I love making zucchini bread and muffins for the freezer. Why? Do I not love ratatouille? Fried green tomatoes and zucchini? Easy sliced zucchini pizza ‘crust’? Of course I do! But even if I ate zucchini somethingorother with every meal, there is still much more bounty than one woman could hope to use!
Even passing them out like candy to everyone who comes to visit does not really help! So that is why, in the midst of wood stacking and herb hanging I make time to bake up a zucchini storm. Food is a precious thing and should not be wasted, eh?
Is it a good idea? You bet! But it would need a wee bit of editing. Why? We share so much mainstream culture with our American ‘cousins’ that it would be easy to overlook the fundamental differences in our governments and the bureaucracies that support them.
What does that mean in realspeak? Well … here in Nova Scotia, there are actually two provincial departments that have control and responsibility for legislation that affects all companion animals. Mark Furey is the Minister of Municipal Affairs and the road map for all municipal Dog Bylaws falls under his department. Keith Colwell is the Minister of Agriculture and as we all know, responsibility for regulations for the Animal Protection Act fall under his scope of influence.
We often overlook how important a role Mark Furey could play for the animals. With one broad stroke to the Municipal Services Act, the Honorable Minister could actually effect much of the change asked for in the No Kill Advocacy Center’s model legislation: (please note that for the purposes of clarity, references to US law and organizations have been removed from these quotes) Although the entire proposed law is important, I have highlighted the first two sections as being of particular note for the purposes of today’s discussion.
A. No animal in the care or custody of a duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, a duly incorporated humane society, a pound, shelter, or dog control officer, whether such entity be public or private, shall be destroyed if, prior to the killing of that animal, a nonprofit, animal adoption organization, or organization formed for the prevention of cruelty to animals, requests possession of the animal.
B. At least two business days prior to the scheduled euthanasia of an animal, the society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, duly incorporated humane society, pound, shelter, or dog control officer, having care or custody of the animal, shall notify or make a reasonable attempt to notify by verifiable written or electronic communication any animal rescue or adoption organization or organization formed for the prevention of cruelty to animals which have previously requested notification for animals scheduled to be killed.
C. upon taking possession of an animal, an animal rescue or adoption organization or organization formed for the prevention of cruelty to animals shall assume all liability for the animal while the animal is in the custody and control of the organization; provided that the organization shall not be deemed responsible for harm caused to or by the animal that:
a. occurred prior to the time the organization assumed possession of the animal; or,
b. is due to the acts or omissions of a person not associated with the organization.
D. The provisions of this subdivision shall not apply to:
a. An animal suspected to carry and exhibiting signs of rabies, as determined by the local health department;
b. A dog that has been determined by a court having competent jurisdiction to be dangerous
pursuant to the provisions of _______________________;
c. A dog with a documented history of unprovoked biting that has resulted in severe
injury to a human being and which was documented by the society for the prevention of
cruelty to animals, the humane society, pound, shelter, or dog control officer, as applicable, prior to the current impound of the animal; or,
d. An animal who is experiencing irremediable physical suffering with a prognosis for recovery that is poor or grave even with comprehensive prompt and necessary veterinary care, as certified in writing by a veterinarian licensed to practice medicine in this state.
E. Any animal rescue or adoption organization or organization formed for the prevention of cruelty to animals having an officer, board member, staff member or volunteer who has been convicted of a criminal offense having as its primary effect the prevention or punishment of animal neglect or animal cruelty or dog fighting shall be prohibited from being an organization under the terms of this subdivision until such time as that officer, board member, staff member or volunteer is no longer associated with the organization.
f. Any animal rescue or adoption organization or organization formed for the prevention of cruelty to animals having an officer, board member, staff member or volunteer against whom charges of violating the provisions of a statute having as its primary effect the prevention or punishment of animal neglect or animal cruelty or dog fighting are pending in a court of law shall be prohibited from being an organization under the terms of this subdivision until such time as that officer, board member, staff member or volunteer is no longer associated with the organization or such charges are dismissed or dropped.
g. As used in this section:
a. “irremediable physical suffering” means that the animal suffers from a medical condition that has a poor or grave prognosis and that the animal is unable to live without prolonged, severe and unremitting pain despite necessary veterinary care;
b. “Severe injury” means any physical injury that results in broken bones, permanently disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery;
c. “unprovoked biting” means biting that is not provoked. Biting is provoked if, among other things, it occurs because the dog was being taunted, or the dog was acting in defense of self, a person, another animal, or property, or the dog was acting from maternal instinct, or the dog was reacting to hunger, pain, or fear, or the dog bites accidentally, as when playing;
d. “Documented history” must consist of medical reports made at the time the prior bite incident occurred or was reported, as well as medical reports documenting the circumstances of the bite and the severity of the injury;
e. “officer” means a dog control officer or peace officer, acting pursuant to his or her special duties, or police officer in the employ or under contract to a municipality.
Now what does all this mean in realspeak? How would that apply in a province where the only constant with respect to Animal Control is that there IS no constant?
To put it simply, it would mean that whatever the arrangements, each animal control or their contracted representative would be obliged by law to allow the transfer of impounded animals to rescues who were willing and able to accept the animal. It would also lift the veil of secrecy which allows our tax dollars to be spent killing animals that could be saved.
And then of course there is the other elephant in the room. Why do kind rescue hearts move heaven and earth to bring homeless dogs into this province? Straight, sweet and simple because of the urgency! They KNOW that these dogs are scheduled to die and so they pull out all the stops for them! Sheesh .. it’s not like anyone in Nova Scotia is letting them know that dogs here are going to die, eh? Why would they worry about that?
The best bit about this law is that it does not add any extra burdens to the taxpayer. Indeed … if we can learn anything from No Kill advocates elsewhere it is there is enough love in any community to help save the animals. All they need is a chance, eh?
What time is it? It is always time to remember that life is a very precious thing and should not be wasted.