July 15, 2012 12 Comments
It sneaks up on me every time, but it’s that time again – the quarterly Blog the Change for Animals event.
And this time there is a united front, where we’ve been asked to publicize the importance of dog rescue this time around and promote July 23’s upcoming online event: Bloggers Unite for Dog Rescue.
Calgary has a lot of rescue organizations. A depressing amount, really.
There are more specific rescues, such as the Meow Foundation for cats, and Little Mutts rescue for small breed dogs. There’s also no shortage of breed-specific rescues operating locally, such as Alberta Bulldog Rescue and For the Love of Danes Rescue.
And for the most part, these rescues are pretty good at being visible when you’re looking for local rescues, and promoting their causes and services at local events.
But I think one rescue in particular often gets overlooked – at least from my perpective.
That’s Calgary Animal Services.
The City’s Animal and Bylaw Services just doesn’t impound dogs at large and collect licensing fees – they also adopt out dogs and cats who have been impounded for too long, or that are surrendered.
As of today, Animal Services lists 34 dogs up for adoption on their website and 63 in impound. 27 cats are adoptable, and 61 additional are impounded.
As I noted in a recent entry, if it costs about $15 per day for the City to care for an animal (not including overheads such as staff salaries and facilities costs), these 185 animals in the City’s care cost the City $2,775 per day.
My point is not that the City should cease providing this service because of the cost – they absolutely should be. My point is that every effort the City can make to promote rescue and curb pet overpopulation in Calgary makes sense fiscally and when it comes to animal welfare and responsible pet ownership. Because any increase in adoption rates will translate to Animal Services as well as the other rescues.
From the Canada Revenue Agency website: “In the context of animal welfare, the courts have determined that promoting the welfare of animals provides an intangible moral benefit to humanity in general. As a result, the very act of showing kindness to animals in need of assistance or care satisfies the public benefit requirement under common law.”
As with many other things, the fact that some people may not agree has meant that the courts have weighed in on something I know at least the audience here will see as common sense; animal welfare is more than just good for animals.
Coming full circle with the tone of the Soapbox recently, City Council will be considering amendments to the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw this September, and the amendments include things such as limiting the number of pets to repeat violators of the bylaws and a ban on the retail sales of dogs and cats in stores (obviously, stores may still opt to feature adoptable animals from local rescues).
Calgary is already well ahead of the curve with its progressive and effective pet bylaws (click for info on The Calgary Model), but these sorts of amendments to promote rescue and address abuse can really put us over the top.
It’s great to see these high-profile sorts of moves taken by municipal councils, and the general publicity given to these sorts of changes really gives rescue more visibility to the general public.
It’s nice to see blogging events coordinated to create a joint effort for a particular cause, but I often feel like these sorts of things are preaching to the choir. Therefore, you need to draw attention of those to speak beyond the choir, so they too can share it.
So, if you’re in Calgary, take a couple of minutes and tell City Council you want to see these changes made.
If you’re not in Calgary, contact your municipal representatives with a similar message – not only to they have a wide audience and influence, they are also in the exact right position to facilitate real improvements for local rescues and companion animal welfare.
It’s completely free to contact your municipal, provincial (or state), and federal representatives, and representing their constituents’ interests is exactly what they were elected to do – make use of it!
And, of course, be sure to read and share the efforts being made on July 23 to promote rescue and adoption!