Government intervention needed, animal advocates say – Winnipeg Free Press
Shelters are full, animals are dying and government intervention is needed, say animal rescue advocates.
“It’s time for our leaders to start stepping up and start doing their job,” Kathlene Kuzak said Wednesday. “That’s more than the rescues can handle.”
Kuzak and his fellow K9 Advocates Manitoba volunteers are calling on the province to introduce legislation making sterilization mandatory for pet owners.
Several other local rescues, including D’Arcy’s ARC, Winnipeg Pet Rescue and Manitoba Mutts, are voicing their support for the idea, saying an influx of untreated pets induced by the COVID-19 pandemic has left them overwhelmed.
“We fund by government, and we need government regulation…it needs to be sweeping,” said K9 finance coordinator Liz Rowe.
“Why are we the ones who control the animals? »
Since January, K9 staff have taken in nearly 2,000 dogs and cats and incurred $160,000 in veterinary bills. Last year, its operating expenses totaled more than $430,000.
As a nonprofit organization that receives no government support, the expenses are almost unbearable, Rowe said.
“We are raising a sinking ship with our bare hands as the endless cycle of overpopulation of dogs and cats continues to persist. That is part of the frustration. We are ordinary people and we feel charged to solve this huge problem “, she said.
Jessica Miller, executive director of the Winnipeg Humane Society, agreed that sterilization was the most effective way to reduce overcrowding, but said mandatory sterilization would be difficult to implement due to the prohibitive cost.
“Some people won’t have the funds to do it. Unless the government raises the costs for this to happen, I don’t see how individuals could afford this,” she said.
Instead, Miller suggests municipalities update their rules regarding pet control. She cited the City of Winnipeg’s recently updated responsible pet ownership bylaw as an example to follow.
In early July, Winnipeg amended the regulations to address breeding.
Now pet owners must obtain a permit from the city before their pets can breed, with each dog and cat limited to one litter per year and no more than four litters in their lifetime. In addition, shelter and rescue services now have the right to sterilize animals without a permit at the owner’s expense.
The new system reserves the right for people to keep their animals intact, while cracking down on irresponsible owners who allow their animals to roam and breed freely, said Leland Gordon, executive director of Winnipeg Animal Services.
“It’s definitely a model regulation for animal control and animal welfare,” Gordon said, adding that if the government steps in and standardizes similar legislation across the province, it could help tackle overcrowding.
“It really has to be a collaborative approach to legislation because in many communities there are no animal regulations…let alone a regulation that says you have to spay and neuter. It all ends up on the shoulders of those animal advocates who are in shelters and animal shelters, and it’s really hard and sad work at times.
Manitoba’s Animal Care Act does not address neutering.
The agriculture department (which oversees animal welfare) has begun discussions with stakeholders, according to chief veterinarian Scott Zaari.
“Animal husbandry concerns are usually dealt with by local animal control regulations. Municipalities and individual communities decide whether or not an animal control bylaw is required in their community and whether they have adequate resources to enforce them,” Zaari said in an emailed statement Wednesday.
“When it comes to the pet overpopulation situation, conditions across Manitoba communities are not homogeneous and do not lend themselves to a one-size-fits-all approach to addressing all issues.