Wednesday, October 12, 2011

There are some things that should NOT need to be repeated every year .....

I'm going to start putting the wood away this afternoon.   We had such a soggy start to summer this year that I was later getting the wood in the yard. On the uptick, later means there will be less risk of heat exhaustion putting it away!
The cooler weather also makes for better starwatching.  Last night, the need to rummage around for a parka was easily outweighed by the loveliness overhead.  It was just frosting on the cake to be serenaded by the owls and the coyotes while we were out!
Of course it is easier for us to appreciate such beauty when we can come back in to a cozy house, complete with cookies and comfy dog beds!   It just breaks my heart to hear the unhappy little rabbit hounds down the road howling ... who have the very bad luck to be owned by someone who believes that lovable little dogs with thin coats actually prefer to live outside :(
Why don't I call the cruelty line about that?   For the simple reason that I have enough sense to save my breath to cool my porridge.   As long as those poor little dogs are fed, watered and provided with some sort of shelter, existing legislation ...along with the lack of any meaningful regulations ... means that the underfunded inspectors at the society do not engage in battles that they cannot win.
There is a big push on this month from the society for support for their cruelty investigations.    Now that is not a bad thing, per se.    Not when the society has been tagged as the official body to investigate animal cruelty ... without sufficient resources to tackle the job effectively.
Will funding fix everything?   Of course not.   Funding by itself is meaningless without better regulations and legislation.   
Remember our 'new' Animal Protection Act?  Bill 186 that was passed in the house in 2008.   It did not come into law until it was proclaimed by the Governor General in 2010.   Have regulations regarding minimum housing standards for companion animals been written yet?   Sadly no.  This is 2011.  When can we expect to see them?   2012?   Or, like the old song, will they be here tomorrow .... when tomorrow never comes?
What would better regulations mean?   Why of course that it would be less of a challenge for society inspectors to successfully prosecute a cruelty case.    Lets be perfectly honest here, it is not realistic to expect the public to get excited about animal cruelty without the drama and excitement of large fines.
When convicted animal abusers can walk away with barely a slap on the wrist .... when disgraced former board presidents are at liberty to take up where they left off by working with a private group .... when complaints about chained dogs result in the complainant being censured ... it doesn't create a climate of concern for cruelty investigations, eh?
To be fair, the society does have its hands full contending with resistance to change at the branch level.    After decades of out of sight, out of mind, it is a big shock to the collective branch systems to discover that there are rules and regulations along the road to No Kill Nova Scotia.
Nor do the society bear complete responsibility for the regulations.  They can advise, but it is the Department of Agriculture that actually sets the agenda for writing the regulations.
When you think about it, it is really like something out of a Monty Python movie.   The government makes the society responsible for animal cruelty without providing the tools (the funding and/ or the regulations ) to do the job.
What time is it?  It is always time to remember that the only time our politicians will actually 'step up' is when there is sufficient voter feedback to motivate them to do so. 
Action is the antidote to despair. Joan Baez

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