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 Breed-specific legislation, she noted, has been repealed in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden.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.