Friday, November 5, 2010

My Personal Take On The OSPCA Situation

I rarely post my personal feelings on this site, as it serves to inform & educate the public on pet related issues in and beyond the city, and does not serve as my personal soapbox. Recently, there has been much written about the Ontario Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals, especially in light of the organization's mass euthanization of over 100 animals in its care at the Newmarket shelter. So I may be clear with you all, after this event I began contacting MPP Frank Klees and an ongoing dialogue began. Over the past months, I have assisted Mr. Klees in any way possible to ensure that there is provincial oversight of the OSPCA (there will be a debate in parliament, one which I very much look forward to attending, on this issue on November 18). It is my personal opinion, and one that certainly is not shared by all, that provincial oversight is needed to ensure such a horrid event never occurs again, and to ensure that the OSPCA separates itself as EITHER a charity OR a regulating and enforcing body of animal welfare in the province (continuing to serve as both would be akin to giving the members of MADD, or Mothers Against Drunk Driving, policing powers). In no way is it the intention of this blog to conform individuals to my way of fixing the animal welfare problem in the province (I can, and will, continue to do so by taking alternate avenues). In fact, I have sent several messages to the OSPCA asking a spokesperson to reply on the status of animal welfare in the province, and what the OSPCA purports to do to better the current situation. So far, I have had no response. Over the past 100 years(!) the OSPCA has done such wonderful things to assist animals in need, and such efforts should not go unrecognized. What must be recognized however, is the fact that currently the system is flawed, and some form of MAJOR CHANGE is needed so that the OSPCA can again serve as a shining example to Ontarians, and indeed North Americans, of how to properly deal with the animal welfare crisis in this province and beyond. Am I right? Am I completely off my rocker? Feel free to add your comments below

BTW, pictured is Nelly, my little rescue from the Toronto Humane Society that I adopted two days before it was raided by the OSPCA. I hate to think of what might have become of him had we not met on that day. He's scruffy, he's got an attitude, and I wouldn't have him any other way!

Dog Lovers Say Ontario's Ban Of Cesar Millan's Pit Bull A Shame

The penchant for keeping dogs as pets has reached an all time high in North America. Unfortunately, dogs are just as likely as people to have psychological problems, and when a gifted animal behavioural specialist comes along, pet owners are thrilled.
One such specialist is Cesar Millan, a man capable of forming special bonds with dogs, with an apparently magic ability to guide dogs out of misbehaviour such as barking too much, aggression, destroying the house, and many other problems that plague pet owners. Cesar Millan, aka the dog whisperer, has a huge franchise hinged on his gift for taming the beastly dog. He not only has a television show, he has written several books, offers a newsletter and has an online community. Many people have been wowed by Millan's apparent ease in taming the apparently unmanageable dog, often without much more than a firm word and a look. And Millan's current Canadian tour has been eagerly anticipated by his Canadian fans. As one Montreal-based fan wrote,
"... My husband and I can't wait to see your show tonight in Montreal. We've watched your TV program since 2004, along with our rottweiler named Zeus. We are also looking forward to meeting you after for the Q&A's tonight."
Millan began his Canadian tour to eleven cities across the country on October 26. He's just completed the Ontario leg of the tour, which saw appearances in Hamilton, London, Ottawa and Toronto. Part of Millan's presentation uses dogs to demonstrate tips and techniques. Millan likes to use his 'ambassador for pit bulls,' Junior -- who is a pit bull. However, after a request to grant Junior an exemption to Ontario's pit bull ban was denied by the Attorney General, a fur-flying flap has resulted. Millan had requested the exemption from Chris Bentley in August. The Times Colonist reported Bentley explained his refusal for the exemption by saying
“We have a piece of legislation and it applies to all. We don’t amend it on the fly. We respect the law and we expect the law applies equally to all.”
Chicago Now blogger Steve Dale pointed out that the Ontario legislation has exemptions which allow pit bulls into the province for dog shows and flyball tournaments. Dale said he disagreed with Millan's ideas on training, but said
"... I am grateful to Cesar for telling the truth about Pit Bulls. Some of his favorite dogs have been Pits, and he's not afraid to say so. Pits have traveled with Cesar, and graced the cover of his books."
Dale noted
"... Millan has already spoken extensively against breed-specific bans. Millan believes breed-specific legislation is discriminatory and misplaced, as do many opponents of the bans. He says aggressive dogs are the result of bad owners."
Dale was not mistaken. Pit bulls are allowed into Ontario under specifically outlined situations, such as for dog shows and flyball tournaments. But in spite of those exemptions, the The Dog Owners' Liability Act and Public Safety Related to Dogs Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005 also emphatically states under the heading, 'Importing Pit Bulls,'
"It is against the law to bring pit bulls into Ontario, even for a short visit."
Junior has accompanied Millan for some of his Canadian shows, reported the Canadian Press. However, Junior will not be going to Winnipeg, which also has a pit bull ban. According to the Winnipeg Sun, the person who lobbied to bring Millan to Winnipeg said
“It’s really unfortunate that this had to happen. I think there’s a preconceived notion about pit bulls, but it is the human that can essentially make or break a dog.”
One Ontario MPP, Cheri DiNovo has opposed Ontario's new legislation that bans pit bulls since the legislation was introduced then enacted. DiNovo tried to help Millan bring Junior, a certified therapy dog, to Ontario, telling the Canadian Press
"It's significant that Cesar Millan, the foremost dog trainer in the world, has had two generations of pit bulls that he's used as his example of well-trained, happy, responsive dogs."
However, Bentley refused to allow an exception for Junior, saying
"I really respect the work of Cesar Millan, the work that he does. You know why we brought in the pit bull legislation. It was to protect people and protect dogs — protect other people's pets."
The Globe & Mail reported the Ontario Conservative Party leader, Tim Hudak waded into the dog fight too, saying refusing the exemption would "be pretty embarrassing" for Ontario. DiNovo has introduced legislation that would see Ontario's new dog responsibility law amended to get rid of all breed-related references. A Facebook group, Lift the Ontario Bitbull ban, urges people to sign a petition supporting the amendment to the legislation. The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies states breed bans do not work, and notes that restricting ownership of "dangerous dogs" has not reduced the number of dog bites.
"Dangerous dogs can exist in every breed and breed cross. This behaviour can be attributed to the lack of appropriate training and socialization, inappropriate breed choice for owner’s lifestyle, failure to spay or neuter and mistreatment on behalf of the owner or person interacting with the dog."
Earlier this year, the Toronto Humane Society (THS) released the results of a study the organization had conducted on breed-specific dog bites. Reported in The Star, the THS said a review of reported dog bites since the new law was introduced showed a minimal reduction. The agency concluded
"It is clear that the new law has not worked. It has not reduced the number of dog bites and increased public safety. All it does is punishing one breed of dogs.”
Pitbull attacks continue to make leading headlines. A recent attack by a pitbull on a four year old in Las Cruces, USA has resulted in the dog being euthanized reported the Las Cruces Sun News.

Read more:

Check Out Superdogs At The Ex Starting Today Until November 14!

They're back! The President’s Choice® SuperDogs are always a huge hit with fair-goers, and in particular children who love the non-stop, high-energy show. The stars of the show - Leap, Rally, Icon, Slingshot, Flapper and Pot Roast - plus 40 other canines bow-WOW fair-goers with their antics and athletic feats. Audiences get a thrill watching them race around, up and over obstacles; launching themselves over high barriers; and even singing and dancing; working as a team to put on a stellar performance.  The Royal Family Theatre featuring the President’s Choice® SuperDogs! DAILY shows included with your General Admission Ticket. Please note that General Admission does not guarantee a seat. To gain admittance, please be advised that you should line up outside of Hall D at least 30 minutes prior to a scheduled show.

Click here for more info.

Peter Worthington's Take On The State Of Animal Welfare In Ontario

While it may be vindication for individuals, the damage done to reputations and to the principles of the Toronto Humane Society may be long-lasting. On Monday, Crown Attorney Christine McGoey dropped all charges against former THS executives who were charged with cruelty and conspiracy nine months ago, and photographed leaving the shelter in handcuffs under police escort. “Serious breaches” under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and unreasonable search and seizures methods, meant that there were “no reasonable prospects” of conviction of former THS President Tim Throw, chief veterinarian Steve Sheridan and others.

So ends the drama. Or does it? Reputations were ruined by the OSPCA’s raid that should never have taken place, and which verged on a conspiracy by alerting media to what was going on so that incriminating photos could be taken of the principals in handcuffs. The old THS board was replaced in May by a “Faces of Change” board which has scaled down the THS policy of not refusing any animal in need, and its reluctance to euthanize any but the most sick or injured. Where the THS shelter had some 1,100 animals at the time of the OSPCA raid, the new board says it houses only 250-300 animals, will accept no stray dogs or cats, and animals should be surrendered only by appointment. That’s a far cry from being “dedicated to providing compassionate care, shelter, adoptions to caring homes and a voice for abandoned, abused and injured companion animals,” as advertised on the THS website. What it seems to mean is that the THS is lowering its sights from caring for any and all animals to dealing with a few animals in need. Strays and others go to Toronto Animal Services which is the pound; killing takes precedence over adoption. Put bluntly, needy animals in Toronto are in for a hard time. People concerned about animal welfare should be uneasy. The OSPCA, which waged a vendetta against the THS for years and finally won, is itself under fire these days. It recently settled out-of-court for $40,000 when it raided and confiscated farm animals from Don Hervieux of Elmvale. Earlier, it announced it intended to kill 250 animals with ringworm, but reduced the number to 99 when a storm was raised. So it’s not a happy time for animals in the province.

Back in the 1980s, a rebellion among THS members resulted in a new and reduced board of directors run by Vicki Miller and the late Kathy Hunter that focused more on ethical treatment of animals than control and euthanasia. The province intervened and the board was expanded, but controversy seethed. In the early 2000s there was another attempt to take over the THS, and again the membership intervened to vote Tim Throw as president — and he led the campaign to reduce the THS’ kill rate to 7%, instead of the more usual 50%. It’s not unreasonable to suppose the THS membership, which is around 3,000, could rally to replace the “Faces of Change” board if it fails to meet expectations and continues to reject strays and becomes prohibitively bureaucratic. The former THS management may have erred, but its concern for animals was undeniable, albeit sometimes misguided. While the courts have tried to right the wrong, it doesn’t solve the problem of abandoned or mistreated animals in Toronto.

The Toronto Sun

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ontario's Highest Court Reinstates Death Sentence For Ginger The Pitbull

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Ontario's highest court has reinstated a death sentence for Ginger the pit bull. Ginger was involved in a fight with a dog named Buddy in east-end Toronto in November 2005 that left both dogs and Buddy's owner with injuries. The City of Toronto was granted an application to have Ginger destroyed under the Dog Owners' Liability Act in 2007, but Ginger's owner, Philip Huggins, won an appeal. The Crown took the case to the Court of Appeal for Ontario which ruled Thursday to reinstate the order to destroy Ginger. Justice Mary Hogan, in setting aside the destruction order, had decided the Crown must prove, in addition to the fact that a dog is a pit bull and bit a person or an animal, that it is necessary for public safety that a dog be destroyed. However, the Appeal Court found that the intention of the Dog Owners' Liability Act is clear and requires Ginger be destroyed. "When it comes to pit bulls, one bite or attack, or one menacing act ... mandates the court to issue a destruction order," the justices wrote. "The legislature did not contemplate a debate over whether the dog's conduct was an act of aggression, or whether it occurred in circumstances of play or provocation or self-protection or the protection of humans or their property." Justice Robert Blair conceded that the decision will be difficult for Huggins. "Like pet owners generally, he is undoubtedly very fond of Ginger and sees her as the friendly dog and docile pet his mother portrayed at trial," Blair wrote in the decision. "The legislature has decided, however -- as it is entitled to do -- that pit bulls are inherently dangerous animals that pose a risk to public safety by their very presence in public places."

Missing Snake In Downtown Toronto...On Your Tippy Toes All!

Jayme Poisson Staff Reporter

Benjamin Schorer says he was cleaning his apartment Tuesday morning when a snake slithered out of his drain. “I was in shock, ‘Is this for real!?’” said the resident of 100 Wellesley St. E. “I’m extremely phobic, I haven’t gotten nearly any sleep in two days.” According to Shorer, he spotting the metre-long reptile, took a quick video of it on his iPhone and went straight down to the management office in his pyjamas. The snake disappeared. “At first they looked at me like I was nuts,” he said. “We looked for it and they told me not to worry about it. They said it was probably somebody’s pet.” But Schorer couldn’t stop worrying: “What if the snake was poisonous?” he said. So, Schorer said he began to research, calling several pest control companies until he was redirected to Animal Services. Then, he emailed the video to an expert at the Toronto Zoo who told him the snake wasn’t dangerous. Dangerous or not, he’s not pleased. He wonders why building management isn’t putting him up in a hotel. Journalists were directed to Tom Schwartz, president of the Canadian Apartment Properties Real Estate Investment Trust. He has yet to return a request for comment. “It could be in the walls of the building for all I know. It could have gone back in the drain or could even be in my apartment somewhere,” Schorer said, adding that the experience has been both weird and stressful. A memo from building management was posted on the tenant’s association website and outside the elevators saying the snake is a pet. It adds Toronto Animal and Control says the snake is not poisonous. The snake is being described as an albino California King, with orange and white markings and a very small head. Tenants are being asked to contact management if they spot it. Travis Bergmann lives across the hall from Schorer on the 21st floor. “I don’t want to live in a building with snakes,” he said, adding that he checks under his couch and inside his cupboards. On Tuesday, Bergmann said someone from animal control knocked on his door to ask if he had a mirror they could borrow. They were looking for a snake. “I know it’s not venomous but it’s still creepy,” he said. It is unclear at this time whether the snake belongs to someone living in the building. John Mowat, an employee at Vaughan Reptilia said people shouldn’t “freak out.” “They’re kind of shy snakes,” he said. “It’s not going to bite anyone or harm anyone.” On a scale of one to 10, Mowat ranked the California King snake “about a six or seven” when it comes to popular choices for pet snakes. He added that the breed is colubrid, meaning it can handle cooler temperatures. “It could probably survive here,” he said. “And I guarantee you a hundred bucks you’re not going to find it because those snakes get into anything.” While most tenants are on edge, some are thinking about the snake’s well-being. “I’m mostly just worried about the snake,” said resident Carolyn Bentley. “It’s been missing for two days. It’s probably hungry or stuck somewhere.”

For more & the video, go to The Toronto Star

OSPCA Fails A Champion Horse

Apalachian Chief heads to the winner's circle after winning the Cup and Saucer at Woodbine in 1998

This is a tale of a racehorse. He won and placed in several prestigious races in his younger days, willingly running his guts out for the glory and enjoyment of his owner. The owner got the fame and fortune and the money. This is a common practice in order to TRY to recoup some of the money the farm owner has already spent in giving the horse the care that they need and deserve. Among those sold is ‘our’ subject horse Appalachian Chief, known as Chief for short. He is bought by a lady who had him for a while and cared for him appropriately.  For whatever reason, this good owner sold him to the current owner. This is where his life in hell begins on April 1st2010.  Some would say that this was a cruel April Fool’s joke for this poor horse.
 He was bought by a woman who has worked at the racetrack and various prestigious farms in the area for MANY years and knows very well how to care for horses - but CHOOSES NOT to.  She brings Chief to his new ’home’.  This ‘home’ is a garage with a chipboard cage on a cement floor. 

The prison from outside

There is nowhere for him to go outside because there is no paddock.  There are no other animals and horses being a herd animal, after all, thrive in the company of others.  There is a skiff of bedding on the concrete floor but not nearly enough to provide a proper cushion for him to stand on which he must do 24/7.  He cannot even lie down comfortably, if at all due to the constant presence of feces and urine in his ‘stall’.
Where he has been since April 2010

There is only a partially filled bag of hay and so he begins to live, without being able to stretch his legs for more than a trip around his approx. 7×12 foot ‘cage’.  The very nature of horses is that they must be able to have the ability to move freely over a large distance which this prison does not afford.  On April 2ndthe OSPCA is called by a concerned neighbour who is an experienced horseman and who lives nearby.  They do arrive quite promptly and for the rest of the summer into the fall they pay weekly visits to Chief.  Throughout the incredible heat waves we had this summer Chief would go for days without food or water. Had it not been for the concerned neighbour ‘trespassing’ and sneaking him a little bit of water and picking a few handfuls of grass, we have no doubt Chief would have died. Eventually a round bale of nasty, dusty, moldy hay that not even cattle would eat arrives and is placed outside his stall so that he can eat it, sort of.  It’s put just out of his reach so that swallowing is difficult.   

Chief stretching for his mouldy hay. Yes, the grey stuff in the photo below of the bale of “hay” is mould.  This the OSPCA deems as being acceptable.

Hay bale showing grey mould

As was this bale of something he was forced to eat earlier on this year.

Hay? Straw? Mould? YES!

A great many people have offered to purchase Chief from the owner, just to get him out of there, but she loves the attention not the horse.  One potential buyer had to spend upwards of 4 hours listening to Chief’s owner tell them how smart she is, how she outsmarts the OSPCA by having food present because that is all they need to see, about how she wins ‘wrongful dismissal’ suits, about how she does not believe in feeding horses unless they are being worked!  For those people who have offered to buy Chief from this woman when it comes to talking price she suddenly ups the amount she wants, often by double, and then caps it off by saying that she won’t sell him that she’d rather keep him so that she can write him off as a tax write off because he’s a “breeding stallion”.  With Chief’s escalating decline in health he will never be any kind of breeding stallion.  And so Chief stands, patiently serving his time in hell in this cage that was not cleaned out from April 2nduntil after June, count that, that is over 3 months of manure, ankle deep manure in the heat of the summer, with no cross ventilation, holes in the roof above his head allowing a steady stream of rain to add to the black, stinking manure, day in day out.  
Typical condition of Chief's stall
 Months of flies eating away at him. 
Months of wondering what he did wrong in life to end up like this.


How do have they done this?  

They have been notified many times about this situation that they eventually started making regular visits, same day of the week, same time of the day. They wanted to ‘educate her’ and left the owner brochures outlining how to take care of a horse, and reminding her that she should feed him  They would not ask or take into consideration all the people that were available to give references saying that she DOES know how to take care of a horse, but refuses to “’cause ain’t no body gunna tell me what to do with my horse, ain’t nun of their f..ckin’ business”.  All of the people concerned for this horse have been long time OSPCA supporters and know that funds are often tight and it is harder to re-home a horse than a kitten (they are all horsemen and horsewomen) and have let the OSPCA know that they have raised funds amongst themselves to pay for this horse, have arranged transportation that is on 24//7 standby, have found several options for places for him, all in an effort to help the OSPCA, IF they did their job and seized this horse.  This is met with a reply that they see nothing wrong and his care falls into the acceptable level of care as outlined for livestock and slaughter animals.   IF you read their own words on their own website about the necessary standards of care for ALL animals, it clearly states the animal must not be in  unsanitary conditions, it must have access to food an water, it must not be willfully neglected…………. and they are allowing every one of those ‘rules’ to be broken.
Chief showing wormy belly and protruding bone in his hindquarters from malnutrition. (The fresh layer of shavings he's on was put down on OSPCA inspection day. Below is the norm.)

This once dashing champion is wasting away before our very eyes  From the friendly, outgoing demeanor that was present when he first landed in this prison, he has changed to a depressed, frustrated and angry horse.  Who could blame him?  

It appears that the OSPCA will not move until Chief is dead. 

We are posting this story to raise awareness of Chief’s plight to implore our readers to demand that the OSPCA do the right thing and seize Chief and allow a reputable rescue take him and give him the good fitting home he deserves.  We also want to ensure that the you the public are made aware of this situation. You have the right to, no, need to know where your donations are going and what is being done with the money.  All of those cute little puppy and kitten and bunny calendars that the OSPCA sends out give a very misleading impression that they actually care about all animals and certainly does not come close to lifting the corner of that nasty little rug that they sweep these sorts of atrocities under.  Please contact the OSPCA and your local MPP to express your opinion on this awful situation.  And while you’re at it, tell them that the laws in Ontario and Canada have to be strengthened to protect all animals.
Chief and many others are waiting for your help!

Canadian Horse Defense Coalition

Another Entry In The "Winter Wonderland" Photo Contest


Pets & Prozac - Your Thoughts?

Great news, pet owners: You no longer have to share your Prozac with your hyper pooches. They now have their own beef-flavoured pet Prozac. No yip. Besides, pet owners, you've done enough already: you've shared your neuroses with your puppies and pussycats and, more than likely, you're responsible for their perceived unsettled states of mind. Furthermore, you may have no qualms about forking out hard-earned funds to cure what you believe is ailing your Fido. Statistics show that North American pet owners shell out more than $5 billion -and counting -on meds, for everything from dealing with tapeworm to, now more than ever, psychoactive drugs. No surprise, then, that North American pet owners spend more than $53 billion annually on food and supplies for their critters. Or spa services like "pawdicures" and "doga" -that's yoga for their Bowsers, silly. Or that North Americans now pay more for dog-walking services than daycare for their humanoid offspring. That's the nature of the beast these days. There are more than 140 million pet dogs and cats in North America, and their owners can be rather obsessive. These are some of the alarming findings uncovered in Pet Pharm, a must-see documentary -for those with or without animal sidekicks - tonight at 9 p.m. on CBC-TV and tomorrow at 10 p.m. on CBC News Network. Doc director Patrick Reed raises the question of whether putting pets on Prozac and the like is an act of compassion or indulgence. The answer is not as obvious as it may seem. In addition to a slew of anxious pet owners at their homes or on the road at the Woofstock festival in Ontario, Reed speaks to vets on both sides of the controversial position of prescribing psychoactive drugs for pets: Nicholas Dodman and Ian Dunbar. Dodman would be the pill proponent, while Dunbar is all about paws and love without the Prozac buzz. Both make convincing arguments for their respective cases. But the frightening reality is that they are increasingly dealing with alleged grown-ups who view their pets as surrogate children and who have passed their foibles on to them. And so if the pet owners believe they need Prozac or the like to chill out after a draining day, they are sometimes of the opinion that what's good for them is good for their dogs and cats. Not all pet owners come across as nuts here. Take Toronto dog owner Jen Hart. All was swell between her and her rescue hound Zeke. Until Hart hooked up with a new beau, Greg, with whom Zeke took exception. Zeke took a large nip out of Greg. Then Zeke had to be muzzled when in the same room as Greg. Hart tried all sorts of approaches with trainers and vets to find a solution. None worked. She didn't want to have to make a choice between her man and her mutt. So, as a last resort, she put her pet on Prozac. Viewers will have to determine for themselves if the therapy was a success. Viewers will have less difficulty coming to conclusions about whether psychiatric meds are really needed to handle alleged cases of obsessive-compulsive and separation disorders. Unlike Dodman, Dunbar seeks to curb anti-social behaviours by playing with and praising pets. He notes, as is evidenced here, that not all "yuppie puppies" react well to drugs. He also observes that perhaps it's not the unruly pet who has to be changed, but rather the neurotic owner. Dodman, on the other paw, estimates that 4 to 5 million pets a year in North America must be put down because of their bad behaviour and that meds may be the panacea in keeping them alive. If you think North Americans are a little over the top, Reed heads over to Japan, where canines now outnumber kids under 15. He also discovers that there are five-star hotels for pets, that there are kitty cafes where folks can frolic with felines for a price, that there are companies renting out dogs for $30 an hour. And, no surprise, that there are an inordinate number of millionaire Japanese veterinarians. Reed's initial feeling upon learning a few years ago that people were administering beef-flavoured Prozac to their pets was not entirely positive. "My knee-jerk reaction was that this was a sign of the apocalypse," he says in a phone interview from his Toronto office. But Reed, who abandoned a Ph. D. in history to make movies, decided not to jump to quick conclusions when undertaking this doc: "I didn't want to sit in judgment. I started looking more closely at the situation and saw that people were really struggling with their pets and their behavioural issues. They had tried so many different approaches before finally reaching for the pill." Yet he is alarmed about the potential of pet-pharm conglomerates preying on the unsuspecting and naive. "If there is a cautionary tale here, it's to watch out for those pharmaceutical companies. Maybe these pills work in extreme cases, but the pharmaceutical companies are not marketing to niche extreme cases. "It's the classical marketing. Like does your dog whimper when you leave the house or get excited when you come home? Then your dog is probably suffering from separation anxiety, they would like you to think, and is a candidate for a pill. But, honestly, all dogs are a little upset when their owners leave." True enough, based on personal experience with my two pooches. But not enough that either of them need meds to mellow out. Cats becoming despondent when their owners split? Not so much. The usual reaction in my kitty's case: "Here's your coat. What's your hurry?" Reed reports the same with his cat: "If you treat your pet as a pet, there's often no problem. But if your pet fulfills your need for a child, there's a certain degree of transference. Then you can't help but look at the animal through your own eyes, and with more and more people on psychiatric medication ... well, you can see what may happen."

Read more:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ontario Bans Dog Whisperer’s Pet Pooch

Every dog has its day - except, it seems, in Ontario. The world’s most celebrated dog owner, Cesar Millan, has been forced to tether his pet pit bull, Junior, at home during his current 11-city Canadian show tour. The reason: It’s illegal to bring pit bulls into the province, owing to a five-year-old government ban on the breed.
Scheduled to appear Wednesday in Ottawa, Mr. Millan, better known as the Dog Whisperer, the name of his hugely popular canine rehabilitation reality TV show, was not available for comment. However, Conservative Party Leader Tim Hudak said Ontario’s ban on the Dog Whisperer’s dog would prove to be “pretty embarrassing” for the province, “across Canada and North America.” “We opposed the [original] bill,” Mr. Hudak said, “and suggested we should [enact] dangerous dog legislation, no matter what the breed. This is just the latest example of Dalton McGuinty’s nanny premier approach run amok.” In an interview Wednesday, New Democrat MPP Cheri DiNovo called the Ontario ban “a horrendous piece of legislation” that discriminated against dogs based on their looks, not behaviour. “It’s the deed, not the breed,” she insisted. Earlier this year, Ms. DiNovo introduced a private member's bill to amend the breed-specific aspects of the legislation. Breed-specific legislation, she noted, has been repealed in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden. Although her own bill is unlikely to be given second reading at Queen’s Park, she says she intends to reintroduce it after the next provincial election. A pro-amendment Facebook page, Lift the Ontario Pitbull Ban, claims 993 members. Ontario’s 2005 Dog Owners’ Liability Act, banning the breeding, sale and ownership of pit bulls, was passed after a series of savage pit-bull attacks. The ban covers Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, American pit bull terriers and any dog with the “appearance and physical characteristics … substantially similar to those breeds.” Current owners of pit bulls were allowed to keep their pets, but had to have them neutered or spayed, and kept muzzled and leashed in public. The statute’s legality was upheld by an October, 2008 decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal. Clayton Ruby, the Toronto lawyer who led the unsuccessful court challenge on constitutional grounds, called the law “irrational and ineffective. Breeds are not dangerous, per se. There is no rational basis for singling out a specific breed. In terms of deaths caused by dogs, the pit bull is No. 5 and it’s well down the list in terms of bites.”

Another Entry In The "Winter Wonderland" Photo Contest

Wylie & Zoe

Media Release From The Ontario Federation Of Anglers And Hunters (With Regard To The Current OSPCA Situation)

Ontario Legislature should support OSPCA resolution
Lack of accountability, dual role and self-investigation must be addressed

On November 18, 2010, the Ontario Legislature will debate and vote on a resolution by Newmarket-Aurora MPP Frank Klees, which urges the government to amend the OSPCA Act and reverse changes to that Act under Bill 50, which gave the OSPCA virtually unfettered powers of search, seizure and self-investigation.

"The OSPCA Act is a public statute, which a private agency has been given carte blanche to enforce. During the Committee hearings on Bill 50, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) and several major agricultural organizations recommended against the virtually limitless powers being handed to the OSPCA, with no oversight by the government," said Greg Farrant, O.F.A.H. Manager of Government Affairs & Policy. "Unfortunately, the Committee ignored the recommendation. Further compounding the problem is the fact that the OSPCA raises funds as a recognized charity, while at the same time exercising unprecedented powers as an enforcement agency that is engaged in warrantless searches, seizures and the laying of charges. At a bare minimum, the government should have ensured that the two functions were separated out, and that a stringent series of controls over the powers accorded to the OSPCA were put in place."

At various times since the passage of Bill 50, both the Minister of Community Safety and the Acting Premier have been asked why this oversight is lacking. Each has repeatedly suggested that because the OSPCA is an ‘arms length' agency, which is ‘independent' of the Legislature, they are prevented from acting. When questioned in the House in May, the Minister of Community Safety stated that, "Our government has developed a system that is consistent with so many other jurisdictions in North America..." In fact, this is not the case. The O.F.A.H. pointed out during the Committee hearings that government oversight is included in several other jurisdictions, including Saskatchewan, where the Saskatchewan Animal Protection Act gives the Minister considerable powers to set requirements, qualifications and standards.

"It's unconscionable that the government is claiming that its hands are tied. Bill 50 could have been amended during the Committee stage to provide the oversight that is clearly needed, particularly in light of recent events in Toronto and Newmarket. The fact that the OSPCA is not accountable to the public; that the public has no ability to access information about them through the Freedom of Information process; that they investigate themselves; that the training provided to inspectors is minimal at best; and that they act as both charity and enforcement agency is profoundly disturbing," added Farrant. "The O.F.A.H. urges all Members of the Legislative Assembly to support the resolution which would correct this situation."

With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 670 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the province's largest nonprofit fish and wildlife conservation organization, and the voice of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit
Greg Farrant
Manager of Government Affairs and Policy
705-748-6324 ext. 236
Lezlie Goodwin
Communications Coordinator
705-748-6324 Ext. 270

Another Entry In The "Winter Wonderland" Photo Contest


First Entries Into The "Winter Wonderland" Photo Contest!

Rosie & Blue

Chester & Coco


Ajax Fire Trucks Equipped With Pet Oxygen Masks

AJAX -- Ajax pets can breathe easier now that local fire trucks are equipped with pet oxygen masks. The idea for the masks came from Ajax resident Darlene Flynn after she read about pet oxygen masks in an American magazine and thought that would be a great idea locally. "I was in a house fire when I was a child, so I've always had a soft spot for firefighters," said Ms. Flynn. She and her husband, Mike Flynn, agreed that instead of exchanging presents for their 37th wedding anniversary, they would try to get oxygen mask kits for the local fire department. The Flynns are pet lovers and have two dogs, a hound cross and a Jack Russell terrier. In conjunction with the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, Invisible Fence Brand donates mask kits to fire departments across Ontario in exchange for donations to pet-related charities. In this case, the Flynns made a donation to the Farley Foundation, a charity which helps seniors and people with disabilities get required medical treatment for their pets when they can't afford it. Veterinarian Sarah Silcox was on hand last week to show the firefighters how to use the masks. "Any pet who's been in a fire situation, just like people, has the potential to be suffering from smoke inhalation," said Dr. Silcox. Each of the Town's fire trucks will carry one of the mask kits with small, medium and large masks. "For even small pets like hamsters and gerbils, we can place the mask directly on top," said Dr. Silcox. A large mask would then form a dome for a small pet. Fire trucks already come equipped with oxygen masks for adults and children, but the pet masks will fit better over a muzzle. Although firefighters don't receive particular training to resuscitate pets, Fire Chief Mark Diotte said the natural inclination is always to help. Often people will put up signs asking firefighters to search for pets in the case of a fire, but the chief said firefighters always conduct a search of the home for people. In his career, he's seen about a half dozen pet-rescue cases. "I've done resuscitation twice myself ... mouth to nose," he said. Dr. Silcox said vets have the devices and she's seen cases where it would have helped for firefighters to have them, too. "Probably the most need at this point was after the Humane Society burned down," she said. Overall, Chief Diotte stressed it's important for all residents that homes have working smoke alarms. "Remember, it' the same principles of fire safety for pets as it is for humans in the home," he said.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Meet The Cat Whisperer

“Canada’s cat whisperer” says taming a finicky cat takes time and patience to train. Dr. Susan Little, who is a member of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners Certified in Feline Practice and has contributed to two books, said pet owners do not really understand the behaviour of cats. “We understand dog behaviour better because dogs are with us more and we take dogs to the park and in our cars and spend more time with dogs but cats are treated differently,” said Little, who bills herself as “Canada’s cat whisperer.” Cat owners come to see her with all kinds of behaviour problems their cats experience, said Little, an Ottawa veterinarian who gives lectures across Canada and has worked with cats since she first graduated from veterinary school in 1988. They include problems such as scratching furniture, feeding issues, and not using the litter box. “I’m trying to help people from giving up their cats to shelters,” said Little who was in Toronto Tuesday. “It’s important to know that if they’re having frustrating behaviour problems with their cat, there is help available.” The first stop should be to visit a veterinarian for a consultation, she said. “Cat owners need to ask for help sooner, rather than later when you’re at the end of your rope,” Little said. “The later you leave it, the more frustrating it becomes and more difficult it becomes to solve,” It’s normal behaviour for a cat to scratch furniture but it doesn't have to be that way, she said. “Cat owners have to learn to accommodate it and work out the problem and compromise,” Little suggested. “You have to help by providing material (on) a post or build a cat condo.” You can teach a cat new tricks with positive reinforcement, often referred to as clicker training, she said. “Clicker training is well-known in training dogs and we can teach the owner to bond with the cat with clicker training as well,” Little said. The clicker is a metal strip inside a small plastic box that makes a clicking sound when you press on it. When the animal does something positive, the owner will follow up with pressing the clicker and immediately providing the animal with a treat or a reward.

Toronto Sun

Rein In The OSPCA Says Tory MPP

Newmarket Aurora MPP Frank Klees says the society that polices animal welfare in Ontario is out of control and wants to raise the issue in Queen’s Park

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals should be placed under government oversight because it isn’t using its power and authority appropriately, says Tory MPP Frank Klees. In a private-member’s resolution scheduled for a one-hour debate followed by a vote Nov. 18, the Newmarket - Aurora MPP says the organization should be under the authority of the community safety and correctional services minister “to ensure that there is a clearly defined and effective provincial oversight of all animal shelter services in the province.”  He also asks the government in the resolution to separate the inspection and enforcement powers of the society from its function as a charity providing animal shelter services.

Klees says prosecutors dropping animal cruelty charges against former board members from the Toronto Humane Society because of mistakes made by OSPCA investigators is a recent example that shows the society not using its power and authority appropriately. Another example is the provincial government saying earlier this year it couldn’t stop the society from euthanizing animals at the Newmarket Shelter to eradicate ringworm. When Klees found out the shelter planned to euthanize all 350 animals it housed, he contacted six veterinarians who all agreed the plan was inappropriate. Klees says he asked Rick Bartolucci, former community safety minister, in the Ontario legislature to put a stay on the decision until alternative options were explored. “His response to me at the time was that he had no authority to intervene.” Klees says 92 animals were killed. But under public pressure the OSPCA board agreed to stop the euthanasia plan. Area veterinarians stepped in and donated their services to nurse the animals back to health. “This was a clear example of inappropriate action and lack of oversight on the part of the government over the OSPCA,” he says.

Revisions to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in 2008 hiked fines for animal welfare violations and permitted OSPCA inspectors to inspect places where animals are kept for entertainment, exhibition, boarding, sale or hire. In a Nov. 1 email, Connie Mallory, OSPCA’s acting chief inspector states that the revisions did not substantially change the society’s officers’ authority.
The revisions made it possible for the society to do its mandated work without the necessity of using criminal legislation and charges, she writes. When asked to comment on Klees’ statements, Mallory did not respond.

Richmond Hill resident Sunny Reuter, who has helped people in rural areas tackle charges laid by the society, is urging people to attend the legislature Nov. 18 to support Klees’ resolution. She says the ringworm situation in Newmarket galvanized people in Ontario and prompted the formation of several Facebook groups, including one with nearly 40,000 members to protest the decision to euthanize the animals. For almost seven years, Reuter says she has been advocating for rural people but “that never got any traction. All of a sudden we have 40,000 people who are saying there needs to be oversight of the OSPCA.”

Legislative Assembly of Ontario records show that to date, MPPs have delivered 58 petitions to the provincial legislature. Klees claims thousands of petitions have been sent to MPPs from all parties. “They’ve received them with specific letters by their own constituents asking them to read these petitions into the legislature.” There is lots of support from New Democrats and Liberals for the resolution in addition to support from Tory MPPs, he adds.

Crystal Mackay, executive director of the Ontario Farm Animal Council, says a movement towards government funding and oversight of the OSPCA’s enforcement side is definitely a step in the right direction.
But regardless of what happens to the resolution, Mackay says the council will still work closely with OSPCA staff on farm animal care issues. Bette Jean Crews, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, says the federation is “totally supportive of government oversight of OSPCA.” Farmers have been concerned about the sweeping new powers granted to the society, including the right to enter property without a warrant. “That has been an issue in the farm community for some time if OSPCA people are not trained in biosecurity measures,” she says. Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman says if passed, the resolution will be sent to the provincial cabinet. But cabinet is not obliged to do what the resolution directs. Yet if the legislature “speaks that means a lot of the government members are speaking too because they out number the opposition members,” he says.
More information about Klees’ resolution is at: . This is a web site advocating for government oversight over the OSPCA and is not the OSPCA web site. BF

Take A Fun Online Survey For A Chance To Win A $50.00 Global Gift Certificate

Currently, a reader named Leslie is circulating a survey (including a draw to win one of four $50 Global Ryan's Pet Foods gift certificates) to learn what matters to caring dog owners. "The purpose of this survey is to learn about dog owners and what they need because in 2011 my client will launch a table-grade dog food that is naturally laden with complete and balanced nutrients and no synthetic supplements." (

Health Canada Announces New Safety Measures for Rodenticides

Health Canada is informing consumers, retailers and pest control operators of new measures to reduce the risks associated with the use of certain rodenticides.

OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada — Health Canada is informing consumers, retailers and pest control operators of new measures to reduce the risks associated with the use of certain rodenticides.
The new measures are aimed at reducing the exposure of children, pets and non-target animals to rodenticides. Among the requirements:
  • Rodenticides used by individual consumers or professional pest control operators in areas accessible to children and pets will have to be placed in a tamper-proof bait station.
  • Rodenticides sold to individual consumers will have to be packaged together with a pre-baited, ready-to-use bait station.
  • Certain rodenticides with high levels of toxicity and that take a long time to break down in the environment will be available only to professional pest control operators or farmers for limited use.
  • Manufacturers have until December 31, 2012 to have the new labeling in place. Until then, consumers should keep these safety tips in mind when using rodenticides they may already purchased or that are still on store shelves:
  • Read the label directions and safety precautions before using any rodenticide and use only as directed.
  • Store rodenticides away from food and out of reach of children.
  • Use gloves when handling rodenticides.
  • When using rodenticides, place them in an area inaccessible to children, pets and non-targeted wildlife.
  • Use the closed bait station supplied with the rodenticide or purchase one separately.
  • Wear gloves when handling the bodies of dead rodents and wash hands thoroughly afterward.
  • Double-bag the bodies of dead rodents using plastic bags and discard in a garbage can with a secure lid.
  • Dispose of unused rodenticides at municipal hazardous waste sites or as directed on the label.
Additioanl information about the new requirements can be found in Health Canada's Re-evaluation Note on rodenticides ( If you have further questions, please contact Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency at 1-800-267-6315.
Additioanl  information about controlling rodents in the Health Canada Pest Note on rats and mice cab be found at (

PCT Media Group

MPP Sponsors Bill To Regulate Ownership Of Wild Animals

The World Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has applauded a new Private Members' Bills introduced on Monday in the Ontario Legislature.

The bill sponsored by MPP Dave Levac is called "The Exotic Wildlife in Captivity Act."

It would regulate the ownership of wild creatures and require owners to provide the animals with suitable housing and care, keeping the public safe from danger.

Ontario is the only province that currently does not require a license to keep dangerous exotic animals.

An estimated 500 lions, tigers, and other big cats are kept as pets in the province.


Monday, November 1, 2010

"When Hounds Fly" Training Looking For Doggies For Cognitive Sudies

New Call for Participants - Canine Cognition Experiments at WHF

As you might know, When Hounds Fly is proud to be assisting Krista Macpherson, researcher from the University of Western Ontario, with her work on studying the cognitive abilities of dogs.  In August we had a number of our friends' and students' dogs volunteer and we're looking for new volunteers for her next set of tests to be run on November 13 and 14th (Saturday/Sunday afternoon).

If you are interested please email [email protected] and let her know so she can reach out to you for scheduling.  Each dog works for approximately 45 minutes to an hour per session and the number of sessons is based on your availability.

The experiments are non-invasive and it's highly likely your dog will have a lot of fun... EATING!  It's also a great socialization exercise and a lot of fun watching your dog get down to work.

To learn more, you can read about the August sessions on our blog:

A Talk With Trainer Dave McMahon, Our Neighbour From The Niagara Region

What led you to dog training?

I was introduced to dog training at the age of 9 when my Mom signed myself & my doberman up for dog obedience classes

How long have you been training?

I have been a k-9 trainer and have owned my dog academy for 26 years.

Have you ever had someone ask you to train any other type of animal?

Yes, I have trained Pot Belly Pigs and Ferrets.

What are the easiest and most difficult dogs to train?

Shelties & poodles I find are easy to train, while northern breeds are a lot more independent.

What's a good age to start training?

12 weeks is when people bring their puppies to my group classes in Niagara Falls.

Is it ever too late to train a dog?

It is never too late to train a dog provided you are using the proper method.
Can you tell us about your radio show?

I produce & host the Dog Talk Radio Show,it began in 1990 out of Chow Radio in Welland Ontario ,now I broadcast out of St. Catharines 103.7 FM or people can listen live on line from anywhere around the planet.The weekly 30 minute live to air radio show is intended to educate and entertain listeners .I have had tons of great guests on my show that I have interviewed.I'm having alot of fun hosting the show.

Photo Contest #3 Is Now Underway - WINTER WONDERLAND!

Here we go all!! Our second contest focused strictly on pets and kids, and for the third contest the theme is simple...WINTER WONDERLAND! Just send in a picture of your pet, be it cat, dog, hamster, lizard, elephant....ok you get the idea....and make sure the theme is WINTER (holiday shots, snow creative!).

- Contest winners will be announced on December 25, 2010
- Photos may be professionally shot, but NO COPYRIGHTED IMAGES!
- Submission deadline is 11:59 PM December 15, 2010
- Between December 16 and December 24, 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 to [email protected] 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.


Prizes :

1st Prize :$100.00 gift card to PetSmart
2nd Prize : $50.00 gift card to PetSmart
3rd Prize : $50.00 in gift card to PetSmart


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

Another Guest Post On Alternative Medicine By Don From "I Help Toronto Pets"

My English Mastiff Rosie (see photo) had fallen down a flight of cement stairs not once but twice. A few months later she developed a severe limp. She is 160 pounds and that leg carries a lot of weight. We of course took her to the vet and the recommendation was x-rays.  The pain seemed to be in her shoulder. The vet also gave her some Metacam (a canine anti-inflammatory), but unfortunately she didn't tolerate it well. We switched to Deramax, but we had the same problem. She really couldn't go for walks and she gained a little weight which made the situation worse. Now for x-rays. Nothing. X-rayed the shoulder and her leg and the result was they found nothing.
I am a Biofeedback Technician, and I also use a Quantum Wave Laser and a device called an Alph-Stim to help pets with pain and anxiety. I hooked up Rosie, and though I am not able to give a diagnosis, I can tell you that the biggest stressors were a pinched nerve in the cervical vertebrae, and it also highlighted specifically the C3,C4, and C5 Vertebrae. It also showed stress involving spinal energy flow. Excited that I may have discovered something I called the vet and I asked "could it be a pinched nerve?" The answer. "No that would not cause a limp". Now I know from having suffered from a bad back years ago, that when your sciatic nerve is "pinched" this pain runs down your leg and it's hard to even walk.  I had also heard about a very good Veterinary Chiropractor here in Toronto, and asked my vet what would he think of us trying a chiropractic adjustment. "Can't hurt"  he told me. I want to clarify that I love my vet and I have been using them for the last 18 years, but, as far as he was concerned there was nothing wrong, and he couldn't offer any more help.
The next week we took Rosie to the Chiropractor and guess what?  He diagnosed her with a pinched nerve in the cervical vertebrae involving C3 - C5. He started his treatment and I started balancing Rosie with Biofeedback and administering Cold laser and the Alpha-Stim.  After six weeks no limp. And now more than two months later, no limp.
I want to repeat this is not about the vet missing something, I have a great vet and have trusted him a few times with my pet's life,  it is about the alternatives that are out there for our pets, and even for us. To quote heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz,  "Once your view of reality is rocked, you realize that the scientific community does not possess all the required knowledge. As we get better at understanding how little we know about the body, we begin to realize that the next big frontier in medicine is Energy Medicine. It's not the mechanistic part of the joints moving. It's not the chemistry of our body. It's understanding for first time how energy influences how we feel."  To that I'd like add that we also need to understand how stress influences how we feel and how much dis-ease it is responsible for.
Those of us who practice Quantum Biofeedback, have known this for a long time.

I Help Toronto Pets

Phone: 647-342-2985
Mobile: 416-476-3131
[email protected]

A Reader Submitted Article - The Incredibly Big Side of Small Dogs

Small dogs often don’t get a fair shake! The truth is, there are a lot of myths that many small dog owners and lovers would be happy to set straight. Small dogs don’t bark too much, need to be carried or have a skittish nature. If that was your thinking, it might be time to re-evaluate your small dog misconceptions.

Richard Paquette, a longtime professional Shih Tzu breeder and dog handler, believes that small dogs are often misunderstood due to the way they are often portrayed as an accessory on television and in the movies.

“The reality is, small dogs can hold their own and don’t need to be carried around in a purse,” says Paquette. “I’ve seen Jack Russells and Yorkies romping happily in the park with Labs and even Great Danes. And when it comes to guarding the family home, there is no better alarm system.”

According to Paquette, the trick to raising well-adjusted, healthy dogs (of any size) is in the training and socializing. Getting started as a pup will result in an incredible, confident, and active small dog that can stand on his own four feet!

Breaking Small Dog Myths and Helpful Tips

  • Small Dogs are Yappy: Because of their small stature, small dogs are often allowed to bark and jump up on people - unacceptable behaviour in larger dogs. Don’t be fooled. Small dogs are smart and can be trained. Be the alpha dog by practicing consistent positive training techniques - including rewards for being good, such as small, bite sized kibble, and praise.

  • Small Dogs are Delicate: Despite their size, little dogs are strong, curious and full of energy. It’s not uncommon to see them playfully take on a much bigger dog. It’s all about attitude! Don’t be afraid to wrestle with your pup to get him used to physical play. Socialize him early on and let canine “meet and greets” play out; stepping in every time to save your small dog from a bigger one could trigger a timid reaction.

  • Small Dogs Eat Smaller Portions: Small dogs can have a lot of energy so it’s important to provide them with lots of protein to keep them going. Look for a nutrient-rich food suited to small dogs like Beneful IncrediBites, made with protein-rich ingredients, including real beef and veggies. Plus, every piece is small-sized and easy-to-chew.

  • Small Dogs Are Divas: Costumes and elaborate grooming have their place in the small dog world, but for most owners, a standard collar and leash will do just fine. And just like medium to large dogs, regular grooming is an essential part of responsible pet ownership. A good quality shampoo and daily brushing will keep fur in tip-top shape.

“Most of the misconceptions about small dogs are unfounded,” said Paquette. “Training, nurturing and spending time with him is all it takes - there’s nothing better!”