November 9, 2005, VANCOUVER – Traffic reports indicate that November is one of the worst months of the year for motor vehicle accidents involving animals in Canada. According to The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) there are several reasons for the increased carnage on the roads at this time of year.
"November is mating season for many animals including deer, elk and moose," says Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director. "November is also when hunters are out in force and terrified animals can run great distances, often into roads. Some animals are also looking for food and shelter before winter arrives. All of this results in more wild animals venturing along and across roads and highways where they can be involved in a collision with a car or truck."
According to Michael O'Sullivan, HSC Executive Director, the numbers of animals who are killed on highways and roads is staggering.
"The US based Defenders of Wildlife estimates that at least one million wild animals are killed each day on America's highways and a study in British Columbia reported that at least 4,768 animals were killed in highway accidents during 2000," reports O'Sullivan.
While O'Sullivan would like people to be careful when driving, he also wants them to know that they have legal obligations should they be involved an accident with an animal.
"Drivers who are involved in a collision with an animal are required by law to stop and render emergency aid or assistance," says O'Sullivan. "While provincial law in Newfoundland and Labrador is the only law that specifically refers to render aid or assistance to an animal struck by a car, every other jurisdiction requires that if a driver is involved in an accident they must stop and provide assistance. When this involves a collision with an animal, the person could call the local humane society, wildlife rescue agency, police or fish and game agency. People who are not familiar with handling animals should exercise extreme caution if trying to handle an injured animal by themselves and they also need to take precautions that they are not hit by a passing car during the rescue."
As always, preventing accidents is always the preferred choice and the following tips are ways to minimize your chances of an animal/vehicle collision:
- Minimize the amount of time that you spend driving at night. Some animals are more active at night, when your own vision significantly reduced.
- Minimize the amount of time you spend driving during times of reduced visibility, such as during snow storms and in fog.
- Drive the speed limit, maybe even a little less in some situations, giving you more time to react if an animal wanders onto the road.
- Pay attention to animal crossing signs and areas where animals are abundant, such as wetlands and forests.
- Be particularly careful when reaching the crest of a hill and rounding a curve where visibility of the road ahead is reduced.
- When you see animals near or on the road slow down as often there are other animals nearby. Some animals become frightened and disoriented and will go back across the road they have just crossed.
CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280
[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.
A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]
The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We 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, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.
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