Sunday, July 21, 2013

Is there any way to effect change for chained dogs in Nova Scotia?

It is really hard not to feel lied to, let down by and generally just very unhappy about both the Nova Scotia Government - and the Nova Scotia SPCA's treatment and attitude towards chained dogs in our province currently.

Nothing seems to be being done to help dogs that seem to currently suffering every day - and we as members of the animal loving community are watching these animals in our everyday travels go from one day to the next with no positive change happening. It is SO frustrating.

We write letters, we call the SPCA, we call the Minister of Agriculture - and nothing seems to happen - and in fact - in the case of one of the founders of the group People for Dogs - we are starting to be seen as the enemy - NOT the people who are chaining their dogs.

On Friday one of the founders of People for Dogs called the office of the minister for the Department of Agriculture - and her group was called "misleading" - and was told that "not all dogs are companion animals" - in response to why some dogs look so bad when people see them chained outside.

This is from the department of the Nova Scotia Government that's supposed to be protecting our companion animals.

And the NS SPCA doesn't seem to be helping chained dogs.

A couple weeks ago there was a large commotion about a chained dog named Bullet who lives in Hubley - he looked like he was not being treated well and his owner said that the SPCA had been there twice and had said there was no problems - so People for Dogs was making a point of what the owner had said because the dog definitely did not look okay.

The next day in a radio interview with CBC Mainstreet - the Chief Inspector with the SPCA said that was correct - they had been to Bullet's property twice and had seen no violations and had in fact been there again in the last day and there still was nothingg wrong under the current legislation. Everything was fine.

So as far as the SPCA was concerned - and they were willing to say this in public - a dog that looked like Bullet - was in fine condition as far as the SPCA was concerned. Bullet was not in distress enough for them to do anything about him.

I guess it has to be 120 degrees farhenheit, with him living on concrete, no shelter - and him to be so matted that he can't close his eyes anymore for that to be considered distress in the eyes of the SPCA.

It's getting a bit ridiculous, really.

So what all this is heading to is that the Province Seeks Input on Stronger Protection for Animals - for whatever that is worth.

This is our only chance to tell them what we as animal advocates want to have as protection for the dogs and cats that have no say whatsoever in our province. Here is the press release that they put out on Friday:

July 19, 2013 2:55 PM
The province is launching consultations to ensure the most fair and comprehensive regulations are established for protecting animals in Nova Scotia.

"Animal abuse is intolerable. That's why we established legislation in the spring that strengthens penalties for animal abusers, making them among the stiffest in the country," said Agriculture Minister John MacDonell. "Now we want to welcome Nova Scotians to share their thoughts as we create strong, clear guidelines to support this new legislation."

The regulations will address the standard of care for animals, including physical shelters such as dog houses, animal restraints and tethers.

"Many people get a lot of happiness and fulfillment from having a pet as part of their family. For others, animals are more than companions, they are valuable service animals that help them to more easily perform everyday activities," said Mr. MacDonell.

"Either way, we believe it’s important to provide clear guidance that allows people to make the best choices when it comes to caring for their animals."

The Protection of Animal Welfare and Security Act (PAWS) makes Nova Scotia one of the leading jurisdictions in Canada in the protection of animals. It expands the definition of distress for an animal, making it easier for SPCA investigators to do their job. It also makes it an offence to commercially sell a dog whose health has not been certified by a veterinarian. This step, the first of its kind in the country, is an additional tool that will help address the issue of puppy mills and focuses on sellers that are not ensuring the health and protection of their dogs.

"We've already reached out to key groups to invite them to participate in meetings to discuss potential regulations, including the SPCA, People for Dogs, and veterinarians," said Mr. MacDonell. "Pet owners and animal lovers across the province will also be able to share their views in writing in the coming weeks."

People will be able to provide written feedback concerning the new regulations, beginning Aug. 12, for 30 days at or by writing to the Department of Agriculture at:
Animal Protection Act Regulations
C/O Department of Agriculture
Legislation and Corporate Services
PO Box 890
Bible Hill
Nova Scotia
B2N 5G6

I don't personally believe almost one word of it - but we have to stay positive at this point and say that we can effect some change here and they are not going to throw out the things that we send them. They at least have to read it!

So have your say - and say what you believe - and I know that most Nova Scotians want what is best for our companion animals - and guess what Minister MacDonell - ALL dogs are companion animals!

The Chronicle Herald is carrying a story about Bullet currently - here it is -

A number of local animal welfare groups are concerned about a St. Margarets Bay-area dog named Bullet who is always tied outside, regardless of the cold or heat. They’re frustrated that a lack of government regulation regarding tethered animals is preventing them from taking any action.

Groups focus on Bullet’s welfare

Organizations concerned about regulations governing tethered animals

KENTVILLE — An Annapolis Valley animal welfare group has joined others in voicing concern over a St. Margarets Bay-area dog tied outside in the sweltering heat round-the-clock.

Anti-tethering laws in Nova Scotia would prevent the kind of situation, said Scott Saunders, spokesman for People for Dogs.

Saunders was referring to a dog named Bullet who is always tied outside, regardless of the cold or heat.

“We were alerted a couple of weeks ago about a dog named Bullet who is tied outside 24-7,” he said in an interview Friday.

Animal Rescue Coalition from Halifax Regional Municipality has been involved. The daughter of the man who owns the dog contacted the organizations. She was trying to get her father to take the dog in and provide better care.

Animal Rescue Coalition sent a volunteer out, and that person had been checking on Bullet regularly and providing food and water when there wasn’t any. SPCA Nova Scotia has also visited the property twice, but provincial inspector David Ross has told media there is nothing the agency can do in the absence of anti-tethering laws.

The dog owner is now refusing animal welfare groups access to the animal and the property.

“Bullet is still there. He is still chained up,’’ said Saunders. “We’re getting messages from people in the community.”

One neighbour described the situation as “even more pitiful in person.”

“As it stands right now, there is absolutely nothing we can do for Bullet,” Saunders said. “Legally, our hands are tied because there is no legislation.”

Bullet, an 11-month-old husky-Samoyed mix, is tied in a gravel yard to a two-metre chain.

“The dog is tied out in the heat, lying in the sun,” Annette Armitage, with Animal Rescue Coalition, said in an interview.

Her group has tried to buy the dog and find a new home.

Armitage said Bullet has become a symbol for all dogs that spend their lives tethered. Both groups have been lobbying for anti-tethering legislation.

“This is not a one-off case,” Armitage said.

The group has rescued dogs in similar situations and provided new homes. “We’re working with another case in Enfield. We have a case in West Dover. This happens everywhere.”

Saunders and Armitage said they will make anti-tethering legislation an election issue when the NDP government calls an election. The government recently marked the anniversary of its four-year mandate and the writ is expected to be dropped soon.

“We need the government to address this issue, but we also need to enforce the laws we already have,” said Armitage.

“There’s a voter at the end of every leash,” Saunders added.

Agriculture Minister John MacDonell said Friday the province is in the process of developing new regulations and will launch consultations in August.

“Animal abuse is intolerable,” MacDonell said in a news release.

“That’s why we established legislation in the spring that strengthens penalties for animal abusers, making them among the stiffest in the country.”

The regulations will address the standard of care for animals, including shelters such as doghouses, animal restraints and tethers.

The Protection of Animal Welfare and Security Act (PAWS) makes Nova Scotia one of the leading jurisdictions in Canada in the protection of animals, said MacDonell.

It expands the definition of distress for an animal, making it easier for SPCA investigators to do their job. It also makes it an offence to commercially sell a dog whose health has not been certified by a veterinarian, a first in the country and aimed at puppy mills.

Beginning Aug. 12, the public can provide written feedback on the regulations for 30 days at or by writing to the Agriculture Department at: Animal Protection Act Regulations, C/O Department of Agriculture, Legislation and Corporate Services, P.O. Box 890, Bible Hill, N.S., B2N 5G6.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How can we get into this back yard to save Bullet?

Today the advocacy group People for Dogs released a photo of a specific dog who is suffering today in Nova Scotia.

His name is Bullet, he's not a year old and he's spent that entire year tied to the dog house in this photo (Bullet and this dog house cannot be seen from the street) because his owner didn't socialize him or train him so he's not potty trained and not polite enough for the owner to let him live inside - the lady who knows about him says that the owner's father had a junkyard dog - so he's used to having a tied dog.

Everything has been done humanly from an animal activists viewpoint to save Bullet - everything in our toolkit has been utilized -
- the owner was offered money so that Bullet could be purchased and taken off the chain
- it was offered that Bullet could be taken for walks - that was turned down
- conversations with different family members were initiated in a friendly way and relationships built so that perhaps they would give the dog away

And none of it has worked.

Initially the dog's owner allowed the lady to come on the property to give Bullet water and food - but the owner is now refusing her that privilege and has now said he has a gun and will shoot her for trespassing.

So he is now at the mercy of his owner. Normally that would be okay - my own dogs are at my mercy - but I'm a responsible dog owner - I haven't abandoned them in my back yard and not fed them or given them water or companionship or training or any other of those things that you're supposed to do - or I should say, that are a pleasure to do, and are the reason why I have animals.

When People for Dogs released the photo - they sent it to all the provincial MLAs, the Premier, CBC and CTV and the Herald, and the NS SPCA. They also sent some text with it which I will paste below.

It'll be interesting to see if they respond at all.

The SPCA has responded - in that they are going to go and check on the dog - which is fabulous.

What is sad about that is that all they can do is if Bullet is not in urgent medical distress - they can't take him - so hopefully he's in bad enough shape to seize - so everybody say a prayer for Bullet on that point.

We need laws that don't allow dog owners to keep their dogs in these kinds of conditions - because they just are not humane.

There is no way for the area they are living in not to turn into mud - there are some days that the air is completely filled with flies that bite the hell out of them - it`s impossible to keep a water dish full - it's impossible for them not to be hungry - and it is cruel and unusual punishment to impose solitary confinement for a lifetime.

The continual tethering of dogs has been allowed culturally in the past, is allowed because people are lazy - and is done for a lot of stupid reasons - but the time has come in our CURRENT culture where it is completely unnecessary and if there are enough strong minded dog lovers out there, we can end it in our lifetime, just like smallpox.

The time is now - this dog Bullet is out there suffering as I type - he has a face, legs - no grass and no bed - and he is SUFFERING NOW - and we need to save him.

Here is the text that went with the photo to all the VIP's -

Bullets story:

I was contacted I believe in February by the owners daughter who asked me to help.The dog had been bought as a puppy last Summer.They called him Bullet The owners father had a junk yard and so he was used to
having a junkyard dog around.The dog was tied outside.

When she contacted me she said she had reported to the SPCA on two occasions that Bullet was being neglected. It was very cold, the dog was not being fed each day and often was not given water. He had no bedding
in his" doghouse" if that's what you call it) and she felt he may freeze to death or die of neglect.

I spoke to the owner who proudly said the SPCA had been out and said the dog was fine.His daughter was fighting with him everyday to bring Bullet into the house on really cold nights...The owner refused as he
said the dog which is less than a year old has not been house trained or socialised. He often lunges at anyone walking by. He told me he is an angry dog. This could be a safety issue if he ever got off chain. Chained dogs often can turn aggressive and are 2.8 more likely to bite.

Winter turns into Summer and now the dog ( that has a double fur coat) is left to bake in the heat. Offers to the owner to have the dog groomed at my expense are laughed at ( He says getting a dog groomed is for Hollywood bitches) So his fur is smothering him.

On my last visit to him it was 27 degrees ( that was the day I took the pictures.) No one was home... He had no water... there was an pot beside the doghouse that was used for dog food... which was empty.I gave him a
large mixing bowl full of water which I had brought with me. He drank it all at once) He had flies on him and he was panting continuously.

As you can see by the photos his fur is matted and twisted ( another source of pain) he has fleas and has no way of moving around as his rope is no more than 6 ft long. He is underweight and barks in distress continuously.

I was so concerned about the dogs welfare, I offered to buy him . I offered the owner double the price of what he paid for the dog, simply to have him taken away from his misery The owner refused saying" He's just a dog".

This dog is not walked. He has no toys or any stimulus. He has no companionship or comfort. he gets food and water only when the owner thinks about it, as his daughters says he often runs out of food for days at a time

Things have got to change for Bullet... He deserves better than a life permanently on a chain.

As we have tried under the Act to help Bullet and have not been able to do so under the law, we are asking ALL of our elected officials to help. Is there is a hero in the group? Are you able to do more under the Act than we are? We are told again and again by the Minister that everything is fine with the Animal Protection Act. PLEASE! Test your Act with Bullet. Help him. We can’t. We have come to the end of our rope.



You should also read this post - Vigilantism