Monday, January 23, 2012

The best way to set a fire ....

I love my kitchen!   All those years of moving around did double duty ... 'seeing the world and meeting new people' also offered the opportunity to 'test drive' every imaginable kitchen under the sun.
That came in pretty darned handy when I was designing my retirement home! 
Finally I have a place for everything!  There is plenty of space for pickling and baking ... for candy making and chocolates ... and even a spot to cool cookies out of counter surfing reach :)
Best of all, it is so familiar and comfortable I could get up in the middle of the night for a glass of milk without turning on a light!
Sadly, it is there is nothing simple or straightforward for kind hearts trying to navigate the animal cruelty laws in this country.   At the federal level are the antiquated provisions in the Criminal Code that have resisted every effort to improve.  Some bills have fallen by the wayside through a combination of poor luck and bad timing ... but at the end of the day there is a general indifference to animal welfare issues by our MP's. 
Why?   Because of course animals cannot vote and until those who CAN vote put sustained pressure on their Members of Parliament that situation will continue. 
The latest effort, Bill C-277 was introduced on Sept 19th, 2011 by Liberal MP Hedy Fry and has yet to get past the first reading :(  Tough on crime bills have galloped through licketdy split since then, but the animals are still waiting.
To further muddy the waters, provincial animal cruelty laws create their own multiverse.   Lately I have noticed for instance that there have been many facebook comments on shared versions of the latest Puppy Mill bust in New Brunswick.   Kind hearts have been crying that there 'oughta be a law'... without recognizing that it is the new law in NB has has actually enabled the NB SPCA to charge the worst of their offenders.
Why the "new" law in NB and not here in our province?  Do New Brunswick's MLA's care more about the animals than our own?  Of course not!   The 'new law' was introduced after a flurry of outraged campaigning by animal lovers horrified to discover that even killing little dogs with a hammer couldn't garner the defendant even a bit of jail time :(
As always, the way ahead for the animals will only ever be paved with strong voter feedback!  Here in NS, our Agriculture Minister has no motivation to have his legal beagles draft better regulations for our Animal Protection Act.
More specific minimum housing standards and licensing requirements for all breeders would simplify the work that the society is mandated to do.  Until such time as such regulations are written, we will continue to see people like Gail Benoit peddling puppies in the free online ad sites and in local facebook marketplace groups. 
Inspectors will continue to be made foolish in the public eyes when they cannot remove chained and penned dogs even after repeated complaints.  As long as there is food and water when the inspector shows up, they can only continue to "educate" instead of actually being able to "enforce".
The third level of course is the municipal level ... where the nuts and bolts bits of everyday animal legislation exists.   It is where municipalities define what is and is not acceptable behavior for pets in their jurisdiction.
Animal advocates are wisely trying to work at this level for anti tethering bylaws to create safer and healthier communities.  The only constant in this province is that there is NO constant.
I buy a license for my dogs every year because I live in Kings County.  If I lived two km away in Annapolis County, I would only need to buy one license per dog per lifetime.  If I moved in Guysborough or Richmond Counties, I would not be allowed to bring Henry with me. 
It is no wonder kind hearts get confused when they fall down this rabbit hole!
What time is it?  It is always time to remember that animals cannot vote and they depend on those of us who can to speak on their behalf!
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

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