Calgary arguably has one of the best, if not the best, animal control organization in the world and by best I mean they manage to save and protect more dogs and cats than most anywhere else. This amazing feat is in large part due to a man named Bill Bruce. Bruce is the Director of Animal and Bylaw Services for the City of Calgary and he made it his mission years ago when he took the position to change the emphasis from animal control to an emphasis on responsible pet ownership.

And it's worked.

Calgary has got the highest rate of licensing amongst pet owners because people understand that the money goes towards a good cause: keeping pets safe and protected.

In Calgary, ACOs are know as Animal Courtesy Officers and that's not just marketing speak.

While a fine for an unlicensed dog or cat is $250 with a zero tolerance for noncompliance, Calgary’s Animal Control Officers spend most of their days helping animals and their people. They are not on a witch hunt for offenders, but rather help educate folks on where to get subsidized spay/neuter, check in at the local dog parks and reunite owners with their pets that decide to take an unaccompanied stroll! With their state-of-the-art, customized Animal Control mobiles which are outfitted with laptops and Internet service, as soon as they pick up an at large animal they are able to punch his or her information into their computer and find out where the animal belongs. Then they take the animal straight home! This simple system helps keep the numbers of animals at the facility down while minimizing the possibility of spreading diseases or parasites. As Bill put it plainly: “Licensing is your ticket home” and the ACO’s seem to be the chauffeurs!

You can read more about Bill Bruce here.

You can also go listen to him speak when he comes to Toronto next month. The ORA (Organization for the Rescue of Animals) has invited him to town and he will be speaking on Friday, September 30, 2011 at the Intercontinental Toronto Yorkville Hotel in the Portman Room (220 Bloor Street West) at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $11.30.



5 Comments to “Bill Bruce speaking engagement in Toronto”

  1. Catherine says:

    Thank you for letting us know about this!

  2. LynnO says:

    What does it cost to license a dog or a cat in Calgary?

  3. Fred says:

    LynnO, the rates are comparable. CAS, however, does not operate exactly the same as TAS. For example, they don't accept owner surrenders (owner surrenders go to Calgary Humane Society) and they don't have to deal with anti-Pit Bull legislation.

  4. Selma says:

    Also no pet limits.

    Thanks Fred, I've been corresponding with the Mayor, he sounds interested in finding out more about Calgary so I've told him about this visit. Maybe he can combine a visit to City Council as well, or send somebody to the talk.

  5. Fred says:

    Great idea, Selma. Let's hope he does that. And thanks.

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A request

The reason for this blog is to help get specific dogs adopted from TAS but equally important is to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals. The single greatest stigma shelter animals still face is the belief that shelter animals are substandard animals. Anyone who has had enough experience with shelter animals knows this is untrue but the general public hasn't had the same experiences you've had. They see a nice dog photo in a glossy magazine and too many of them would never think of associating that dog with a dog from a shelter. After all, no one abandons perfectly good dogs, right? Unfortunately, as we all know, perfectly good dogs are abandoned all the time.

The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

So, here's the favour I'm asking. Whenever you see a dog picture on these pages you think is decent enough, I'd like you to consider sharing it on Facebook or any other social media sites you're using (I know many of you do this already and thank you for that). And when you share it, please mention that the dog in the photo is a shelter dog like so many other shelter dogs waiting for a home. If we can get even five percent of the pet buying public to see shelter dogs differently, to see how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are, and to consider shelter dogs as their first choice for a new family member, we can end the suffering of homeless pets in this country.
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