Thursday, August 19, 2010

Motion For Oversight Of OSPCA Gets ‘Unanimous’ Support


A resolution calling for stronger oversight of the OSPCA, the charity that enforces animal-welfare laws in the province, gained steam Wednesday in the form of a “unanimous” endorsement by the Progressive Conservative caucus.
The backing of the motion, first proposed by Tory MPP Frank Klees in May, comes two days after prosecutors cited mistakes in an OSPCA investigation in deciding to withdraw animal-abuse charges against the Toronto Humane Society.
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals both enforces the province’s animal-cruelty laws and operates a shelter of its own. Critics say this is a conflict of interest in light of the THS investigation and an OSPCA decision to euthanize nearly 100 animals during a ringworm outbreak at its Newmarket shelter last spring.
Mr. Klees argues that an organization with quasi-policing powers should have standards of training and accountability like a public institution, and should be funded by the government.
Cheri DiNovo, New Democratic MPP for Parkdale-High Park, supports the motion. She called on the government to review the handling of the investigation into the THS because of prosecutors assertions that the OSPCA committed numerous Charter breaches.
A ministry spokesman, however, said there are no plans to probe the OSPCA’s investigation or change the legislation.
“The OSPCA is the investigating agency and decisions about the investigation are made by the OSPCA. The ministry doesn’t interfere,” said Tony Brown of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
The OSPCA’s leadership could not be reached for comment. However, the organization’s chair, Rob Godfrey, said earlier this week that decisions on the OSPCA’s enforcement duties should be left up to the government. “I’ve always said it’s not for me to say if the powers should change,” he said.
There is no firm date for the legislature to debate Mr. Klees’s motion, but it could come before MPPs as early as this fall.
*From the Globe And Mail

Sharing Our Parks


Few things rile veteran bird watcher Naish McHugh like dog owners who let their pets bound freely at public parks.
“I’ve been knocked over, bowled over, I’ve had dogs rip my pants, all while birding,” Mr. McHugh says.
Once, while he was quietly watching a hawk in a Toronto park, a large Labrador smacked into him, knocking him right off his feet.
istockphoto
“It was bouncing around beside me and I got up … to kick it” in case it attacked, he recalls, when a second large dog appeared behind him. “And then this guy [came] shouting and screaming at me, ‘They won’t bite! They won’t bite!’ I mean, how do we know they’re not going to bite when they come at you like that?”
The ensuing dust-up with the owner had both parties parting ways in a huff, Mr. McHugh says.
Whether it’s bird watchers versus dog owners, cyclists versus inline skaters, or teenagers hanging out versus families gathered for barbecues, parks are the battlegrounds in the war for public space.
When one person’s picnic area is another’s football turf, clashes are almost inevitable.
istockphoto
In Toronto this week, neighbourhood residents’ concerns about potentially dangerous debris from kite-fighting resulted in a ban on kites at Milliken Park, much to kite enthusiasts’ displeasure.
While some park users may feel his pastime is a nuisance, Gogi Malik, who is organizing a protest at Milliken Park on Saturday against the lack of consultation over the ban, says he has a pet peeve of his own: park litterbugs.
“The problem is that [on] Saturdays and Sundays, a lot of litter is left behind, unnecessarily. That’s what my concern is [that] should be addressed,” he says, adding his own group of kite fighters always cleans up after itself.
Mr. Malik says there have been instances when he’s confronted others to ask them to clean up their litter, but they’re not always responsive. A more effective solution, he says, would be to set out stricter codes of conduct for park users.
“I think more conditions need to laid down …,” he says. “I prefer a formal set of rules [like], ‘This area is designated for this purpose, but if you come here you have to clean up after yourself.’ ”
Keeping different groups separated is one solution to keeping the peace, says Bruce MacWilliam, a district recreation co-ordinator at Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.
Most conflicts, he says, involve people playing loud music, people intruding on others’ personal space and dog owners letting their pets off their leashes in on-leash areas.
“What we try and do is try and meet the needs of all the citizens and set up specific areas to ensure that can happen,” he says, adding that park staff help resolve disputes by directing people to the appropriate places where they can play sports, relax in peace or exercise their dogs. “I guess sometimes it’s just a matter of educating people where those are.”
Richmond, B.C., meanwhile, takes a pre-emptive approach to park peacekeeping by setting out etiquette guidelines in addition to bylaws, the city’s corporate communications officer Kim Decker says.
Its website and park signs spell out rules of courtesy, such as “ride, walk or jog in a predictable manner,” “keep to the right of the path,” and “form a single line when meeting others in a congested area.”
“A lot of these things you can’t even enforce,” Ms. Decker says, but notes that thus far, the pre-emptive approach appears to be working; there have been no reports of serious or recurring breaches of etiquette.
David Walker, co-chair of the Richmond Hill K9 Klub in Ontario, says a local off-leash dog park has been critical for allowing dog owners and general park users to live harmoniously.
But even within the designated off-leash area, not everyone plays by the rules. Under the city’s bylaw, children under 12 aren’t allowed in the dog park, but Mr. Walker says this rule is sometimes broken. Certain dogs, such as pit bulls, that are supposed to be on muzzles occasionally aren’t, and some owners neglect to clean up after their pets. Mr. Walker says he’s been known to pick up other dogs’ “rogue poops,” both within and beyond the off-leash park.
Moreover, not everyone is happy with the dog park’s location. Nearby residents, some of whom are dog owners themselves, have filed a petition against the off-leash park, citing consistent barking and congestion.
While no one is disputing the need for an off-leash park, Mr. Walker says, “they just don’t feel it should be in their backyard.”
But if some aren’t pleased with the downsides of the dog park, one K9 Klub member argues that public parks designated for children are even worse.
“[C]hildren are noisier, more destructive, and do not stay [within] the parameters of the park, not to mention the fact that parents of the older children are not usually there to supervise,” the member wrote on the club’s website. “Teenagers and young adults have been known to hang out and drink at parks, leaving their beer bottles lying around.”

Photo Contest #2 Has Arrived!

Here we go all!! Our first contest focused strictly on pets, and was a great success, so this go around we are switching it up and the category is......PETS AND KIDS! Here are your rules :

- Contest winners will be announced on October 31, 2010
- Photos must depict any combination of pets and children
- Photos may be professionally shot, but NO COPYRIGHTED IMAGES!
- Submission deadline is 11:59 PM October 20, 2010
- Between October 21 and October 30, 2010, individuals may vote on the site for their favourite of the top ten
- Winners will be determined by judges (75%) and blogger votes (25%)
-Photos must be sent in .jpg format by email (click the envelope on the left of the blog) and once a photo is sent, you have given your consent to The Toronto Pet Daily to publish the photo on the blog or any other use associated with The Toronto Pet Daily.

***THIS CONTEST IS OPEN ONLY TO RESIDENTS OF THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO.

Prizes :

1st Prize :$100.00 in gift certificates to PetSmart (in addition, Lawrence Park Pet Care will donate $100.00 to the shelter of your choice)
2nd Prize : $50.00 in gift certificates to PetSmart
3rd Prize : $50.00 in gift certificates to PetSmart

More prizes : the remaining 7 photos of the top ten will win prizes from various pets businesses in and around the city of Toronto. If you would like to donate a prize, please email [email protected] for more information. So far, we have received prizes from Waggz & Whiskerz in Toronto. More details will be posted in the future.

SUBMIT YOUR PICTURE BY CLICKING ON THE ENVELOPE AT THE LEFT OF THIS PAGE so it can be posted on the blog for all to see! ***INCLUDE YOUR ADDRESS IN YOUR EMAIL!!!

PHOTOS WILL BE POSTED ON THE TORONTO PET DAILY SITE.

Good luck everyone, it's going to be a fun couple of months!

No Charges Pending After Pets Die In House Fire

The manager of Toronto Animal Services says no charges are pending after a Toronto couples’ house caught fire, causing the deaths of 27 cats and one dog Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s a very distressing event to lose almost thirty cats,” said Eletta Purdy, manager of TAS. “We’re going to approach this situation with a great deal of compassion.”
Purdy said that charges for violating a municipal bylaw are not being pursued at this point. “Once everything settles we want to work with the couple to get them to comply with the bylaw. We’re not sure if the animals were personal pets or if some or all were just being fostered.”
The city bylaw regarding the number of pets in a house states that no more than a total of six cats, dogs, rabbits and ferrets combined (with a maximum of three dogs) can be kept in one residence.
The maximum charge for violation is a $5,000 fine. Purdy said the bylaw is to guarantee the health and welfare of pets and also to make sure animal numbers in neighbourhoods remain manageable for residents.
The homeowner called in the blaze around 1:30 p.m., Wednesday when he noticed flames pouring out from between the stacked washer and dryer at the back of the Burnfield Ave. home, near Ossington Ave. and Dupont St., said Toronto Fire Capt. Mike Strapko.
“He grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to put it out, but the smoke kept coming,” Strapko said. He said the investigation into the cause has ended and that it’s possible lint, which is flammable, could have sparked the fire.
“The owner said he cleaned the lint trap, but there could have been some inside. It could also have been an electrical cause, but it was because of the dryer.”
By the time firefighters arrived, the two-alarm fire had engulfed the entire kitchen and eventually most of the main floor and second floor were badly damaged. The fire was knocked down quickly, but most of the family’s 32 pets (31 cats and one dog) had already died from smoke inhalation. One cat was badly burned and had to be put down at the scene.
Four cats, including two kittens, are still alive, but one has critical injuries.
“In my 25 years I’ve never seen this large a loss of lives of pets. It’s very sad,” Strapko said. “These people were pet lovers . . . They were an important part of their family.”
No one else was hurt in the fire, which officials estimated caused about $400,000 damage.

Update On The House Fire Yesterday - More Casualties Than Initially Reported

Toronto Animal Services is investigating after 30 cats and one dog were killed in a house fire Wednesday afternoon.
The homeowner called in the blaze around 1:30 p.m., when he noticed flames pouring out from between the stacked washer and dryer at the back of the Burnfield Ave. home, near Ossington Ave. and Dupont St., said Toronto Fire Capt. Mike Strapko.
“He grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to put it out, but the smoke kept coming,” Strapko said.
By the time firefighters arrived, the two-alarm fire had engulfed the entire kitchen. It was knocked down quickly, but 31 of the family’s pets had already died from smoke inhalation, Toronto Animal Services supervisor Mary Lou Leiher said.
Four cats, including two kittens, are still alive, but one has critical injuries. Five other cats are still unaccounted for.
“One of the cats was burnt so bad it had to be euthanized on scene,” Strapko said. “These people were pet lovers . . . They were an important part of their family.”
Toronto Animal Services officials were less forgiving, saying the number of animals in the home far exceeded the six pets that homeowners are permitted by city bylaws.
“We didn’t know about the cats,” Leiher said. “It’s really not in the best interest of the cats to be living in a house with that many other cats.”
According to Leiher, Toronto Animal Services is looking into the situation and has taken steps to provide a veterinarian to care for and monitor the injured animals.
“Every case is judged on its own merit,” she said. “We’re not considering any charges at this time — that’s all that I can really say.”
No one else was hurt in the fire, which officials estimated caused about $400,000 damage.