Monday, November 8, 2010

Queen’s Park Rally On OSPCA Powers November 18, 2010

Pet owners, rescuers, breeders, dog lovers and advocates are being asked to attend a Queen’s Park rally in Toronto, Ontario on November 18 to show their opposition to the current powers held by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA). This is the day the ministers of the provincial Parliament will vote on a resolution to claw back the society’s power, which includes the ability to enter a shelter without a warrant and being able to euthanize animals at will. In 2008, Bill 50 was passed that gave sweeping new powers to the OSPCA, including the right to warrantless entry and since September 2010, a petition calling for government oversight of the society, which took in $15.5 million in donations in 2009, has been tabled more than 55 times. Those in favor of the current resolution by Newmarket-Aurora MPP Frank Klees cite the entry of the OSPCA York Region and the subsequent decision to kill 350 animals to eliminate ringworms in May 2010. Proponents claim the OSPCA has violated the Constitution and will be calling on the Ontario government to review the OSPCA’s powers and authority under the OSPCA Act to ensure a more effective “provincial oversight of all animal shelter services in the province” by giving these powers to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. If passed, the OSPCA would still continue to function as a charity that provides animal shelter services. Participants are asked to be at the Legislature by 1 p.m. so they can make their presence known. If you plan to attend, please pre-register for security reasons by calling 416.325.7316 or by email at [email protected].


String Of Coyote Attacks In Kings Mill Park

Action needed on coyote attacks

To the editor:

Kings Mill Park has been my backyard for almost four years. I walk my dog every morning and every evening in those woods, regardless of weather. Encounters with deer and fox, racoons and even coyotes, have been lovely experiences. But one Saturday last month was not one of those. My 80-pound dog was attacked by two coyotes out of the blue. It happened four feet in front of me. I went 'alpha' on the whole mess and my dog came to me and heeled immediately. I made a loud threatening gesture toward the male coyote who was head-down fixated on my dog. He backed off, I leashed my dog and we firmly left the woods. The male coyote followed us all the way out. I was no sooner on the road before a man, putting his dogs in his car, said to be careful in there as he heard a woman and her large dog were stalked the night prior. Two days later a man stops several of us with dogs and tells how his two Golden Retrievers were attacked by two coyotes that Sunday morning. I phoned The Ministry of Natural Resources who tried to tell me they weren't coyotes but dogs. Sorry, I work with dogs, these were not dogs. Then I called Toronto Animal Services. I was the third person to call her about these coyotes. They're attacking large dogs from behind to bring them down! My 80 pound, two-and-a-half-year-old female dog had a loonie-sized, open wound, on the upper inside of her hind leg. I was then told since my dog had been bitten, she needed to be quarantined and disease control had to be alerted - even though my dog is well vaccinated.

Wow. This isn't about racoons in my attic. Coyotes are attacking large dogs - not Shih Tzus in Kings Mill Park! I called Parks and Recreation and they seemed at least interested in what I had to say. I insisted that there is an immediate need for signs notifying the public of unusual coyote behaviour. He agreed and said he'd get right on it. Then I get a call from Canadian Food Inspection. I once again began the story. He naturally asked about my dog's vaccines and I agreed to fax him the certificates of vaccination. He was at least understanding of my situation and my frustration at the lack of action. He also mentioned that he personally hadn't seen a rabies case, other than a bat, in seven years. However, in spite of three years of vaccinations, my dog must be under observation for 45 days. Still not a sign in the park. No official has appeared to investigate. Whose child has to be bitten before the powers that be take this seriously? I want us all to get along too, but attacking my dog is highly irregular behaviour for a coyote and someone needs to address this now. We need to take back our park. If officials won't do anything, perhaps we the people can.

Katherine Trowell

*This was a letter to the editor of Inside Toronto

Snakes In The City: Toronto Couple Battles Serpents

While Torontonians are used to dealing with pigeons and pesky raccoons, a local couple was given a shock recently when they found an unwanted house guest living in their walls: a python. Janet Wilkinson, who lives with her husband Chris Forde, said she first spotted the serpent as the couple worked on renovations in their east-end home. While the snake seemed to disappear shortly after that first visit, Forde decided to document the snake search and upload the videos to YouTube. For around five weeks, the couple looked for the snake, even using heating pads in a vain attempt to lure the creature out of the walls in the home, located near Danforth and Coxwell Avenues on the city's east end. "We did a million things, like bait him with dead mice and rats," Wilkinson says on one of the YouTube clips. But the snake was nowhere to be found. But late last month, as Wilkinson went to her basement to get some drinks from the couple's beer fridge, she was greeted by the python. Nearly in a state of shock, she screamed and her husband quickly bounded down the stairs. The quick-thinking Forde used a piece of wood to pin the snake, which amiably slithered into captivity. "I'm all shaking but we just captured him!" said Wilkinson in one of the videos. "He's beautiful now that he's in a box," she said. "I can feel sympathy for him." Despite the appreciation of the snake's charms, the couple soon sent the animal to a local pet store, where such pythons are popular as pets. Now, however, the couple believes that there may be a family of snakes in the home, as yet another was found: this time, it was in the washing machine. "There's three or four in the family," Wilkinson told The Toronto Star this week. "I'm sure of it." The couple's snake case isn't alone, either. Last week, tenants in a downtown high-rise were given a scare when an Albino California King Snake escaped and went on the loose. It's believed the snake is still hiding somewhere in the building.

CTV Toronto

Pet Rescue Group Needs Votes To Help Feral Cats

Group helps cats in Scarborough Bluffs and Bermondsey Road and St. Clair Avenue

 Helping Homeless Pets Inc. has submitted a proposal to receive a $100,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project.  Sharon Paling, one of the organization's directors, said they heard about the grant project when a Windsor animal group submitted an idea and asked members of HHPI to vote for its idea. The Windsor group won during the last round so the president of HHPI thought it would be worth them submitting their own proposal. The idea is to raise awareness about feral cats across the city and get neighbourhoods to aid the situation in their community by registering the colonies and monitoring them. Registered colonies are eligible for free spaying or neutering from the City and Toronto and then the group would use part of the grant money to provide additional veterinary care to look after issues such as lice, fleas or other ailments. The animals would then be returned to their community. "Then they live out their natural lives," Paling said. Helping Homeless Pets Inc. is an umbrella group for 42 rescue operations across the GTA including three rescue groups that deal specifically with feral colonies. Together they've been working on this issue and have already organized neighbourhoods in the Scarborough Bluffs and Bermondsey Road and St. Clair Avenue communities where there will be no more feral breeding and these colonies will one day, hopefully, be extinct.  "We can definitely make a difference in the neighbourhood," Paling said.  It's difficult educating the public and getting residents on board to monitor their neighbourhood colony so that's why they've applied for the grant to help raise awareness. "Some people don't ever recognize they have a colony in their area," Paling said. The majority of the grant would go to cover expensive vet costs. Paling said groups receive calls from people with cats living under their deck or porch - or giving birth there - and they don't know what to do with them.  "People are overwhelmed with the situation," she said. "This is one way they can do something, they can go to their computer and vote for us. It's important to vote for us because it raises awareness that something needs to be done." Feral cats are also a problem because they affect pets and cats who aren't fixed exhibit behaviour that bothers people, such as fighting and noise among the cats, as well as the spraying that creates a smell. People can vote for the controlling feral colonies idea at, the idea is currently ranked 22nd. Voting runs until Dec. 31.A pet rescue group is looking to help Toronto's feral cats with a refreshing idea, but they need a little help to make it a reality.

Inside Toronto

Business Spotlight - Fetching....For Fit Dogs & Bods!

Tick ‘great workout’ and ‘dog walked’ off your list with Fetching.

Do you ever watch your dog race around the dog park, wishing it was a better use of your time? Or get home from the gym and not have enough energy to walk your dog properly? Or avoid exercise altogether? If you’re nodding (probably with a frustrated sigh), you’re like most dog owners in Toronto. Worn out from busy schedules, juggling work, kids, friends, chores, and trying to find some time for yourself.

‘Fetching - For Fit Dogs & Bods’ helps busy people simplify their lives. Our programs combine a full-body workout for you with obedience and agility for your dog. You leave the class satisfied and guilt-free. Your exercise is done, and your dog has had both a physical and mental workout while brushing up on his obedience skills - something we all tend to put off dealing with.

We offer classes for all ages and fitness levels and you learn something new every week. Visit to get more details and sign-up for our programs! Hope to see you and
your pooch soon.

A Great Article On Reptile Introduction From Guest Blogger John Taylor

A Reptile Primer

I don’t think anyone really knows when humans began keeping reptiles as pets. Sources say snakes were kept in ancient Greece in temples associated with Asclepius the god of medicine. It is said Asclepius’ temples were filled with snakes. Today humans keep all sorts of reptiles as pets. The greater portion of society fears or dislikes reptiles of any kind. Whether this is due to beliefs held from biblical implications or just a general fear held over from our ancestors is up to sociologists and others to define. Some cultures and religions revere snakes. For those interested in reptile keeping; commonly known as herpetoculture they don’t have to travel far. The local pet store will most likely carry a variety of reptiles to choose from and if not the pet superstores will most definitely have some type of reptile selection to choose from. Herpetoculture is a very broad term which includes not only reptiles, but amphibians and insects that are kept as pets as well. The question now is what pet do you choose? Personal preference aside, there are things to consider when choosing any new pet. The first thing you should consider is the space requirements of the reptile when it becomes an adult. That foot long Green Iguana Iguana iguana looks cute as it scuttles about its enclosure. However, that same Green Iguana I. iguana could reach a total length of 5 ½ to 6’ as an adult!

After considering space requirements of the reptile you may want to keep, you must think of their care requirements. You don’t want to keep them alive; you want them to thrive in the captive environment you have created. Most reptiles offered for sale are not going to be native to where you live. They will have specific dietary and environmental needs that must be met. For example if you live in a dry area it would be a poor choice to obtain a tropical animal with high humidity requirements such as a Chameleon which is native to tropical forests. Instead look for a pet that has similar requirements to where you live. This way you won’t spend a lot of money setting up their environment.

Nutrition is another aspect of captive reptile care that is often overlooked by new keepers and is all too often not covered by the stores employees. Reptiles do not share our ability to digest almost anything we eat. Nor do they exhibit our mammals’ capability to vocalize when they are in pain. They have very specific dietary requirements which if not properly met will cause many issues and eventually cause a sometimes very painful existence leading to death. Learning what the reptile eats is not enough, some reptiles especially lizards require a vitamin and mineral supplementation to meet their dietary needs. Normally, they’d fulfill these dietary needs on their own in the wild.

So how do we identify the proper information? The best advice I could ever give to a potential herpetoculturist is, ‘Do your research.’ Research your new reptile, amphibian, or insect pet until you know that animal’s way of life in their native habitat and their way of being kept in captivity. Now this doesn’t mean you can read a few care sheets and go about buying your new pet. Really dig in and buy a couple of books and talk to breeders and people in the online forums. After you have gathered numerous sources of information I would sit down with everything and begin comparing them and taking notes on what they all agree upon. These notes are what you’re going to refer to when setting-up your new pets’ enclosure as well as what you’ll refer when maintaining your pet. Researching the reptile before you purchase it will save you money later. This happens because you now know what the requirements are for caring for the new reptile as well as all of its nutritional and environmental needs. Now that being said there are a lot of places to get information and the most popular one these days is the internet. But we must be very careful when doing research as there are unfortunately a lot of unsavory individuals out there who say Books and magazines are my personal favorites to gather information I would also research the authors that I read to see what else they have published. If they have a track record of publishing in magazines and books it’s a pretty good bet that their information is going to be accurate.

For more great advice, check out