April 23rd Vigil for the lost lives of 100 Sled Dogs

April 23rd Vigil for the lost lives of 100 Sled Dogs

April 23rd vigil for the Sled dogs of WhistlerWe are a movement that has spread across Canada and other parts of the globe to not only honor the sled dogs on the anniversary of their death, but to also bring awareness and opportunity for legislative change.

We hope for 100 cities, 1 for each sled dog executed!

In Canada, at each city, petitions for Mark Holland’s Bill C-229 will be signed in an effort to advance laws that will provide greater stronger animal cruelty legislation. Our goal is 1 million signatures!

We can make a difference but only as a united front!

Come join us and organize a Vigil on April 23rd in your community now!

More info regarding the vigils

Important! If you have any questions not covered by the notes below, please send an email to (Enable Javascript to see the email address)

1. If you are interested in seeing if a city has a vigil planned already, and would like more info, to attend or to help, please go to this link, or send an email to Crystal or Julia at (Enable Javascript to see the email address), or comment on this page.

2. If you would like information on how to hold a Vigil, please see this note.

3. If you would like information on how to do a Guerrilla walk (a spontaneous gathering or for those who are having trouble obtaining permits, etc. if so required by your city), please see this note.

4. If you would like to have a history on the Sled Dog Massacre, and why we are holding these vigils, please see this note. It contains news links and other pertinent information about Canadian Animal Cruelty Legislation. Some information is graphic, so please be prepared.

5. If you would like information on Bill C-229 Animal Cruelty Legislation, please see this note.

If you would like to see anything else not covered by these links, or would like to see all the notes we have, please go here: all Vigil Notes


Introducing Canada’s toughest animal-protection laws

Introducing Canada’s toughest animal-protection laws

B.C. toughens animal cruelty laws after sled dog cull

GLOBAL NEWS  | APRIL 5, 2011

BC toughens animal cruelty legislation after sled dog massacre


VANCOUVER — British Columbia announced Tuesday that it is acting on all of the recommendations of its Sled Dog Task Force, including providing new funding for animal-cruelty investigations and introducing the toughest animal-protection laws anywhere in Canada.

The province will change its Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, including increasing penalties to as much as $75,000 and as long as 24 months imprisonment for the most serious offences, in the wake of a mass slaughter of sled dogs near Whistler last April, Premier Christy Clark said.

The task force was appointed in February after news broke that an employee of a sled dog company in Whistler, B.C., had killed as many as 100 dogs over a period of two days last year.

The dogs, owned by Outdoor Adventures Whistler, were killed by Robert Fawcett in April 2010.

The killings came to light after Fawcett filed a WorkSafeBC report claiming post-traumatic stress from the shootings.

The WorkSafeBC report, obtained by the media, details how Fawcett shot, stabbed and bludgeoned the animals to death after he was apparently told by his employer to cull some of the company’s 300 dogs.

The revelation led to an international condemnation of Fawcett’s actions as well as death threats against Fawcett and other Outdoor Adventures Whistler employees.

The province said Tuesday it will extend the current six-month limitation period for prosecuting offences and requiring mandatory reporting of animal abuse by veterinarians.

The BC SPCA has also received a $100,000 grant to enhance its their capacity for animal cruelty investigations, Clark said in a news release.

A joint RCMP and SPCA probe into the dogs’ deaths will resume once the winter snow melts.

Sled dog  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck



reprinted from Global News
Similar stories:
B.C. to toughen animal laws after sled dog slaughter from The Canadian Press


Alleged horse killers on trial in Calgary

Alleged horse killers on trial in Calgary

Tipster’s presence in court adds to intrigue

KEVIN LIBIN | NATIONAL POST · APRIL 5, 2011
(Enable Javascript to see the email address)

You could see a blood trail. [The horse] was upside down with his head wedged between two trees.

LEAH HENNEL / POSTMEDIA NEWS FILES


LEAH HENNEL / POSTMEDIA NEWS FILESChuck Kollin had come to courtroom 1405 in Calgary on Monday morning just looking, he says, to finish what he’d started. He had planted himself quietly, anonymously — he thought — among the spectators for a trial of three men accused of being heartless killers whose alleged crime had shocked the province. Mr. Kollin figured he’d just be a fly on the wall. Mr. Kollin was wrong.

He was spotted from the start. The RCMP officer investigating the case saw him. The defence lawyer wanted to talk to him. The trial was stopped before it began. This changed everything, the attorneys told Judge Cheryl Daniel.This was the man who had first tipped police to the information that had led to the arrest of these three men, along with a 13 year-old boy.

Mr. Kollin says he was told, through hearsay that hasn’t been proven in court, that the boy cried after the killings, and was told to shrug it off. This was, the boy was reportedly told, no different than killing gophers.

But this was different. These were Alberta’s iconic wild horses.

A lot of Albertans are proud of their wild horse herds; romantic about them, even if no one’s certain where they came from. The Wild Horses of Alberta Society (WHOAS) suspects they’re the descendants of mustangs sailed to the new world by Spanish conquistadors and brought north by Blackfoot Indians. The government’s position is that they likely just escaped from ranches and farms over generations. Either way, when they started turning up shot, left to die brutal, agonizing deaths near the side of the highway, a lot of Albertans were as outraged as they were heartbroken.

It didn’t matter that, legally, the province considers wild horses no more valuable than cattle. They can be captured, legally, with permission, and sold to slaughter. Alberta grants about 20 such permits a year, one reason why WHOAS estimates that the number of feral horses has fallen from 1,000 in the mid1980s to an estimated 200 or 300 today.

The other is that someone has been shooting them, illegally. About 30 were picked off between 2001 and 2009. They likely weren’t all connected, says Bob Henderson, president of WHOAS.

The horses aren’t universally popular: The odd shooting may be some farmer or rancher cranky over them eating up grazing land meant for cattle.

“I still get emails from individuals saying the horses should be shot like Norway rats,” Mr. Henderson says. “We still run into that attitude.”

But as a retired police officer, he thinks the 13 killed near Sundre, Alta., between 2007 and 2009 are linked.

In 2009, Crime Stoppers reenacted the shootings hoping to generate leads. The wild horses society also put out a reward, which, with the help of private donors, grew to nearly $29,000.

Last January, RCMP announced a break in the case, charging three men, along with the boy. One of the accused was Jason Nixon.

This ramped up the story’s local shock value. Jason is the son of Pat Nixon, the founder of Calgary’s Mustard Seed ministry, one of the city’s most celebrated homeless outreach programs.

The Mustard Seed runs the Mountain-Aire lodge near Sundre, a retreat for people battling addictions, where recovery involves pitching in at the local businesses run by the lodge, including a restaurant and campground, and providing security and firewood to some of the other neighbouring resorts and ranches, set in the picturesque shadow of the Rockies.

Jason Nixon was the lodge’s general manager. He’s also been charged with assault, uttering threats and obstruction of a peace officer. One of the other men accused is his employee.

His father, Pat Nixon, meanwhile, is a member of the Order of Canada who, when he announced his retirement in January, earned an editorial in the Calgary Herald calling him “a living saint.”

And yet the horse deaths, including the one his son is charged with, along with Earl Anderson, Gary Cape and the boy, were gruesome.

Some of the mares were pregnant. One mustang, paralyzed by a bullet through the neck, took so long to die it left a silhouette of its body heat melted in the snow.

Horse Carcass - Alberta (sm)Another had been “gut shot,” reported the local outfitter who found a trio of carcasses in April 2009. “You could see a blood trail and he had flopped around,” he said. “He was upside down with his head wedged between two trees.”

One shooter dragged the body of a foal and laid it next to the body of its mother.

A group of ladies sporting shirts demanding better laws protecting Alberta’s wild horses showed up at court Monday to watch these men tried for killing a single pregnant mare in 2009 — a crime carrying a maximum sentence of five years.

Mr. Henderson was there too, as were a few dapper rancher types, in blue jeans, bolo ties and blazers, doffing cowboy hats as they entered the courtroom.

None of them would be here, Chuck Kollin believes, if not for him.

He’d worked at the Mountain-Aire Lodge in 2008, from the B.C. coast, hired to do some construction and maintenance work.

He left after less than two weeks, disappointed that the place wasn’t the spiritual haven he’d expected. His first day, he alleges, one of the residents offered to sell him crack. “I didn’t want any part of it.”

But the following year, visiting Calgary, using the casual labour office at a local dropin shelter, he ran into Dave Goertz, whom he recognized from the Mountain-Aire.

Mr. Goertz told him he’d been there one day in 2009 when some guys had gone out shooting horses. He had seen them do it, he told Mr. Kollin. He told him about the crying boy. Mr. Kollin checked the Internet.

He read, for the first time, about the shooting investigation. He learned of the reward. He urged Mr. Goertz to go to the police. Then he called them up himself.

Mr. Kollin says part of his motivation was money: He planned, he says, to use the reward for a mission to Albania, to help deliver clothes and crop seeds there. But he also wanted justice done.

He spent “weeks,” he says, helping RCMP track down Mr. Goertz, who had no fixed address. He spent plenty of his own funds in the process. “It became my full-time job,” he says.

He thinks he deserves the reward, but hasn’t seen a dime yet. Mr. Henderson insists that it’s payable only upon a conviction.

When Mr. Kollin showed up on Monday, he suddenly found himself the centre of attention at a trial full enough already with interesting characters and twists.

Defence lawyers halted the proceedings and asked to add him as a witness. Mr. Kollin is stunned. He’s still waiting for a reward he believes he deserves.

He didn’t plan to be part of this trial. He’s not eager to testify — his doctors told him to avoid stress while he awaits heart surgery next month — and definitely not for the accused.

“Why would I want to support the defence?” he says. He had thought he had bused in from the coast to quietly witness the end of “something I started” — to see the mystery of the wild horse shootings unravelled; to see justice served; to finally collect his reward. Now, he’s not sure what will happen. Now, he says, he wishes he’d stayed home.


reprinted from NewpaperDirect | www.newspaperdirect.com


No Cost Spay and Neuter Program is a free program

No Cost Spay and Neuter Program is a free program

No Cost Spay and Neuter Program


The Responsible Pet Ownership Committee would like to make you aware of spay and neuter services offered:
No Cost Spay and Neuter Program is a free program offered by The City of Calgary Animal & Bylaw Services.

You are eligible if on AISH, Income Support or household income is not greater than 85% of the Statistics Canada Low Income Cut-Offs (LICOS). Cat/kittens and dogs/puppies are eligible. Sorry, no rabbits or ferrets at this time. For more info, go to www.calgary.ca/animalservices or call 311.

SNAP (Spay Neuter Assistance Program) is a LOW cost subsidized program offered for cats and kittens. Spay/neuter rates start at $75 and $50. Go to www.meowfoundation.com for the application.

TNR (Trap Neuter[Spay] Return): If you are feeding stray fearful/feral cats and would like to become a neighbourhood caregiver contact MEOW Foundation: 403 230-6033, Line 4 or go to www.meowfoundation.com. This is a NO cost program.

Thank you:

City of Calgary Animal & Bylaw Services
Calgary Humane Society
MEOW Foundation
FRES (Ferret Rescue & Education Society)


Canada’s authoritarian stance against animal rights

Canada’s authoritarian stance against animal rights

How Ottawa stifles animal activists

By SILVER DONALD CAMERON
Sun, Mar 6 – 4:53 AM

“Canada,” said the U.S. journalist, “is heading toward becoming an authoritarian state to an extent that surprises observers even in China.” 

Another comment on Bev Oda and the garrotting of Kairos? Nope.

A reflection on the Harperites’ infatuation with harsh sentences and larger prisons? No.

Kyoto, Afghan detainees, the G20 repression, the flouting of the Supreme Court in the Omar Khadr case? Our humiliating defeat in the UN Security Council election? Could have been, but in fact it’s none of the above.

No, Merritt Clifton, editor of Animal People, published in Clinton, Wash., is writing about the federal government’s denial of free speech to animal welfare charities in Canada. And he’s in touch with animal rights activists in China. He knows what they think.

“On February 5, 2011,” writes Clifton, the Canada Revenue Agency published “draft regulations governing animal charities which would ensure that any animal charity speaking out against anything that is not already illegal would lose nonprofit status.”

One specific example: the regulations make it clear that a Canadian animal charity would lose its charitable status if it opposed vivisection, which is the practice of operating on living animals in order to gain knowledge of pathological or physiological processes. A charity could suffer the same fate if it opposed the fur industry or the seal hunt.

In fact, says Clifton, the draft regulations provide “that an animal charity may only advocate policies and practices which benefit humans more than animals.”

Really? I hustled off to the CRA website. Sure enough, that’s exactly what the draft regulations say. The logic, if one can call it that, derives from British common law. The courts, says CRA, have determined that “an activity or purpose is only charitable when it provides a benefit to humans. For some purposes and activities, including those relieving the suffering of animals, the courts have decided that the benefit is the promotion of the moral or ethical development of the community.”

But don’t try to argue that supporting animal welfare is a good thing in and of itself. “Promoting the welfare of animals,” the CRA declares, “is only charitable when it results in a benefit to humans.”

“Promoting the welfare of animals,” the CRA declares, “is only charitable when it results in a benefit to humans.”

With respect to vivisection, says the CRA, the courts have decided that “seeking to abolish vivisection is not charitable. This is in part because, as the courts have put it, despite the suffering inflicted on animals, the ‘immense and incalculable benefits which have resulted from vivisection’ and the ‘positive and calamitous detriment of appalling magnitude’ that would result from its abolition, outweigh any possible promotion of the moral and ethical development of the community.”

The gaping flaw in the CRA’s argument, of course, is that it freezes — indeed, prevents — the evolution of the law. The law reflects the moral consensus of the community at a particular moment in time. When the consensus changes, the law must change as well. The law once decreed that women were chattels, slavery was fine, and petty theft warranted hanging. When society reversed its thinking on these matters, the law eventually reversed its position, too.

The CRA argues, in effect, that charitable purposes can only reflect the past — the decisions that the courts have already made. But the very phrase “the moral and ethical development of the community” concedes that moral and ethical attitudes evolve. That’s what the word “development” means. And if moral attitudes have evolved, then someone who demands corresponding changes in the law is very precisely “promoting the moral and ethical development of the community.”

A growing body of opinion now holds that we will not achieve our human potential — or even survive — unless we develop a respectful, ethical relationship with the rest of nature. The coyote, the cod and the chestnut have a right to live and flourish, and advocating on their behalf — with or without a benefit to humans — is a deeply moral activity and a legitimate charitable purpose.

Do the Harperites disagree? We’ll never know. They ignore ideas, and attack people instead. Lie about them. Impugn their motives. Cut their funding. Dissolve their organizations. Imprison them. Deny them charitable status.

“Canada is heading toward becoming an authoritarian state to an extent that surprises observers even in China.”

A chilling remark. I wish I could claim it was wrong.


reprinted from the Chronicle Herald

Download the article | Read the CRA draft


New legislation against animal cruelty is happening across Canada

New legislation against animal cruelty is happening across Canada

N.W.T. passes revamped Dog Act

BLACK DOG © Fernando Jose Vascocelos Soares | Dreamstime.comCBC News | MarCH 4, 2011

Northwest Territories MLAs have passed new legislation that protects dogs from abuse, but the new law has an exemption that some say could be used as a loophole.

The N.W.T.’s previous Dog Act was based on legislation from the 1950s, when sled dogs were used for transportation. Changes to update the act were passed on Friday. (CBC)

A bill to update the Dog Act received assent on Friday, after it passed third reading in the territorial legislature.

The new legislation, which introduces tougher penalties for people who abuse or neglect dogs, replaces the previous Dog Act, which was based on laws dating to the 1950s.

Unlike animal legislation in southern Canada, the N.W.T.’s old Dog Act focused on dealing with sled dogs, which have been used for transportation in the North.

An earlier proposal by MLAs would have exempted owners from penalty if they caused distress to dogs while carrying out “traditional practices” such as dog-sledding and hunting.

‘Accepted activities’

That proposal sparked an outcry from animal-protection activists and others who said the term was vague and difficult to interpret.

The legislation was since changed so that the exemption applies “if the distress is caused by a treatment, process or condition that occurs in the course of an accepted activity.”

The act defines accepted activities to include the use of dogs to help with hunting, trapping, and protecting people from wildlife. (Read the new Dog Act here.)

An accepted activity must not cause a dog undue suffering, the legislation adds.

Yellowknife Frame Lake MLA Wendy Bisaro said Friday that while the new legislation is “far improved from what we had before,” she still had concerns about the exemption.

“I don’t feel that part of the bill is necessary,” Bisaro said in the legislature.

Not a loophole, says minister

Municipal and Community Affairs Minister Robert McLeod said he does not believe the exemption will present a loophole for people accused of abusing their dogs.

“I don’t believe it’s a loophole,” McLeod told CBC News.

“If a guy goes up before a judge for cruelty to animals … where you leave 10 dogs outside starving to death, I don’t think he can use traditional practice as a loophole, because it’s not our traditional practice to leave dogs tied up outside and starving to death.”

McLeod added that longtime northerners who have used their dogs for traditional practices like sledding and hunting are among those who best look after their dogs.

Under the old Dog Act, those found guilty of a first offence were fined $25. The penalties for a first offence are now $2,500 or a three-month jail term or both.

Those found guilty of subsequent violations of the new Dog Act will be fined $10,000, handed a six-month jail term, or both.

Read more about the Dog Act


reprinted from CBC News


The Cruelty Connection

The Cruelty Connection

Is there a connection between animal cruelty and human violence?

Research has shown that there is a connection between animal abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse, bullying and other forms of violence. Intentional animal cruelty or abuse can be a warning sign that an individual has already experienced violence and may be predisposed to committing other crimes such as vandalism, arson, physical assault and even murder. A child who has abused an animal could be the victim of abuse and are at a greater risk of mimicking the abusive behaviour. If it goes unreported….everyone suffers.

What is the connection between animal cruelty and family violence?

Animal cruelty and/or abuse in the family represents a hierarchy of power and control. It is used to manipulate, control and isolate a victim of domestic violence. Pets are generally considered a part of the family and ultimately can share the suffering that occurs when there is violence in the home. The abuser may use violence, or threat of violence against animals, to terrorize, manipulate and control the human victim. Killing or removing the family pet can isolate the person who is being abused. Some victims will stay in destructive relationship due to threats against, or out of concern for, their companion animals. Animals may even be used to perpetrate sexual abuse. There is strong evidence connecting animals’ abuse, domestic violence, child abuse and elder abuse. This sometimes can even escalate to individuals outside of the family.

Calgary Humane Society Research

The Calgary Humane Society undertook a collaborative study with the YWCA Family Violence Prevention Centre, the Sheriff King Home and with researcher Sue McIntosh that was supported by RESOLVE Alberta. The 2001 study showed a direct connection between family violence and animal abuse in Calgary. It also indicated that animal cruelty may be a warning of future violence.

Here are key study results:

  • 56% of participants reported their abuser had threatened to hurt or kill or had actually hurt or killed a family pet
  • 65% reported their children were aware their pets had been hurt or killed and felt their children had been impacted
  • 25% of participants reported they had delayed their decision to leave their situation out of fear for their pet’s safety
  • 21% reported their abusive partners had abused animals as a child
  • 16% reported concerns their children may have hurt or killed a pet

Without intervention, the cycle of violence will continue. It’s important to be responsible and take the opportunity to intervene when people or animals are abused end the cycle of violence.


reprinted from Calgary Humane Society


More reading —

The Animal Cruelty Syndrome, NY Times


Support GOOD Animal Cruelty Legislation!

Support GOOD Animal Cruelty Legislation!

Canadians must speak out to stop the passage of ineffective, outdated animal cruelty legislation from being passed in our House of Commons.

BILL S-203

Bill S-203 is a private member’s bill in the Senate. It has passed the Senate, passed Second Reading in the House and is awaiting debate by the Justice and Human Rights Committee, likely this fall.

Bill S-203 makes NO changes to today’s archaic and wholly inadequate offences; it will only increase the penalties. Increased penalties are important, but ultimately meaningless when the offences are so problematic that many cases can’t even be prosecuted.

Bill S-203

* makes it difficult to prosecute cases of neglect, even when dozens of animals have been starved to death
* allows the training of animals for dog fights, cockfights or other types of animal fighting
* permits killing stray or wild animals for no particular reason
* provides extra protection for cattle and other animals and less protection for stray or wild animals
* doesn’t make it a crime to kill animals brutally or viciously
* considers animal cruelty a property offence
* doesn’t offer specific protection for law enforcement animals

BILL C-229 (formerly titled C-373)

Bill C-229 (formerly known as Bill C-373), a private member’s bill in the House, would fix all of the above problems, as well as increase the penalties. This bill is virtually identical to one that came excruciatingly close to being passed in 2003 when it was supported unanimously in the House of Commons.

That bill was also supported by a huge number of animal use industries representing farmers, trappers and scientific researchers, as well as veterinarians, police associations and animal protection groups.

Unfortunately, the Senate stood in the way of that bill and then it died when Parliament dissolved.

Here’s what you can do to help

PETITIONS

You can participate in our petition drive by signing the online petition or printing the paper version of the petition and circulating it in your area.

PLEASE NOTE! Paper and ink petitions are way more effective and carry much more weight in the House of Commons! Canadian residents, please be sure to print, sign and send in paper petition as well if at all possible!

LETTERS

Send a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking him to PASS Bill C-229 to amend the Animal Cruelty Law. Or download this one, sign it, include your address and mail it to him.



Mark Holland to BC Tory MPs – Senseless dog slaughter case cries out for tougher laws

Mark Holland to BC Tory MPs – Senseless dog slaughter case cries out for tougher laws

Mark Holland, MP for Ajax-Pickering, Public Safety Critic for the Official Opposition


From the Office of Mark Holland, M.P.
Official Opposition Critic for Public Safety

For immediate release: February 3, 2011

OTTAWA – Liberal MP and Public Safety Critic Mark Holland reached out to British Columbia Conservative MPs today, asking for their help to reform weak animal cruelty laws in light of news about a criminal investigation underway into the slaughter of one hundred dogs near Whistler, BC – a case that has shocked and outraged people across the country. Canada’s animal cruelty laws, as currently written, have loopholes that permit known abusers to evade justice after committing egregious acts of cruelty.

“These loopholes in our laws need to be closed at last,” wrote Holland in a letter to all twenty-one BC Conservative MPs.

Holland has had a private member’s bill to amend and strengthen the Criminal Code section dealing with animal cruelty crimes since 2004. Once a Liberal government justice bill, it is presently numbered C?229.

BC Conservative MPs were contacted because the dog slaughter, the nation’s latest high-profile animal cruelty case, had occurred in their home province.

“As government MPs representing British Columbia constituencies, I am hopeful that this tragic case that occurred in your home province will inspire you to work within your own party for real reforms now.”

Holland, as the Liberal Party’s Public Safety Critic, also raised public safety concerns in a bid to appeal to the Conservatives who claim a law and order agenda.

“A clear relationship exists between animal cruelty and other serious types of crimes, including spousal and child abuse, among other horrific violent crimes. By toughening our animal cruelty laws, we have a better chance of apprehending, convicting and rehabilitating abusers, making our communities safer and healthier.”

Holland has tried on several occasions to get the Harper government to take his bill and expedite it through all legislative stages. In 2009, following a horrific animal cruelty case in New Brunswick, he reached out to NB Tory MP Keith Ashfield, after hearing reports that the MP, who currently serves Minister of National Revenue, expressed an interest in Holland’s bill. Ashfield never responded to several calls made by Holland.

Assuaging concerns of partisanship, Holland stated in his letter that this “issue doesn’t fall into an ideological category. The cause for reforming our animal cruelty laws unites voters of both our parties, indeed all Canadians. It’s a real motherhood and apple pie issue.”

Holland closed off his letter appeal by inviting the BC Tory MPs to call him to discuss this issue further.

Full text of letter follows.

For more information:
Karl Maretic, Office of Mark Holland, MP
613-995-8614
(Enable Javascript to see the email address)


Letter from Mark Holland to BC Conservative MPs:

Dear [BC Colleagues],

Recent reports concerning the gruesome and senseless slaughter of one hundred husky dogs near Whistler, BC, remind us all that glaring loopholes persist in Canada’s Criminal Code that hinder the work of law enforcement and the courts to successfully prosecute and convict known perpetrators of serious acts of animal cruelty. In fact, only a tiny fraction – less than 1% – of serious animal abuse cases ever see a conviction; a problem that bill S?203 (2008) did nothing to remedy.

These loopholes in our laws need to be closed at last.

I am writing to you today to respectfully ask you to join me in advancing reasonable and responsible reforms to Canada’s outdated animal cruelty laws. The fastest way to do this would be for the government to draft and expedite its own bill, based on the amendments proposed in my private member’s bill C-229. Let’s not wait for more horrific cruelty cases to surface before we do the right thing and get such a bill through Parliament.

Canadians want action to reform animal cruelty laws.

No other issue generates as much letters, phone calls and emails as animal cruelty does. I note that I have received thousands of communications from your constituents alone living in British Columbia, and I suspect you have too. This issue doesn’t fall into an ideological category. The cause for reforming our animal cruelty laws unites voters of both our parties, indeed all Canadians. It’s a real motherhood and apple pie issue.

It’s also a public safety issue. The facts bear this out.

A clear relationship exists between animal cruelty and other serious types of crimes, including spousal and child abuse, among other horrific violent crimes. By toughening our animal cruelty laws, we have a better chance of apprehending, convicting and rehabilitating abusers, making our communities safer and healthier.

Please consider the calls of countless Canadians, including your own constituents, who are sickened by senseless acts of cruelty, like the dog slaughter in B.C., and who are outraged by the state of our weak laws in Canada. As government MPs representing British Columbia constituencies, I am hopeful that this tragic case that occurred in your home province will inspire you to work within your own party for real reforms now.

I invite you to call me to discuss this further.

Sincerely,

Mark Holland, MP for Ajax-Pickering,
Public Safety Critic for the Official Opposition

Read Mark’s press release

Read Mark’s press release


Sled dogs of Whistler

Sled dogs of Whistler

The story that broke in January, 2011, where an employee of Outdoor Adventures Whistler recounted how he was ordered to kill 100 sled dogs brought to our attention what a simple commodity sled dogs are. When business is good, their life is essentially assured. But when business declines or never materializes as expected, inventory must be cut.

Citing a post-Olympic slump in bookings of dog-sled tours as their reason, a major tour operator in Whistler has admitted that he ordered the killing of 100 dogs. Looking at your pet, can you imagine the mindset that made that decision; the thinking that concluded that killing them was the necessary action to maintain a bottom line for their business. To hell with the fact that these are living beings who have likely served the business well during the busy season. Too cold for me.

I always wonder: did you ask each and every one of them if they wanted to die?

According to Marcie Moriarty, general manager for cruelty investigations with the BC SPCA, it is actually legal to shoot an animal if it dies instantly. But the report on the sled dogs seems to say that at least some of these dogs did not die instantly. Instead they struggled to flee, to try and climb out of the pile of dead dogs.

Least we be shocked into disbelief by this story, we must not forget the race horses slaughtered once they are past their prime or the MILLIONS of healthy cats and dogs killed in our North American shelters every year often due to bored or unprepared owners who abandon them.

Photos of the victims and links to news articles | Vigil info