Friday, January 20, 2012

In praise of some badly needed sanity

I must confess that it was really rather lovely to watch the oil trucks running up and down the road while I was bringing wood in this morning!  This bitter weather makes for busy days for the drivers  ... and worrisome ones for those who never imagined the cost of keeping warm could rival their mortgage payment!
At this time of year, my friends never tire of telling me how lucky I am to have wood heat.    They conveniently forget that all that lovely wood had to be stacked in the same summer heat that sent them over to the shore!  
No question about it ... wood heat is work!   By the time I put a good dry piece of wood in the stove, it has already been in my hand at least six times.  This does not even include all the other heavy lifting.   There were no leprechauns to lift the heavy tarps on rainy days.  There is no maid here to take care of the extra vacuuming and dusting!  
So why go to all that bother?  Besides the obvious bit that even though the price has crept up, it is still significantly more affordable that oil?   Setting aside the lovely secure feeling of knowing that we will be always be warm and snug when storms knock out the grid?
Why?   For the fringe benefits of course!  Without the comfort of wood heat, odds are that I would be on the same merry go round of meds that so many my age are on!   Without all that hard work, who knows how much harm my not so humble culinary skills could do to my health?
In other words ... as with anything else in life ... the best bits are always the ones we have to work for.
At the end of the day, there is no such thing as a happy ending.   Responsible pet owners understand that noone is going to train the cute puppy for them!   Couples celebrating milestone anniversaries could often give lessons in negotiating skills!
Here in the real world, the interim injunction represents the opportunity for effect long overdue change!  To paraphrase Thomas Edison, folks often do not recognize opportunity because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work!
What time is it?  It is time to understand that the years of wishing and wanting to see change at the highest kill shelter in the province are over.   The time for complaining is over .... now it is time to provide practical support.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and looking for different results.  Albert Einstein
from The Cape Breton SPCA Branch website
Update from Nova Scotia SPCA Executive Director

January 20, 2012
On January 19, 2012, the Nova Scotia SPCA was awarded an injunction to gain control of the shelter in Sydney. We are pleased to have the opportunity to access the shelter and implement improved standards of care. We also look forward to further assessing the facility and level of care to determine what needs to be addressed. Our focus is to create a positive, healthy and compassionate environment for animals and one in which the community at large wants to participate in.
We do have concerns that we have noted already regarding animal care and safety, but are reserving further comment until we can complete a more thorough review. We are in the midst of completing several audits which began immediately when we arrived at the shelter on Thursday. One is a regulatory inspection based on minimum kennel standards as set out by the Animal Protection Act and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. The second is a health and safety inspection which will review the shelter's infrastructure and highlight occupational hazards and related concerns. The third is an animal care audit based guidelines set put by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, which we not only consider industry standards, but also serves as SPCA provincial policy. These reviews will help us plot a course of action and determine priorities.
The SPCA's chief provincial vet will be at the shelter on Sunday to examine the animals. She will also be assisting us with forming a long term veterinary partnership for the shelter and providing critical training for staff.
A full financial audit will also be conducted and a review of current assets. If necessary, the Provincial Society will support and facilitate infrastructure changes deemed necessary, but there is concern about available resources at the local level. A wish list will be posted on line shortly and we thank the community in advance for any assistance they may be able to offer.
The Society will also be speaking with CBRM and discussing the animal control contract and delivery of service and expectations. We would anticipate being able to continue to meet the demand for service in the interim.
The staff, save the former shelter manager, will have the opportunity to demonstrate that they can meet the new standards that we set. We will be evaluating skills and attitude. There are currently four animal care workers and three animal control workers. Provincial staff will continue to have a full time presence at the shelter until such time as we are certain the facility is functioning properly and can be managed by a new shelter manager and board of directors.
We are going to be starting interviews for board candidates and a new shelter manager shortly. We have several qualified applicants.
We understand that this has been an emotional issue for many. We appreciate the public's support, which has served to strengthen our resolve in the process.
The full application to the court is still ahead, which will confirm our legal authority as set out by the Act. We are also open to other remedies that may be achieved outside of the court providing the results are the same.Thank you

Thank you
Kristin Williams
Executive Director
Nova Scotia SPCA

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