published on December 18, 2011
SYDNEY — The registrar of the Nova Scotia Veterinarian Medical Association will deliver a report to Cape Breton regional council this morning on whether the Cape Breton Humane Society has been properly addressing deficiencies at its animal shelter in Whitney Pier.The Cape Breton Regional Municipality sought out the assistance of Frank Richardson following the report presented to council on Nov. 23 by two Sydney veterinarians.

Veterinarians Leanna White and Rebecca Korven found problems ranging from the way the health of animals is assessed when they are admitted, to the potential spread of diseases among cats and dogs, and overcrowding in some areas of the shelter.
Some of the problems, having to do with the building’s size, indicate that construction of a new shelter may be required.
With 27 recommendations in all, council will want to see if immediate improvements were made to a number of the more urgent problems, while addressing issues such as ventilation within the building over a period of time, CBRM Mayor John Morgan said.
“We’re hoping many of the (deficiencies) will already have been corrected or at least steps are being taken to address the ones that are long-term in nature,” he said Sunday.
Unlike the first meeting with the veterinarians, which was held in-camera, the session at 10 a.m. in council chambers is open to the public. Representatives from the humane society will also be present so they can respond to Richardson’s report.
On Sunday, Cape Breton Humane Society chair Mike Mombourquette said the board has completed 16 of the report’s recommendations and the remainder are currently being addressed by the board.
“The ones that are not completed are all ongoing. (We’re) trying to complete them as quickly and as safely as we can,” he said.
Mombourquette said some of the recommendations such as removing carpet from the cat room, the addition of more litter boxes, and testing dogs that show signs of the parvo virus, were implemented immediately.
Nova Scotia SPCA used its authority under the Animal Protection Act to dissolve the local board on Nov. 21 — five days after it attempted to take control of the shelter due to accusations of poor animal care, abnormally high rates of disease transmission and bad bookkeeping.
At the request of the SPCA, the shelter took down all signs and logos indicating it was a branch of the organization before it renamed itself the Cape Breton Humane Society.
The SPCA will ask a Supreme Court justice to grant an interim injunction giving the provincial body access to the humane society’s property as it has the authority in Nova Scotia to enforce the Animal Protection Act. The hearing is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 4-5 in Sydney.
The shelter’s three-year contract to enforce the CBRM’s dog bylaw, worth $249,000 a year, is set to expire in March. With only one shelter in Sydney, Morgan said it’s “highly likely” the group that controls the shelter will be most able to deliver the service for the CBRM.
But there are several variables at play, he added.
“We don’t have certainty right now that if SPCA Nova Scotia gains control of the facility that they will necessarily continue with the contract. That’s something that is an unknown right now.”
Council will also hear from the group, the Friends of the SPCA, which hasn’t been permitted inside the shelter since the dispute erupted, and hasn’t been able to publicly present its concerns to the CBRM until today.
I have always loved studying history!    Perhaps it stems from being a schoolmarm's daughter.   Maybe it is an acquired taste picked up during postings across Canada and Europe.
Deep down, I suspect it is simply that curiosity always gets the better of me.   Even allowing for the fact that history is written by the winners, it is just so darned interesting to find out how people lived!
I am always amazed at how often politicians seem to ignore the lessons lurking in the history books and public records.   
In 2010, when Homeward Bound City Pound won the contract for animal sheltering services for HRM, nobody was more surprised than the society!   It was beyond their imagining that anyone outside of The Metro Shelter would be able to offer the expertise or the facility to successfully bid on the contract.
There is a lesson here to be learned, if only the good Mayor and Council of CBRM would choose to put the tender out for their Animal Control Services ... that being of course that they just might be surprised at the options that wind up on the table!
Did Homeward Bound City Pound have a facility when they placed their bid?   Of course not!   The bid included their proposed plan to renovate existing available space to create a short term sheltering facility.
On the other hand, NOT putting the contract out for tender does more than limit the Council's choices.   Whether intentional or not,  the absence of a tender only reinforces the public perception that the Mayor and Council are protecting their pals!
On the other hand ....  if the existing arrangement is a permanent affair , why go through the charade of even calling it a contracted service?   Is it because CBRM does not want the obligation of more full time staff?  The responsibility of building maintenance and repair?  
Or is it simply to avoid public airing of any dirty laundry with that darned  freedom to access public information?   Until the society started publicly posting its statistics, the taxpayers of CBRM had no idea what was happening at the shelter.
The testy topic of how inaccurate those statistics actually were at the (then) Cape Breton SPCA shelter is sadly only one of the action items in the 2011 Shelter Audit, eh?
Five years ago, who would have dared to dream that the society would have changed its tack?   That Pets Unlimited and PJ's Pets would stop selling puppies and kittens?  
That the (then) Cape Breton SPCA would have been ordered by the Provincial Board to stop using the horrible home made gas chamber?  
What time is it?    When the  CBRM Mayor and Council could not find one single practicing veterinarian in the province willing to inspect the renegade shelter, that it might just be a sign of the times!
And that is how I see it on Monday, December 19th, the THIRTY - THIRD day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board created the renegade shelter.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Assumption is the mother of all ......

From today's Herald
C.B. council to deal with shelter issue
December 17, 2011 - 4:37am
By AARON BESWICK Staff Reporter
On Tuesday Cape Breton regional council will hear whether a Sydney animal shelter has complied with recommendations to better its care for the municipality’s stray pets.

After the former Cape Breton SPCA’s board of directors locked horns with its provincial masters in November, council hired two veterinarians to inspect the premises. Tuesday’s report will detail which of the 27 recommendations made by those veterinarians have been instituted.
"We have assumed the role that the province would usually be responsible for," said Mayor John Morgan.
"The province has regulations for these facilities, but they are very minimum standards and they provide no funding for meeting them. The veterinarian will report on whether the first concerns have been met and update us on what needs to be done to make this the most modern facility, irrespective of who ends up owning it."
Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s three-year contract, worth about $250,000 annually, to meet its pet bylaws expires in March.
Ownership of the facility is at the heart of a legal battle between the provincial SPCA and the shelter’s board of directors, which have removed it from under the SPCA’s umbrella and renamed themselves the Cape Breton Humane Society.
In November the SPCA was locked out of the shelter after it attempted to fire its shelter manager and board of directors.
"The former Cape Breton branch failed to address significant concerns related to animal care, particularly in the area of disease control and provision of vet care," said Kristin Williams, executive director of the Nova Scotia SPCA in an email on Friday.
"Because the former branch failed to address these concerns at the time that they were raised and then ultimately failed to stay engaged with the provincial body, the provincial board of directors for the society dismissed the board, and ultimately dissolved the branch.
"The former board instead rejected the society’s polices and authority and are now occupying a facility that does not belong to them."
The SPCA is seeking an injunction, scheduled for Sydney provincial court on Jan. 4 and 5, to be granted access and ownership of the shelter. The Cape Breton Humane Society is fighting the injunction.
While no one from the humane society could be reached for comment on Friday, board members presented their plans to regional council in late November.
"Ten or 12 of the recommendations can be cleared up in an hour, but others can’t be done right away," board chairman Mel Neville was quoted as telling council by the Cape Breton Post
( )
Thirty odd years ago, when I was still wet behind the ears,  workplace wisdom was served straight up by senior NCO's who did not have to worry about being politically correct.  
No question about it ... there were a lot of home truths in those earthy expressions!   To this day, my favourite is still "assumption is the mother of all screw ups".
Most situations that snowball out of control start with a shaky premise of some sort.   Brian Mulroney radically underestimated the opposition to the GST.    The Royal Family truly misjudged the groundswell of grief for Princess Diana at the grassroots level.
And our former fiddling Premier is now gracing the Gaelic College with his management skills since suggesting that we could all just "take the bus"!
But I am wandering afield ... as I often do in my meandering way!   When one looks at it carefully, the assumptions just keep piling up here:
  • First of course was the bald assumption that the 2011 Shelter Audit could not possibly be true!  It was beyond anyone's imagining on the Council that folks they knew everyday could be responsible for such things!
  • Followed of course by the inference that this was the first instance of any trouble .... instead of simply being the first unannounced visit where there was no time to hide anything
  • Hand in hand of course with the notion that the provincial folks from the city just wanted to scoop up assets belonging to the good people of Cape Breton... when in fact it was repeated and sustained complaints at the local level that prompted the surprise inspection
  • When the Council commissioned their own "inspection" ... and the results mirrored the 2011 Shelter Audit, the renegade shelter was allowed to take over the animal control contract.  Why?   Because of course the Mayor and Council assumed there were no other options!
  • This of course begs the bigger question as to why the Mayor and Council have assumed that it is acceptable to pass out an untendered contract like candy without due legal process.   Of course this also raises the even more interesting question .... if the tender for the animal control contract is due for renewal at the end of March, where is the new call for tender?
Now, I love going to the health food store down in the village.   Not the bulk food barn in the mall, but the little store across the street that has been in business for decades.  
To be perfectly honest, I do quite a bit of my shopping there!   One would be hard pressed to find better prices for baking supplies and spices!   Even better, it is the only place around where I can get the alternate types of flours for healthy wheat free dog cookies.
Best of all of course is that I can buy dry goods in bulk.  Not only is that more economical, but it is more environmentally friendly to be able to purchase without the extra packaging.
It is really frosting on the cake that this little store is a local business that is now owned and managed by the daughter of the folks who founded it.  
Do I sound biased?  You bet!  Cindy and I have been friends for years and I have a great deal of respect for her knowledge and expertise!
Is that a problem?  Of course not!  As a private individual, I can choose where I want to spend my money!
It is a different kettle of fish for our elected representatives!   There are  checks and balances in our legal system to prevent our politicians from using their position to line the pockets of their family and pals. 
In Nova Scotia, government spending is categorized in one of two ways:
  • Low Value Purchases - which are goods and / or services valued under $10,000.  These are usually handled directly by departments and agencies by either going to a business that has a Standing Offer, by getting three quotes or by going directly to a supplier that will give good value.
  • High Value Purchases - which are goods and / or services valued over $10,000.   There is a formal tendering process that includes advertising publicly, evaluating all bids received, awarding the bid and publishing the results.
In Nova Scotia, tenders are advertised in one of two places:
  • Locally on municipal or county websites and in the the local newspaper.  
  • In the Procurement Services Department of the Government of Nova Scotia Website
How does this work in realspeak?   A good example would be the tendering process for the Animal Services Contract in HRM a couple of years ago:
  • the contract was due for renewal at the end of March, 2010
  • the call for tender was published on the HRM website by November 8th, 2009
  • the deadline for submissions was December 1st, 2009
  • the results were decided on at the end of January, 2010.
What time is it?   In the midst of all the hoopla about the renegade shelter, it is time to wonder just where the darned call for tender for the new CBRM Animal Control contract is?  It would be poor logic ... and indeed would suggest of favouritism ... to suggest that the council was waiting for the legalities to be sorted out.
Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.   John Kenneth Galbraith
And that is how I see it on Saturday, December 17th .... the THIRTY - FIRST day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board created the renegade shelter.

The twelve days of Christmas at the homeless pet project :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

HART is having an Adoption event on Saturday!

It is no secret that I am a big fan of offsite adoption events!    They do double duty by promoting the individual animals AND getting animal rescue out in the public eye! 
It is just frosting on the cake that every altered pet adopted from a reputable rescue also becomes part of the solution instead of adding to the cat overpopulation problem!  
And .. it is just sugar on the top that each one of the adorable adoptables is also an ambassador sharing the good word about pet adoption to all the adopter's family, friends, neighbours and coworkers!
One of the nicest things that has happened during this Year of the Cat is that there have been more opportunities for offsite cat adoption events at the pet stores that have stopped selling puppies and kittens!
This Saturday, December 17th,  HART will be holding a Kitten Adoption Event!  What great timing to be in the the public eye this time of year!   
I have it on good authority that it may even be possible for prepared kind hearts to bring home their adorable new adoptable the same day!  I would expect that anyone hoping to adopt that day would be best served by bringing their references and, if applicable, a letter from their landlord.
What time is it?  It is always time to applaud those who are willing to go the extra mile for their adoptables by 'taking it to the street'
PS ... not interested in adopting at this time?   Why not see if tickets are still available for the 25 pounds of live lobster to be drawn on Saturday evening?  Tickets are $2 each or three for $5 !   What a great gift that would be!

And this is how I see it on Thursday, December 15th ... the TWENTY - NINTH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board created the renegade shelter.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Three wishes for the season.

I love having the woodstove on a day like this!   What's not to love?   It is comfy and cozy and cheerful in a way that no other heat source can compete with!   Even better, by being the best medicine around for my arthritis, it also keeps my middleaged self off that merry go round of meds that so many my age are stuck on!   
Best of all of course is that it was well worth the investment!    Setting aside the fact that it has paid for itself many times over, it was money well spent to go the extra mile for an energy efficient model!
Wood heat becomes even cheaper when one uses less wood, eh? It is just frosting on the cake that is also indirectly saves me money because it IS more work!   After all,  all that darned piling and stacking and putting away is pretty good exercise, eh?
But I am wandering afield .. as I often do in my meandering way!   Not every dog and cat will be able to curl up by a comfy fire on a cold day like this.  In fact ... this is the kind of weather that has stray cats coming to doorsteps hoping for a kind heart.
The lucky ones will gain entree and have a fresh start.  They will have more loyalty than anyone can imagine for that second chance .... and will happily trade their testicles for domestic bliss.
Not every cat will land on its feet quite so well.   Others will find food and shelter with kind hearts who are unable to afford the spay or neuter.   Not every kind heart will live in an area where low cost spay neuter is available.   Until this is available to every resident in our province, the cat over population issue will continue to be a self perpetuating problem. 
I have occasionally found the unluckiest ones when we have been out in the woods ... sad proof that domestic pets were never meant to manage on their own in the wild.
So that is wish one ... that a provincial government that can see its way clear to spend a couple million to save an art school for the short term would wake up to the long term savings of assisting with a good provincial SNAP.
One of the best bits about being retired is being able to go out to the woods with my good dogs.    Weather seldom slows us down ... because of course we can look forward to coming back into a comfy warm house.
The dog on my sidebar was a senior before he had a shot at domestic bliss.  It was not until Noah's elderly owner passed away that PET Projects was able to rescue him and offer him a better life!
Nova Scotia will not truly be a good place to live until our provincial and municipal governments are willing to acknowledge that sentencing companion animals to life on the end of a chain is more than inhumane ... it is a dangerous practice that creates dangerous communities for our children.
So that is Wish Two ... that anti tethering legislation comes sooner rather than later.
If there is one constant in beautiful Nova Scotia, it is that each and every municipality is unique and different.  Because of this, there are as many different arrangements for Animal Control as their are towns and counties!
In these days of budget cutbacks, it is not realistic to expect this to change.  
Yet we will never get to No Kill Nova Scotia until there is a measure of legislated protection for those who come into the care of any AC ... or its contractors ... in this province
So that is Wish Three .... that provincial legislation be passed to protect all AC intake by requiring that pictures of all impounded animals be posted publicly ... and to prohibit the killing of any animal that has not been offered to rescue.
I know that's a pretty tall order ... but everything on my wish list is "an achievable objective".  
A few years ago, I bought another woodstove .. this time for my workshop.  Well .. imagine my surprise to find out how much more expensive stoves had become!     I expect if I was to go pricing them now, they would be pricier still.
Kind of like my three wishes!  They are not going to get any cheaper a few years from now, eh?  They probably won't cost as much as the fifty million spent on the south shore, but odds are they will yield more return in the long run.
What time is it?   It is always time to remember that one of the virtues of living in a democracy is being able to let the politicians we elect on all levels know how we would like them to spend our tax dollars.
And that is how I see it on Wednesday, December 14th .... the TWENTY -EIGHTH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board created the renegade shelter.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How SHAID is helping its senior kittizens go Home for the Holidays

I love my little 'undercat' .... my mighty little Miss Morgan!   Now that Dora has grown into her three year old self, it is clear that Morgan is still going to be the most petite pussycat here!
Does that mean Morgan is a little wallflower?  That the other cats can boss her around?   Not in the slightest!   My dainty little miss is the unquestioned Queen Bee and even the big boys hop when she demands.
She will always have a little hitch to her gait after having been hurt in her youth ... but that has never slowed her down yet!    In my books, it is just one of those unique endearing little bits that only adds to her charm!
At the time she was rescued, Morgan was very lucky to have come under the loving umbrella of SHAID.   ( Before the keyboards catch on fire ... no I am not going to go on like a stuck record about the Story of Morgan :)  Suffice it to say that she is one of a long line of good cats who have had a paw up from the kind hearts at SHAID.
Once again, SHAID is having it's annual Holiday Adoption Special.  What a great holiday tradition!   Every year, SHAID underwrites part of the adoption fee for the senior and long term resident cats in their care!   The adoption fee for senior kittizens is reduced to $75.00!   Kind hearts who adopt a long term resident kitty only have a very modest fee of $99.00!
There is no downside to this!   So far, eight good cats have already gone "home for the holidays"!     Even better, SHAID has shifted its hours around a bit to make it easier for kind hearts to visit the shelter!
Best of all of course is that every adoption really saves two lives.   For every cat that gets to blossom into his or her best self in a real home,  another good cat in need will be able to find safe sanctuary at the shelter
PS ... for those who have their heart set on a kitten, SHAID still has their special $99.00 adoption fee for kittens until December 18th!    What a wonderful way to help get these youngsters into loving homes instead of growing up in the shelter!

Maybe today will be our lucky day!

A home without a cat is just a house

And that is how I see it, on Tuesday, December 13th .... the TWENTY  - SEVENTH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board created the renegade shelter