A little tap dancing lesson

There has been a lot of celebrating around the province today!   Why?    Has the weather warmed up?    Are power rates going to dip?    Is the price of gas going down?   Did the circus come to town?

Actually … as it happens …. today the Department of Agriculture released their plain english Draft Version of the proposed new regulations to augment The Animal Protection Act!   ( scroll down for the media release and a copy of the Draft regulations. )

The truth is that the animal loving community has worked hard for this day!     People have emailed and written letters and phoned every politician who would listen!    Facebook has been on fire for months with heated debates on the subject!      And all around the province, people came out to march in unison for Chain-ge!

Along the way the debate was fuelled by horrible stories in the media of this years crop of chained dogs who did NOT live to tell the tail!     People were particularly put out to see such sad chained dog history repeating itself over and over again ….. year in and year out!

So today, Facebook has been full of good cheer!   Clearly folks are pretty darned pleased about what they have seen!

Now here is where people normally want to start throwing things at their computer screen!    Relax!    Be of good cheer!    Gee … if everyone loves these new regulations so much … who am I to rain on their parade?

Just think!    Tonight we can all have supper … do dishes … watch tv … visit with friends  and have a great sleep in our warm comfy beds!    Tomorrow morning, we can wake up and go outside and bring our dogs in the house!

But hey .. why not leave them outside all day too?   After all … who is going to know?????    In the absence of any provincial funding for society cruelty inspectors … who is going to clock how much time chained dogs spend outside?     Not us … we’ll be in bed sleeping and tomorrow we’ll be  off to work / shopping / etc!

To be perfectly honest, when I first logged on to Facebook after lunch, I had very high hopes!    Why?    It looked so promising that the ‘cat people’ were so enthused!   Huh!     I had no idea that all it would take to make them happy would be to include the word cat!   Huh!   Who knew?

As a sidebar note to that, nothing in today’s release should have come as a surprise!   The Minister has been carefully laying the groundwork all along the way!     He has been crystal clear that this pump was primed by the society!   That the new regs would pretty much be ‘word for word’ what they suggested!    Far be it for any politician to take the heat when such an eager patsy is at hand, eh?

So what do I think?   Sheesh … does it even matter?   Clearly …. in the light of such enthusiasm for this new manual on how to legally chain and pen a dog in Nova Scotia …. it would just be churlish of me to weigh in!

But I will say this one thing!   Just once!

Is it heartbreaking to realize that next winter dogs will still be living life “mostly outdoors”  on the end of a chain?     That it will still legally acceptable to shoot a dog or a cat in this province?    That there is no possible way to police the thousands of animals sold  on Kijiji for certificates of health?   You bet!

Sadly that is not even the most heartbreaking bit!    At the end of the day, motivational experts are fond of saying that we all get the life we choose!         Sadly that may be so …. but the animals were depending on us to choose better for them, eh?

from the Department of Agriculture website

Agriculture

February 27, 2014 1:38 PM

Dogs will no longer be allowed to be tethered for more than 12 hours at a time under draft standards of care released today, Feb. 27, by Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell. Through regulations, standards of care aim to prevent distress and cruelty and to strengthen the protection of companion animals in Nova Scotia. They also include regulation of companion animal restraints, outdoor care, shelters, companion animal pens and enclosures, abandonment of companion animals as well as the transportation and sale of companion animals. “I know animal protection is as important to Nova Scotians as it is to me,” said Mr. Colwell. “I am committed to doing all I can as minister to make sure that we have the proper regulations in place so that animals in this province are properly cared for and protected.”
Mr. Colwell and department officials have met with various animal protection groups since last fall. These consultations followed online feedback from Nova Scotians last summer. As a result, the draft standards of care were expanded to cover cats.
Part of the proposed changes are to add Animal Protection Act infractions to the list of summary offence tickets. This would allow the SPCA and other enforcement officials, including bylaw officers in municipalities, to issue tickets for certain infractions including tethering a dog for longer than 12 hours a day.
During the next month, the department will seek public input into the draft standards of care. Interested Nova Scotians are asked to fill out a feedback questionnaire on the department’s website www.novascotia.ca/agri/ and either e-mail or mail their response no later than March 31.

“We look forward to further input and feedback from Nova Scotians,” said Mr. Colwell. “The standards of care are at the draft stage, but we are confident we are getting close where our new regulations need to be.”
For those who have not already read them, here is the plain language draft text of the regulations provided with today’s news release

Draft Standards of Care for Cats and Dogs

Agriculture

Schedule to the Regulations of the Animal Protection Act

Feb. 27, 2014

1. Definitions

The term animal, as defined in these standards, refers to a cat or dog.

2.  Application

These standards of care apply to:

• an owner or custodian keeping one or more animals; or

• an establishment or business which owns or houses animals.

3.  General Care of Animals

An animal shall be provided with the following:

  clean, fresh, unfrozen drinking water;

• food and water in receptacles located in a manner that prevents spillage and contamination by excreta; and in a size and shape to meet the animal’s physical characteristics, particularly body size;

•sufficient quantity and quality of food to allow for normal, healthy growth and the maintenance of normal, healthy body weight;

• appropriate grooming to prevent excessive matting of the hair or coat, causing pain or other distress to the animal;

•prompt and adequate veterinary care if the animal is sick, injured, in pain or suffering.

An animal must not be abandoned or otherwise left to live on its own in hazardous conditions that cause distress.

4.  Outdoor Care for Animals

An animal may be kept mostly outdoors if its morphology, coat, age, health and adaptation level to heat or cold are such that the animal is adequately protected from the weather conditions to which it is exposed.

Animals kept outside must have shelter that is appropriate to their needs in accordance with these minimum standards.   A higher standard may be required to meet the needs of a specific breed, according to the thickness of coat, energy level, age and or health status.

The area in which an animal is kept outside shall be cleaned and have excreta removed from it on a daily basis.

a) Shelter structures

For the purposes of these standards, a shelter is any structure or part of a structure in which an animal is kept,  including a barn, dog house, shed, hangar or garage.

A shelter in which an animal is kept must be built and maintained so as to not present a risk for the animal’s safety.    The shelter must:

be weatherproof, waterproof, and insulated;

protect the animal from the adverse effects of the sun;

be sufficiently ventilated in a manner that prevents the accumulation of moisture and odours.  The size and design of a shelter for an animal shall be adequate and appropriate for the size of the animal, as follows:

The minimum ceiling height of the sleeping area in a shelter for an animal shall be five centimetres greater than the height of the dog in a sitting position, measured from the top of the dog’s head to the ground.

•  An animal’s bedding must be clean and dry and sufficient to provide adequate insulation from cold weather conditions.

b)  Animal pen or enclosure

A  pen or enclosure is an outside space designed to prevent an animal from leaving a property, by means of a fence, wall, or natural barrier.

The pen or enclosure must be designed to prevent injury or distress to the animal:

•  The size of the floor of a pen or enclosure shall not be less than nine square metres, to be increased by one square metre for each additional animal;

The minimum height of a pen or enclosure shall be one metre greater than the height of the tallest animal in a standing position that is confined in that pen or enclosure,  with height measured from the top of the animal’s shoulder to the ground;

The pen or enclosure shall be in a good state of repair;

•  The pen or enclosure shall have a clean, dry place for the animal to lie down.

The location of a pen or enclosure in which an animal is confined shall not pose a high risk of injury or other distress to the confined animal.

If an animal is to be housed primarily outside for 12 hours or more, a pen or enclosure shall contain a shelter that is designed,  built, and maintained  in accordance with these standards.

c)  Dog Tethering

A tethered dog must be left no longer than a period of 12 consecutive hours with a mandatory break from tethering of seven consecutive hours during a 24–‐hour period.

If a dog is to be tethered primarily outside for a full 12–‐hour period, the dog must have access to a shelter that is designed, built, and maintained in accordance with these standards.

The restraining device used to tether a dog unsupervised, outside, shall:

allow the dog to reach its food and water;

allow the dog to move in a manner that is safe and unrestricted excepted by its length;

not be liable to get stuck or shortened, in particular by wrapping itself around an object;

not cause discomfort for the dog, because of the weight or type of the tether.

The length of the tether shall be a minimum of five metres, or at least five times the length of the animal, whichever is greater.  For the purposes of these standards, the length of an animal shall be measured from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail.

The animal’s collar or restraining device must not hamper the animal’s breathing or cause, or be likely to cause, pain or injury.

 5.    Transportation  of  Animals

An animal  may be transported in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle.

An animal must not be transported in the trunk of a motor vehicle.  (This does not apply to a station wagon, passenger van, sport–‐utility vehicle, hatchback or another type of motor vehicle that does not have a trunk.)

A person shall not transport an animal in a motor vehicle outside the passenger compartment unless the animal is confined or secured in a container in a manner to prevent the animal from falling off the vehicle or otherwise injuring itself or causing a hazard to other vehicles.

If a container is used to transport the animal in a motor vehicle outside passenger section, the container must be:

•  constructed in a way that prevents the animal from escaping;

durable and maintained in good repair;

large enough for the animal to turn around normally while standing, to stand and sit erect, and to lie in a natural position; and

secured to the vehicle.

In a vehicle that is parked or otherwise stopped, an animal in the passenger section of the vehicle must not be not be left in conditions that cause the animal distress, including:

for extended periods of time;

facing extreme hot or cold;

without food, water, blankets, etc. needed to keep the animal comfortable.

 6.  Sale of animals

No person shall offer an animal for sale without a certificate of health from a registered veterinarian.

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