Saturday, January 23, 2010

Vets now required to report animal abuse

By IAN FAIRCLOUGH Staff Reporter
Sat. Jan 23 - 4:49 AM

Veterinarians are now required to report possible animal abuse, neglect and cruelty under changes to the provincial Animal Protection Act that came into effect this week.

The new laws mean that vets no longer have to fear court reprisals from owners for telling the SPCA that animals they are treating appear to be abused, says Nova Scotia SPCA executive director Kristin Williams.

It is similar to the law that requires doctors to report suspected abuse of children.

"That is a much-needed, much-improved part of the legislation," said Ms. Williams.

She said divulging information about the condition of pets was considered "personal information pertaining to the owner," and therefore private.

"There was certainly a risk associated with reporting abuse" before the changes, she said.

Another change in the new act gives responsibility for farm animals to the Agriculture Department. Livestock had previously fallen under the auspices of the SPCA.

"They are a ministry within the government that has dedicated resources that are paid through tax dollars to facilitate these investigations," Ms. Williams said. "They have access to training and veterinarian services that are specific to large animals, and other specialties in terms of skills."

The change moves responsibility — and the big price tag — for investigating allegations involving large farm operations away from the SPCA and its relatively small budget.

"In the past, we’ve had to incur tremendous costs related to farm animal incidents," Ms. Williams said.

The change means the animal protection organization can concentrate on companion animals like dogs and cats, she said.

The SPCA has three investigators in the province who handle more than 1,500 complaints a year.

Ms. Williams said the changes, including one that increases fines for those convicted under the act, will allow Nova Scotia "to be much more responsive to the need and welfare of animals across the province, and allow the SPCA to play a much more active role on behalf of animals."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Look at this face! Have you ever seen anything so cute?

If you ever love an animal...

If you ever love an animal, there are three days in your life you will always remember . . .

The first is a day, blessed with happiness, when you bring home your young new friend. You may have spent weeks deciding on a breed. You may have asked numerous opinions of many vets, or done long research in finding a breeder. Or, perhaps in a fleeting moment, you may have just chosen that silly looking mutt in a shelter simply because something in its eyes reached your heart. But when you bring that chosen pet home, and watch it explore, and claim its special place in your hall or front room and when you feel it brush against you for the first time it instills a feeling of pure love you will carry with you through the many years to come.

The second day will occur eight or nine or ten years later. It will be a day like any other. Routine and unexceptional; but, for a surprising instant, you will look at your longtime friend and see age where you once saw youth. You will see slow deliberate steps where you once saw energy. And you will see sleep when you once saw activity. So you will begin to adjust your friend's diet and you may add a pill or two to her food. And you may feel a growing fear deep within yourself, which bodes of a coming emptiness. And you will feel this uneasy feeling, on and off, until the third day finally arrives.

And on this day if your friend and whatever higher being you believe in have not decided for you, then you will be faced with making a decision of your own on behalf of your lifelong friend, and with the guidance of your own deepest Spirit. But whichever way your friend eventually leaves you; you will feel as alone as a single star in the dark night.

If you are wise, you will let the tears flow as freely and as often as they must. And if you are typical, you will find that not many in your circle of family or friends will be able to understand your grief, or comfort you.

But if you are true to the love of the pet you cherished through the many joy-filled years, you may find that a soul a bit smaller in size than your own seems to walk with you, at times, during the lonely days to come.

And at moments when you least expect anything out of the ordinary to happen, you may feel something brush against your leg very, very lightly.

And looking down at the place where your dear, perhaps dearest, friend used to lie you will remember those three significant days. The memory will most likely to be painful, and leave an ache in your heart.

As time passes the ache will come and go as if it has a life of its own. You will both reject it and embrace it, and it may confuse you. If you reject it, it will depress you. If you embrace it, it will deepen you. Either way, it will still be an ache.

But there will be, I assure you, a fourth day when along with the memory of your pet and piercing through the heaviness in your heart there will come a realization that belongs only to you. It will be as unique and strong as our relationship with each animal we have loved, and lost. This realization takes the form of a Living Love like the heavenly scent of a rose that remains after the petals have wilted, this Love will remain and grow and be there for us to remember. It is a love we have earned. It is the legacy our pets leave us when they go. And it is a gift we may keep with us as long as we live. It is a Love which is ours alone. And until we ourselves leave, perhaps to join our Beloved Pets it is a Love we will always possess.

~Martin Scot Kosins