Sad puppy lying in green grass

TORONTO, FEBRUARY 26/09 – Refusing to answer questions and concerns raised more than three years ago by The Humane Society of Canada, and still refusing to defend their misleading statements made since that time, Toronto City Council signalled its intention to pass more laws with the express intention of harming animals and those who care about them.

A full copy of our report and letters to City Council made more than three years ago and circulated during our presentation at City Hall can be found here

Reportedly, Councillor Paula Fletcher who chairs the committee, defending the upcoming ban as a way to make the lake swimmable. "Keeping crap from running into the lake is number one", she said, still failing to provide a single scrap of evidence more than three years after she was asked for it.

And to which The Humane Society of Canada responded: "Even more importantly, is keeping the crap and misleading information out of the Council Chambers."

According to Michael O’Sullivan, Chairman & CEO, of The Humane Society of Canada: "For three years, we have repeatedly challenged their entire plan. As a long time Beaches resident, I can assure you that the reason local people, who know better, don’t go swimming is because of human caused pollution and the failure of elected officials and civil servants to take meaningful actions to correct those problems."

City Hall also tried to deliberately mislead the public into believing that the only way to certify beaches under an International Blue Flag Environmental Program was to prevent dogs from being on the beaches or swimming in the water. "After we contacted the Canadian organizers and the international program headquartered in Denmark, we exposed this misleading information for what it was and remains today, nothing in our opinion, but bald faced lies, " said O’Sullivan.

The Humane Society of Canada is urging everyone who cares about people, animals and nature to contact and visit their Councillor to oppose this misguided law. When the matter is put to a vote, The Humane Society of Canada will be publishing a roll call of how each politician voted. (Update:City of Toronto Council Minutes July 2007)

Walking your dog is a valid recreational use of our parks and beaches. It has been our experience that in areas where people are out actively walking their dogs, they not only clean up after their animals, but often pick up litter and other debris left behind on the beaches and in parks. They also tend to discourage crime by acting as an informal neighbourhood watch.

The Dogs in Park Strategy (also known as Off-Leash Areas in City Parks, Greenspaces & Waterfront Areas) has been in the making for nearly three years since the Toronto City Council adopted our "Common Grounds" report at its meetings of 20th-22nd July 2004. Notwithstanding statements from politicians and civil servants that there has been an active public consultation process since that time nothing could be further from the truth. For nearly three years, along with many others, we have tried without any success to obtain information on the Dogs in Park Strategy from politicians and civil servants including Deputy Mayor Sandra Bussin, Ms. Sandy Straw (Manager or Parks, Toronto East York & Bylaw Parks Enforcement Unit) and Mr. Brendan Agnew Iler (Policy Advisor on Animals to the Mayor).

We have always supported training as a requirement of licensing because of the practical benefits to dogs, their families and the community. Likewise we have developed bite prevention information that politicians refuse to include in school curricula. In order to stop Toronto Animal Services from killing every second animal they get their hands on, we also advocate mandatory spaying and neutering to put an end to their pet slaughterhouses. City Council refused these and many more practical ideas and instead shut out every single animal protection organization in the city, including our own, whose staff once ran their animal control program and who have more than 40 years of experience here in Canada and in over 100 countries. Instead, at taxpayers' expense, the politicians flew in two animal people from Calgary as "surprise guests" who told them what they wanted to hear. Evidently, Councillors also need a lesson in geography. They are accountable to Toronto taxpayers, not to those who live in Calgary.

The Humane Society of Canada works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. They carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, funds non-invasive scientific research, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

A registered charity, The Humane Society of Canada depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. If you would like to support our campaign to protect animals and the earth, please make a donation. Because when it comes to fighting cruelty, we don’t give up. Ever.