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The Ottawa Animal Advocate

Equality for Cats and Dogs in Prescott, Ontario

Dog and Cat

In late January, Prescott, Ontario Town Council voted to update the town's 1994 animal control bylaw and now, owners can be charged $110 if their dog or cat is running at large. Owners may also be fined if either species is not licensed or not wearing its tag. Poop-and-scoop laws will also apply to cats under the new bylaw — owners can face a $210 fine if they don't pick up after their animal on other people's property or in public spaces.

Some will argue that cats need to run free. Up until the 1950s, there was a widespread belief that dogs needed to run free, as, the thinking went, dogs are descended from wolves. Leashing of dogs was made mandatory for rabies control and protection of livestock, generally not for the welfare of dogs. Today, a loose dog could prompt dozens of people to come together, sometimes risking danger to themselves, to bring him to safety. Not so for a loose cat.

In the 1980s onward, controversies abounded about poop-and-scoop laws for dogs. These laws are now ubiquitous and the vast majority of people pick up after their dogs. Yet, still cats are allowed to roam the neighbourhood, defecating in children's sandboxes and neighbour's flowerbeds. Those same cats are at risk for poisoning, shooting or any other harm at the hands of a fed-up neighbour.

Evolutions in thinking have helped make communities safer for dogs. While the literature and OHS statistics suggest cats are catching up, protections for cats still trail protections afforded to dogs.

But not in Prescott Ontario.

Tentative Steps in the Right Direction

Puppies in cage

Since last summer's arrival of dead and abused puppies from Ukraine, Canada's weak protections for animals imported into the country has been a consistent point of concern. In February, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) stated that they are working to improve import measures to reduce the risk of unhealthy dogs being imported into Canada and to prevent inhumane transport.

The OHS reached out to the CFIA to learn more about what specific improvements will be made, how the regulations will be enforced and when they will come into effect. The CFIA did not provide a response.

The OHS welcomes greater protections to prevent cruelty towards animals coming to Canada. However, without key details and information on these improvements, it is difficult to raise hopes on this news alone. Worryingly, the improvements will apply specifically to dogs rather than affording protections to all species. As well there is no mention of offering greater protections for exotic animals, leaving our borders open as trade routes for cruel businesses.

While CFIA's promise of improvements may not be a homerun for the animals, it is a start. The CFIA's willingness to improve shows that advocacy for animals imported into Canada is having an impact. Now is not the time to let up. Continue to raise your voice for animals who are imported into Canada and demand stronger regulations that are upheld.

End of For-Profit Sales

Sad puppy in cage

In 2016, Ottawa City Council amended a bylaw to phase out the for-profit sale of cats and dogs. The three pet stores that sold pets not sourced from humane societies or rescues were given five years to change their business model before the bylaw was to take full effect. Spring 2021 marks the beginning of the bylaw and an end of for-profit cat and dog sales at Ottawa pet stores.

The OHS has long opposed for-profit sales of companion animals. These retailers often fail to provide necessary information on animal care, healthy living environments, promote impulse buying and contribute to pet overpopulation.

The bylaw is a step towards building a more humane and compassionate community for Ottawa's animals. The clock is ticking on this archaic business model and the OHS is more than pleased to see its passing.

Vive la France

 Couple with dog

Animal welfare has been making strides in France. A new bill takes aim at ending the for-profit sale of puppies and kittens in pet shops, requiring breeders to receive animal welfare training and for online marketplaces to specify an animal's identification number, age and breed in order to prevent pet trafficking.

The new bill represents a major step towards combatting the shady businesses that have taken advantage of the past year's huge demand for pets and gives reputable breeders the tools to further distinguish themselves from scammers and for-profit animal abusers.

The bill is another step France has taken towards improving animal welfare. In late 2020, France began phasing out the use of live animals in circus performances. Some French circuses have already gotten on board, replacing their live animals with holograms.

Improvements for animals anywhere is a victory for animals everywhere.

OHS Pet Foodbank

Buddy & Belle: Emergency Pet Foodbank

OHS Pet Foodbank

You, and other loyal supporters like you, continue to embrace vulnerable animals in our community.

Many responsible and loving pet owners are coping with financial hardships as the public health crisis continues without a clear end in sight. These families have to choose between paying the bills and keeping their innocent animal companions. You can help keep these families together.

The OHS Emergency Pet Food Bank provides pet food to assist families in need.

Eligible pet owners receive, at no cost, enough pet food for two weeks. As transportation can pose a significant barrier to those most in need, the OHS delivers food to several partner agencies across the city to distribute directly to their clients.

You can ensure that loving pet owners have the help needed to keep their pets during this public health crisis.

Please, donate today to keep families together.

Thank you to our sponsors:
Science Diet
Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa Humane Society
245 West Hunt Club Rd, Ottawa, ON K2E 1A6 |


Ottawa Humane Society

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