Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for May, 2009

Within the last two weeks, there has been a noticeable amount of news media focus directed to the need for the Northwest Territories to pass an Animal Protection Act.  This is something that I have been working on since April 2008. The featured picture is one reason why.

Inuvik 8Found alive, starving and frozen to floor of doghouse in sub-zero temperatures in Nunavut.  Humanely put down.

Wheels of government turn slowly, however MACA, Municipal and Community Affairs, has come out with a “Discussion Paper on the Amendments to the Dog Act” which may be viewed at:  http://www.maca.gov.nt.ca/Dog_Act_Discussion_Paper.pdf

You may also view the current NWT Dog Act along with this Discussion Paper.

In an  article which I recently published with News North, also contained in this Blog, titled “No Exceptions….” I have called for the Dog Act to be completely thrown out.  This Animal Protection Legislation for the NWT must encompass all aspects of Animal Protection for all animals, there can be no exceptions for individuals such as breeders, mushers or kennels.  Nor can stray animals be exempt from this protection.

In a recent article published by News North the “NWT ranked best place to be an animal abuser”; this is in accordance to the Animal Legal Defense Fund report released in 2009. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/north/story/2009/05/21/animal-defense-report.html

When interviewed for my own opinion I concurred completely.  Given what I have seen, what I have been involved in, how could I not agree?  The NWT is a disgrace, both on the Canadian home front and internationally.  Conveying that message clearly to the Government of the Northwest Territories has not been an easy task and has consumed my energies for over a year.  Finally it appears that my message has gotten across.

MLA David Ramsay is speaking out for the Northern Animals :http://www.nnsl.com/frames/newspapers/2009-03/mar6_09brf2.html

I must commend Kam Lake MLA Dave Ramsay for speaking out on this issue, the News North article published May 25, 2009 cites that Mr Ramsay said “he’s ashamed of NWT’s ranking in the study and believes the territory should follow Ontario’s example by enacting tough animal protection laws.”  Note that at one point Ontario was listed as one of the lowest areas for Animal Protection and has with the passing of tougher legislation for that province now moved to the Top Spot, Ontario is leading the way.

To further quote the News North article of May 25, 2009, Mr. Ramsay goes on to say “That’s not the kind of Northwest Territories that I want to represent, we need new legislation – period.”  “In the worst cases of abuse there needs to be jail time – serious jail time.  There’s no place for animal cruelty in society today.”  Mr. Ramsay added “We’ll keep pressuring them” meaning GNWT, “to make sure that does happen.”  “It can’t just be a Band-Aid approach.”

Something that I have been attempting to re-inforce myself through my own media interviews and continuing correspondence to the GNWT Legislature.

Taking the time to read the Discussion Paper, http://www.maca.gov.nt.ca/Dog_Act_Discussion_Paper.pdf you will note that there is a consideration listed for the increase in fines, current fines under the Dog Act are ridiculous, and offenders of animal cruelty rarely face, if at all, any criminal charges.  The MACA Discussion Paper also states that in reference to the Yukon, the Yukon has a Dog Act but that it also has an Animal Protection Act.  Reference is also made in this Discussion Paper to the varied Municipal By-Laws and notes that due to population size and logistics, some municipalities do not have by-laws concerning dogs or any other animals.  Such municipalities would therefore have to depend on the current policing authority, that being the RCMP to uphold any GNWT Animal Protection Act that is put into place, as well as the current Dog Act.

In consideration of the current Muncipal By-Laws that are in place, and the enactment of An Animal Protection Act for the NWT, I am strongly suggesting that Municipal By-Laws be revised to follow in line with the upcoming Animal Protection Legislation. Properly trained, qualified Animal Cruelty Investigators must be established and must be given the legal authority to seize any/all animals that are in crisis, they must have the legal authority to pursue justice via the laying of criminal charges against animal abusers.  Animal Cruelty reports which these Investigators file must be taken seriously and must result in follow-up action on the part of Legal Authorities.

Currently that legal authority rests soley with the RCMP under the current Federal Criminal Code, Animal Cruelty Bill.  As it stands, many cases contravening the current Dog Act of the NWT and the Federal Criminal Code of Canada go unpunished, such as the Tuktoyaktuk and Behchoko cases.

In the Tuktoyaktuk case (please see earlier post on Blog – Tuktoyaktuk – Cruelty Capital of Canada?) the Animal Cruelty Report which was filed to the RCMP detachment by the Executive Director of the Beaufort Delta Regional SPCA, was for all intent and purposes ignored, the three surviving sled dogs were not seized by legal authorities and given a chance at rehabilitation and recovery, and RCMP failed to lay charges of animal abuse. Even when PETA got involved, appealing for legal action to be taken and the seizure of the surviving dogs, absolutely nothing was done by the Muncipality or the Legal Authorities. These dogs are now presumed dead as they cannot be located.

Despite that RCMP did lay charges in the Behchoko case, 44 dogs needed to be destroyed, the Crown chose not to prosecute citing that it was “unlikely” that a conviction would be won.  Whether a conviction would be won or not, the guilty party, in the opinion of many, should have been hauled before a Judge and undergone the judicial process, faced the scrutiny and humiliation of his peers.  Instead, he got his walking papers, free to do the same thing over again to whatever animals that may come into his possession in the future. Please see earlier post on Blog (Hail to the Justice System) and prior posts concerning reknowned Dene Artist Archie Beaulieu.

This cannot be allowed to continue.

It would behoove the GNWT in a very positive fashion to adopt any one of the many Provincial Animal Protection Acts which I sent to the Legislature via Registered Mail to use as a Template.  Amending the current Dog Act, is and will be totally inadequate.  A comprehensive Animal Protection Act, for ALL Northern Animals is a must.  This new piece of Legislation must encompass all manner of companion, working and stray animals.  The Act must be explicit in penalities an offender will face, it must be explicit in denoting what constitutes animal abuse in accordance to the standards as set by the rest of Canada and the Federal Criminal Code.

As I have repeatedly stated, there can be no loop holes, as Mr. Ramsay has stated “”It can’t just be a Band-Aid approach.”In the worst cases of abuse there needs to be jail time – serious jail time.  There’s no place for animal cruelty in society today.”

No amount of Legislation, or By-Law revision will be effective if the Legal Authorities fail to uphold the laws contained in this new Act, it will not be worth the paper it is written on.  It is imperative that trained, qualified Animal Cruelty Investigators be established with the necessary legal powers of seizure and the laying of charges, their hands must not be tied.  In communities where this is not feasible, the onus will continue to  fall on the RCMP to uphold this new Animal Protection Legislation and the Municipal By-Laws as they will pertain to this new piece of Legislation.

Please feel free to add your own comments and to contact :  Action for the Protection of Northern Animals (APNA) at

protectionofnorthernanimals@gmail.com to voie your comments and to speak for the animals.

Thank you.

Read Full Post »

Puppy victimFor all of you who are in support of M.P. Mark Holland’s Bill C-229 amending the current Federal Animal Cruelty Legislation there is a resounding shout of Thank You.

Regrettably I must pose the question to you as I did to him:  Just what good will that do to protect the animals in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut? The current Federal Animal Cruelty Bill is not effectively administered in the North.  Unlike the rest of Canada, neither the NWT nor Nunavut have an Animal Protection Act in place.

While the GNWT has communicated to me that “work has begun” we all know how slowly the wheels of government turn.  It is hoped that by the end of the 16th Legislative sitting (Fall 2009) an Animal Protection Act will be in place here.

I was recently interviewed requesting my comments on the study published by the Animal Legal Defense Fund which cited the best places to live if you are an Animal Abuser.  The NWT was listed as one of the top three. http://www.aldf.org/article.php?id=945

Of course I agreed wholeheartedly with their report.  How could I not?  If you have been following the incidents of horrific neglect, starvation, needless and preventable death I have revealed to you;  how could you not agree as well?

The above picture is of a puppy thankfully rescued last year from five  youth in this town who thought it great fun as they attempted to crush the lil one under their bicycle tires.  What did this innocent victim ever do to deserve that?  Were their any consequences to the actions of these youths?  None at all.

In a recent post “Tuktoyaktuk-Cruelty Capital of Canada” I have listed the GNWT MLA and Ministerial contacts.  Please write, email, fax your comments and concerns about the crisis situation faced by all Northern Animals.    Don’t forget about the dogs in Tuktoyaktuk(town contact information is included as well)   or the incident in Bechoko where 44 dogs were destroyed due to severe starvation and abuse.

Please speak for the voiceless: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/an-appeal-for-the-voiceless

Northern Animals must not be forgotten, they must not be allowed to continue the suffering which they now endure and have endured for decades past.

Raise your voice to :  Allow pups such as this little fellow to be given the chance to grow in an environment free from harassment, free from abuse and neglect, free to give to a caring human companion the unquestioned love and loyalty that only an animal can give.

Please also continue to support the call for tougher Federal Legislation, it is time!

http://www.wspa.ca/latestnews/2009/animal_cruelty_still_goes_unpunished_in_canada.aspx

http://stopanimalcrueltyincanada.wordpress.com/

http://www.ifaw.org/ifaw_international/join_campaigns/national_regional_efforts/ifaw_in_action_canada/stop_animal_cruelty_in_canada_support_anti-cruelty_laws/index.php

Read Full Post »

Once upon a time, many decades ago, there existed a very special little dog, much prized by human companions.  Truly a Canadian Breed unlike any other.

So cherished was this great hunter of the Northern climes, that this little dog was literally carried during the hunt until such time as the tracks of it’s adversary were found. Small in stature, gentle towards humans, a powerhouse against those victims of the hunt.  Now believed to be extinct, this wonderous dog may be no more.

Not many have likely heard of the Tahltan Bear Dog, but this amazing powerhouse served the Tahltan natives well.

To learn more of this amazing and wonderous little dog explore the links provided.

http://www/everythinghusky.com/features/beardog.html
http://www.thebreedsofdogs.com/TAHLTAN_BEAR_DO.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahltan_Bear_Dog

Read Full Post »

Having recently read the article “New teeth for Dog Act” published in News North, I fear I am not at all impressed with the speculation that Sled teams and Mushers may wind up exempt from Animal Cruelty provisions contained in the new NWT Animal Protection Act.   Every living animal has the right to warm shelters, meaning insulated dog houses which are required in sub-zero temps, high quality daily food to maintain body condition and weight, to fight sub-zero temperatures, a daily fresh supply of water, human interaction and proper medical care.  In the Beaulieu case and the Pokiak case, all of this was withheld from the “sled” dogs.  In the Beaulieu case the CROWN chose not to prosecute and Pokiak was not even charged.  Both incidents are a total disgrace. Please refer Archived materials.

0930sleddogs500 This  left picture is of:  44 dog sled team of Archie Beaulieu whihc had to be   destroyed.

There is no argument that mushers and sled teams are a tradition in the North,  however, the care that these animals get is often severely lacking.  In the recent Iditarod, 5 dogs died.  Two literally froze to death during the race, the musher admitting he noticed ICE under their fur;  two were run to death, their hearts for lack of better terms exploding, and one suffocated on it’s own vomit.  PETA called for a Criminal Investigation however as of this date I am unaware of any concrete response from legal or town officials in Alaska.

During summer months many sled teams are left on short chains, receive no exercise, human interaction or regular medical check ups; once winter comes these animals are often expected to perform without having received proper nutritional care and physical conditioning., resulting in avoidable injuries and often death.

Legacy of the North Victims Pokiak's dogsPicture to left is Pokiak’s dogs now presumed dead as they cannot be located. Despite desperate attempts by Animal Cruelty Officer and the filing of the Cruelty Reports,  legal intervention to save these animals was not forthcoming.

Again, there are caring team owners who do ensure the health and welfare of their animals, unfortunately that is not in all cases, and we must protect those animals who do too often face these horrific life threatening conditions.

Under the Federal Criminal Code of Canada it is illegal to drag an animal behind a vehicle, even if it is a stray wandering the streets. It is illegal to abuse, torture or cause harm to any animal, through neglect, failure to provide proper food, fresh water, shelter or care. It may not be covered under the current NWT Dog Act, but it is covered under the Federal Act (which is not properly enforced here to begin with).

WHY IS THAT??  A question I have posed to the Attorney General of Canada and the Prime Minister.  The current loop-hole is the word “Willful” which needed to be totally eliminated from any and all Animal Ptorections Bills, it must NOT be included in the NWT Animal Protection Legislation. That one word, leaves a wide door for people such as Beaulieu and Pokiak to escape through.  Choosing NOT to feed those dogs was a willful choice made by those two persons and they got away with it, giving  a clear message that anyone can pull the same trick and not pay just consequences.  Those animals suffered greatly, costing them their lives.

I support Mr. McLeods, (Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, NWT) comment of importing an Act from another province, Ontario’s and B.C.’s in particular, tailoring the act adopted as Mr. McLeod says for the North.  However strict added  effective protection for the sled dogs is a MUST.  As to adding protection for the mushers, accidents do happen yes, however if a musher fails to provide for the physical and emotional welfare of his team, or runs an animal to death, or runs an unconditioned animal,  that is a totally different scenario that must be addressed and that individual must be held accountable for this neglect, which under the Federal Law and other provincial Acts constitutes abuse, which is illegal.  Irresponsible mushers must be held accountable, afterall, they are not only abusing their animals, they are tarnishing the reputations of reputable caring mushers.  As pointed out by the Animal Defense League in a letter which they sent to the NWT Minister of Justice, Mr. Jackson Lafferty, reputable kennels, breeders and mushers should welcome the strict monitoring and licensing of their counterparts in order to protect their own reputations.  In my opinion opposition to this form of strict monitoring, inspection and licensing  would indicate something to hide, would it not?

The NWT does need  to tailor an Act to meet the needs of Northern Animals given the extreme harsh conditions here.  The NWT  has an excellent opportunity to be a shining example instead of a tarnished one.

Further,  it is of extreme importance that Municipal By-Laws be reviewed and rewritten to coincide and be in harmony to the new Animal Cruelty Legislation coming for the NWT and to the standards as represented by towns and cities across the rest of Canada.  As it now stands current Municipal leash laws and required dog licensing is not being enforced.  As a result dogs are being rounded up and shot in many Northern communities, dumped and abandoned, chained and neglected, denied medical care, left without proper daily food, water and shelter, the owners are not being held responsible, the dog population continues to explode due to irresponsible and indiscriminate breeding.  Animals are not being spayed nor neutered, and quite likely not immunized against highly communicable deseases (not communicable to humans).  All of this must be addressed in the Municipal By-Laws and be upheld, to prevent further problems in the communities.

Did you know that Canine Parvovirus (deadly) becomes airborne from infected fecal matter, remains active in lawns, furnishings and clothing, for up to 7 months to 1 year.  There are 5 million viruses contained in only 1 gram of excrement.  Pups should start receiving their shots for Parvo as early as 6 weeks of age and continue receiving shots every 3-4 weeks to the age of 14-16 weeks.  The Passive Immunity passed from the mother to pup diminishes during this timeframe, leaving the pup open to this terrible disease. Which can then be passed onto to healthy animals (if they have not received there shots) by humans who have handled sick animals, or walked in areas where contaminated feces accumulated.

Educating the public on what constitutes animal cruelty and the resultant legal consequences will go a long way to deter the decades of ongoing  cruelty.

Educating the public on what constitutes proper animal welfare, care, nutrition and medical care would be doing a great public service.

For more information on what is happening in Canada please view:

How quickly we forget- In our view: Promises to update animal cruelty laws seem forgotten
The Daily Gleaner
http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/opinion/article/666538

Don’t expect animal act to change soon – Ashfield
The Daily Gleaner
http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/search/article/666723

Neglect case leads to a dozen charges
The Barrie Examiner
http://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1567108

Agency will revisit dead cattle investigation
Regina Leader Post
http://www.leaderpost.com/news/Agency+will+revisit+dead+cattle+investigation/1593430/story.html

Report animal cruelty, neglect
Longview News Journal
http://www.news-journal.com/opin/content/news/opinion/stories/2009/05/14/05142009_letters.html

Read Full Post »

I wish to invite everyone who is in support of very REAL Animal Protection in the Canadian North to join a new group that I have started.  Please feel free to contact :

ProtectionofNorthernAnimals@gmail.com

to voice your concerns and support.

Also please feel free to recount your own experiences where you have witnessed animal cruelty, include pictures if you have them.  With your permission I will post your accounts to this Blog.   Recount your own rescue stories,  your success stories, I am sure there are many of you who take an active role in the welfare of animals in your own areas.

It is too often heart-breaking and it wears all of us to the breaking point at times, we can support each other, be able to chat about our experiences, all you will need to chat is your own gmail acct which is easy to set-up.

I will continue to use Gift of Loki as a forum and must apologize now, since I had taken a break from the blogging for alittle while.

One little note:  I was interviewed this afternoon by News North concerning my  ongoing work towards getting the Animal Protection Act here in the NWT.  I will post the article once it is published…likely within the next week.  It is imperative that this issue be kept alive and in the spotlight…hence the New Group.

The Animal Defense League also sent another communique to the Minister of Justice, NT: Jackson Lafferty supporting my concerns regarding special considerations that may be entertained for mushers.  I will be posting these concerns I have voiced on the weekend.  No one is exempt from animal cruelty, everyone is accountable.

So please, if you care to, join and make your own voices heard for the sake of those who cannot speak for themselves.

Please allow me to introduce my family.  I look forward to meeting yours at:

Protectionof NorthernAnimals@gmail.com

Hemi and ChinaBoth of these beautiful animals are part of my family.  The big boy was going to be put down in 2005 as he is so terrified of men he could no longer be placed in a family setting.  He suffered greatly in three seperate foster homes before I took him in 2005. His emotional scars are healing slowly.  Still afraid to play with toys, (beaten with sticks and rocks); he is a sweet and gentle, loyal and loving companion.  The lil girl with the big ears came to me last fall, badly mauled, her lil face torn up, she is completely healed, altho the wee nose is not quite where it should be.  She is spoiled, healthy, happy and affectionate and adores her big brothers and sister.

Lunar Magic 2This young lady is the patient guardian for for both the boys and the wee one.  A rescue from Ontario who made the trek North with me. She is the gentlest creature I’ve ever known.

And I cannot  forget this lil guy, the newest Scary Smart addition to the family.  The furry lil Angel that brings so much joy and laughter to this household.  Another rescue, terrified and still healing from the emotional scars he will carry his lifetime.Pic031

Read Full Post »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 411 other followers