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: www.ospcatruth.com . 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." (http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TT37ZZS).

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 (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/pest/_decisions/rev2010-17/index-eng.php). 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 (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/pest/_pnotes/rats/index-eng.php)

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.