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D&C Updates

Who Let the Dogs Out?

For the past few months, CARE has been getting calls about the same handful of dogs. They are in different communities but the problem is the same: their guardians seem to think that it is okay for their dog to roam their community off-leash and often unattended and they get into all kinds of trouble, from getting into garbage to attacking leashed dogs, children and others.

The number one comment we hear: “My dog is friendly/good/etc.”. Our number one response: “Maybe, but likely not when part of a pack of dogs”.

This is not a new situation for CARE or the communities we serve. The usual process for dealing with these situations is:

·       Discuss the problem with the guardian(s) and work on solutions together.

·       If that doesn’t work, bylaw tickets are issued.

·       Still not working? Impound the dog.

·       The dog gets returned if the folks take steps to keep the problem from repeating.

·       If the guardians were unwilling or unable to keep the problem from repeating, the dog is seized and likely rehomed.

This strategy is not an effective solution for many reasons. First, most tickets are not paid and sending them to ‘collections’ is often a waste of time. Second, impounding dogs is costly and it is hard (near impossible these days) to find shelter space to house them given how many animals need temporary sheltering. Third, rehoming these dogs who are often untrained, under-socialized and used to roaming is now as likely as meeting a unicorn in the street while driving to Blockbuster for a flick. Fourth, if removed from the household, these dogs are often replaced quickly with a puppy and the situation repeats.

So, what is one to do? Some people have suggested euthanizing these dogs given the lack of capacity to temporarily shelter them, train them, and rehome them. It’s a horrible thought that these dogs would pay for their guardian’s lack of responsibility with their life! And to what end if folks just keep getting more dogs?

How about more extreme penalties for repeatedly violating a community’s health and safety rules/animal control bylaws? What if a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy was put in place? Strike #1 results in a warning. Strike #2 results in a ticket being issued plus a warning of the consequence of Strike #3. Strike #3 results in the guardian losing their privilege to live in the community?

This quickly gets us into questions about housing as a human right. But how is an individual’s right to housing balanced with maintaining the safety and health of every other member of the community? Would the local government evicting the perpetrator need to help find housing elsewhere, or adequately compensate the expelled individual?

Cats, Cats, Cats…

What is going on with the number of cats needing help right now?


Every week we are transferring multiple cats to our shelter partners across the island to be rehomed. The last load was 18 cats! And this is at a time of year when cat & kitten season is usually somewhat dormant. Some of the recent cases:

·       Someone moved from the west coast to Ontario and let us know that they left their SPCA-adopted cat behind. The cat is afraid of most humans and they left kitty to fend for himself outside. Trapping this guy took over a week of effort!

·       Two kittens, their older sibling from another litter and the mom all need to be trapped and spayed and neutered. The ‘guardian’ would like the mom spayed for free and returned to him.

·       We continue to get reports of abandoned cats in remote areas along Highway 4. We did manage to trap one kitten who was spotted several times. It took many trips (2 hours return) and several late nights. She is now a fully socialized kitty looking for her forever home.

·       We still have the 'Jewels' at the shelter in our new, sanctuary room. The Jewels are 18-year old brother and sister, Sapphire and Ruby, who lived outside their whole lives and who were left behind when folks sold their waterfront Tofino property and moved away. This lovely pair are now loving indoor-only life that comes with twice-daily brushings, delicious food and all the cuddles. 

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