Maybe it's the water in Parkdale but both its Member of Parliament and its Member of Provincial Parliament are involved in trying to improve animal welfare related laws.

There's Cheri DiNovo (NDP), MPP for Parkdale-High Park, who is fighting to appeal the horrendous anti-Pit Bull sections of the Dog Owner's Liability Act in our province.

From Ontario Dogs Vote:

In May of 2010, NDP-MPP Cheri DiNovo introduced private member’s Bill 60 to repeal the breed specific portion of the Dog Owners Liability Act (BSL) enacted by the then Attorney General Michael Bryant and the Liberal Provincial Government in August 2005.

Bill 60 became known as Hershey’s Bill (and we pray Hershey’s Law) in honour of a beautiful “pit bull” named Hershey. She was used as a breeding dog in a puppy mill; kept locked in a cage 24/7, never loved or fed properly, abused and then abandoned after they were done with her. Hershey was rescued by a shelter where she was finally adopted by her angel, Jennifer Waite. Jennifer showered Hershey with love and affection and eventually Hershey became a Certified St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dog. She became very attached to the seniors she would visit, as they did her.

In 2005, Hershey was presented with an award from the Toronto Humane Society during Be Kind to Animals Week, due to her outstanding service with the seniors and her restricted breed status in Ontario. Sadly Hershey, and other “pit bulls”, was no longer allowed to work as a therapy dog in Ontario and would now be considered a dangerous dog and be forced to wear a muzzle. This Bill is in memory and honour of Hershey, the dog who changed the lives of many; the dog who was a true “pit bull”.


There will be one final Toronto rally before the fall provincial elections in support of Hershey's Bill on Saturday October 1, 2011. Even if you're not the rallying type, check this one out for all the great dogs that'll be brought along.


Fighting alongside Dinovo for animal justice is Peggy Nash (NDP), MP for Parkdale-High Park, who is reintroducing Bill C-232 originally created by Mark Holland (Liberal) which aims to strengthen the laws which protect animals against cruelty.

Animal cruelty laws in Canada are a farce and recent "improvements" to them do little but contribute lip service to the idea of protecting animals. Fines and jail times may have been increased but when it's still just as difficult to convict perpetratore of even the most heinous cruelty, what's the point?

Holland's bill aimed to get rid of the loopholes which let too many animal torturers slip through the stubby fingers of the law but Holland lost his seat in the last federal election so Peggy Nash has stepped forward to champion the bill in Parliament.

From Hansard, June 16, 2011 :

This bill would better protect animals from intentional cruelty. Clearly, animals are sentient beings; they are not property. This bill would take the provision about animal cruelty out of the property section of the Criminal Code.

We have seen far too many examples of animal cruelty that escape the current laws. This bill would increase the likelihood of conviction for animal cruelty.


Excerpts from Bill-232:

Definition of “animal”

182.1 In this Part, “animal” means a vertebrate, other than a human being.


Killing or harming animals

182.2 (1) Every one commits an offence who, wilfully or recklessly,

(a) causes or, being the owner, permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal;

(b) kills an animal without lawful excuse;

(c) in any manner encourages, promotes, arranges, assists at or receives money for the fighting or baiting of animals, including the keeping or management of premises for the purpose of animal fighting or training an animal to fight another animal;

(d) without reasonable excuse, administers a poisonous or injurious drug or substance to a domestic animal, or an animal wild by nature that is kept in captivity, or, being the owner of such an animal, permits a poisonous or injurious drug or substance to be administered to it;

(e) promotes, arranges, conducts, assists in, receives money for or takes part in any meeting, competition, exhibition, pastime, practice, display or event at or in the course of which captive animals are liberated by hand, trap, contrivance or any other means for the purpose of being shot at the moment they are liberated; or

(f) being the owner, occupier or person in charge of any premises, permits the premises or any part of the premises to be used in the course of an activity referred to in paragraph (c) or (e).


Punishment

(2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or imprisonment for a term of not more than eighteen months or to both.


Aboriginal rights

182.6 (1) For greater certainty, nothing in this Part shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the protection provided for existing aboriginal or treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada by the recognition and affirmation of those rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.


Other rights

(2) For greater certainty, nothing in this Part shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any legal right to hunt or fish or to engage in the slaughter of food animals.


For more information on this, check out the Facebook page here.



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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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