A little fireside musing ….

I used to love finding jigsaw puzzles under the tree when I was a child!   Why would I say such a thing when todays children would be horrified to ‘settle’ for such a simple thing?

Well Virginia, there actually was a time when gifts like Wi’s / Playstations / iPods / etc were still the stuff of science fiction!    Hard as it might be to imagine now, a good 3000 piece puzzle was one of the best social networking tools around!

But even the best puzzles lost their value when any of the pieces were lost!     They were only family fun when they could actually be finished, eh?      At that point, the only thing to do was toss them  …  because it would just be mean to donate them to the local hospital or care home!

These are exciting days for the animal rescue community in this province!    After a bit of badgering, the new provincial Minister of Agriculture has been meeting with representatives of the animal loving community!    New regulations are once again back on the table … possibly even as early as this spring!

So just what IS it that still wakes me up at three in the morning about all this?     Is it the sure knowledge that animals will continue to suffer in the cold THIS winter?    Is it the worry that the newly minted minister is hoping that folks will lose interest in the issue while they are waiting?    Or perhaps … believing the solution to be in sight … move on to frying bigger fish?

Actually it is simpler than that!    Our new Minister is already developing a track record of indifference to public opinion!   Why would I say that?    Well … just look at the whole issue of Aaron Hiltz and his ‘renegade’ free range hens!

In spite of overwhelming public support, the Honorable Minister seems to be following a time-honored Liberal tradition of following the money!

So will that mean that we WON’T see new regulations?   Not necessarily!   Odds are we will actually see Anti Tethering included in the new regulations!

Now this is where people ar going to want to start throwing things at their computer screens!   The simple truth is that I am deeply troubled by the Minister’s refusal to commit to continuing the society’s enforcement funding!    Even worse, there have been broad hints that the responsibility for enforcement should shift ‘other’ police services, such as AC and even the RCMP!

Yes … I know that the society has a terrible track record when it comes to cruelty complaints!   In many cases,  the kind hearts who have complained have been made to feel like the criminals!    Indeed, pursuit of the subject up the society chain of command generally resulted in the complainant … not the offender … being blacklisted by the society 😦

But here is the thing …. if the responsibility is shifted, will there be any additional funding for Municipal Animal Control?    Or is this a shell game where the funding for the society simply vanishes?

Lets face it … it simply is not realistic to expect new fines to fund any new Animal Control responsibilities!     Where do the fines and dog tag money go?   Why into the general revenue for each municipality or county  … which then doles out a budget for AC 😦

Nor is it sensible to expect already overtasked police in this province to pick up the animal cruelty enforcement slack … when all around this province councillors are struggling to find enough funding to keep the services they have 😦

There are a few wonderful people who work for Animal Control around the province.     But here in the real world, it takes funding to accomplish even the basics.    For example,  the HRM funded AC sheltering contract makes it possible for the contractor to vet check, vaccinate and alter animals before transferring them to rescue.    Which in turn makes it more possible for cash strapped rescues to find that life saving slot, eh?    Municipalities which do not provide their AC with such funding are not encouraging life saving,  eh?   If there is no partnering rescue, then the animals will always get the short end of the stick 😦

What does that mean in realspeak?   Why of course that we need ALL the pieces of the puzzle in order to properly protect the animals in this province!    How effective would drinking and driving laws would be if there was no funding for police?

What time is it?    It is time to remind your MLA and the Minister that it is not enough to eventually to write better regulations!     At the end of the day, it is always time to remind our politicians to ‘show us the money’!

Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.    Thomas Jefferson

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