Summertime Roadtrip: Travelling with your pets

 

travelling

 

With summer officially here, many of us are planning to hit the wide, open road – pets included! Travelling with your pets requires a bit more planning than just loading Fido or Fluffy and heading out. CHS has put together some tips to make prepare you for a safe and smooth road trip. (more…)

Calgary Pet Store Facing Third Set of Charges for Animal Neglect

July 13th, 2015

Calgary, AB — Immediate Release

Riverfront Aquariums, located at 312 Meridian Rd N.E., has been charged under the Animal Protection Act of Alberta this week, marking the third set of charges laid since September 2014.

The most recent charges stem from a June 18 seizure of four animals in medical distress, including a basilisk (lizard), a tree frog and two day geckos. On May 7, an iguana and chameleon in medical distress were seized resulting in a second set of charges.

The string of animal cruelty charges began September 12, 2014 with the seizure of nine rabbits and a bearded dragon, all suffering from neglect.

“It is very concerning to see a business dedicated to the sale of animals charged once, but to see subsequent charges laid demonstrates either an inability or unwillingness to properly care for their animals. A business claiming to be an expert in the care of exotic animals, to me, has a higher expectation of care than a lay person. Store stock, just like a family pet, has the same legislated protection from deprival of basic needs. Whether medical care eats in to profit margins or not, it is a legal obligation” says Brad Nichols, Senior Manager, Animal Cruelty Investigations with Calgary Humane Society.

Wayne WOO, owner of Riverfront Aquariums, is due to appear in Provincial court August 6, August 24 and September 8 on the three sets of charges.

Riverfront Aquariums facing third set of charges.

Protection & Investigations Series Part 2: Medical Neglect

medical neglect

Medical neglect is one of the more complex issues investigated by Calgary Humane Society Peace Officers. CHS has seen a steady increase of cases in recent years: 115 in 2010, 139 in 2011, 149 in 2012 and 192 in 2014.

With a pet, comes the responsibility of providing veterinary care. Annual physical exams are recommended and are a great way to ensure your pet is in good health. Illnesses and other issues are more likely to be caught if you are taking your pet to a vet on a regular basis. (more…)

Protection & Investigations Series Part 1: Hot Cars


protections series 1

The Protection and Investigations Department responds to 1200-1500 concerns annually, dealing mainly with: Abuse, neglect, cruelty and abandonment.

To help the public have a better understanding of what cruelty and neglect is in Alberta and what exactly our Peace Officers are able to do under the law, we will be looking at the issues listed above this month.  (more…)

Safety for your furry friend: Festival Edition!

 

festival

Summer is here, CHS Supporters! Time for fun, festivals and enjoying some glorious weather.

Summer is an awesome time of year at the CHS shelter! Camps are in full swing and our volunteers are out in force making sure every dog, cat and other critter get the attention they need to thrive! Summer is a time for fun, but to ensure summer is fun for all family members there are sometimes some extra safety precautions to take. Today on the blog, we talk about pets and festivals!

Pet-Friendly Festivals

Most pet-friendly festivals are outdoors, but some may be partially indoors or entirely indoors. Likewise, many of the safety information in this article would also be great if you are bringing your pet to an outdoor or indoor marketplace, like a farmer’s market.

This brings us to safety tip #1: Double check that the festival or market you are attending is pet friendly! If not, you and your pet may be asked to leave. If the market or festival is not pet friendly then the best place to leave your pet is at home, not in the car. Make sure your pet is set up comfortably at home and spend some special time with them when you get home.

Festival Pet Safety: 10 basic tips!

  1. Consider avoiding large crowds. Lilac festival in Calgary is a great example of a VERY crowded outdoor festival. Unfortunately, each year we see dogs being walked through the middle of those large crowds and accidentally stepped on. Many dogs do not like crowded places, leading to a stressful festival experience for Fido. Keeping to less crowded areas is a great way to keep your pet safe and happy.
  1. Watch out for signs of stress. Dogs have a number of body language signals that indicate stress. Keep a keen eye out for: lip licking (when not eating), yawning (when not tired), sniffing (especially if there seems to be nothing to sniff), whale eye (you see the whites of your dog’s eyes), stiff body or facial muscles, dry panting (though this may also be heat) or a dog attempting to lean away or exit a situation. If your dog starts showing any of these signs, it’s time to find a quiet space!
  1. Watch out for stray snacks! Festivals mean food, and food + walking = a LOT of snacks on the ground! Keep an eagle eye out for dropped snacks as many, such as chocolate, could be dangerous for your pet.
  1. Watch the behaviour of others. Lots of people love dogs! Unfortunately, lots of people will run up to pet a dog without asking. Remember: if you choose to bring your dog to a festival or market you are 100% responsible to ensure that your dog stays safe and that your dog behaves safely around others. That includes watching for and intervening if people try to interact with your pet to ensure your pet is safe and comfortable.
  1. Please don’t let dogs visit! Most pets find meeting on leash to be more stressful than meeting off-leash. Festivals and markets also add in a large crowd, strange sights, new smells and plenty of noise. Consider setting up a play date at home or heading to the dog park instead of bringing your dog to a festival or market if socialization is your primary goal.
  1. Bring lots of water. Most dogs will get thirsty at a festival. Bring plenty of water to keep Fido hydrated throughout the day! Taking breaks in the shade to cool down will also help your dog stay happy and healthy.
  1. Keep it on leash! Unless you are in a designated off-leash area, Calgary bylaws state that your dog MUST be on a leash when off your property. Festivals and markets are no exception. Keep your pet on a leash attached to a sturdy collar or harness.
  1. Use the right leash. Because of the crowds and tight spaces, your pet’s leash and harness/collar combo must be enough that you can control their movement. A solid double-ended leash is a great choice for these situations! At Calgary Humane Society all of our dog walkers use double-ended leashes when walking our dogs. Wondering how a double-ended leash can help you to keep your dog safe and controlled while on walks? Drop by our Pet Gear Store to learn more!
  1. Brush up on obedience skills. Loose leash walking, sitting, staying and heeling are important skills for any dog that will be attending crowded places. Looking to help your dog learn these skills or need a bit of a refresher? Calgary Humane Society offers classes and private consultations to help Fido work on his manners.
  1. Watch out for heat and sun! Just like people, pets can wind up with sunburns. Light coloured dogs with sparse hair are especially vulnerable. In addition to sunburns, the sun can also heat up asphalt, making it dangerous to unprotected paws. If the mercury is going to soar on the day of the festival, consider leaving your pet at home to prevent sun or heat related injuries.

 

Is there a set of safety tips you would like to see? Let us know on our Facebook page! Until next time, CHS supporters, have a safe and happy summer!

Q & A with a Calgary Humane Peace Officer

Q and A

This month we are celebrating Calgary Humane Society’s Protection and Investigations department! We know that most of our supporters are aware of the great work they do, but today on the blog, we wanted to bring you a sneak peek behind the scenes. We caught up with Officer Nichols, Manager of Animal Cruelty Investigations to find out more about what it means to be a Calgary Humane Society Protection and Investigations officer.

Q: What brought you to join the Protection and Investigations team at CHS?

A: Coming out of College, I got a practicum position doing animal control for a rural municipality. I have always loved animals and thoroughly enjoyed working with them on a daily basis. As soon as I found out that there were specific positions protecting animals from abuse and neglect, it became a career goal which I attained in short order, joining the team as a field officer in 2005 and investigating thousands of files. By 2008 I had been promoted to Managing the internationally recognized humane enforcement unit. I am very proud of what my team has accomplished over the years.

Q: Once a call comes in and a peace officer responds, what does the investigation process look like?

A: There is no simple answer to that question. Every investigation is different. An investigation can be a 5 minute conversation or a 100+ man hour complex investigation. Generally, we will attend the address of concern, assess the validity of the report and decide what path to take; education, compliance or enforcement (seizure/charges). If we take the enforcement route, further investigation must be done to establish care and control, the commission of the offense and obtain an expert veterinary opinion. Once charges are laid, the Crown Prosecutors’ office takes over the prosecution.

Q: A big component of your work is education, how does a peace officer decide when to provide education and when to take enforcement action?

A: Our job is 90% education. The media sensationalizes the severe cases, but most cases only require education on proper animal care in order to gain compliance.

Q: What is the most worthwhile part of your job?

A: Removing animals from bad situations. We are their voice. That is a massive responsibility that I do not take lightly.

Q: What is the most valuable thing that the public can do to prevent animal cruelty, abuse or neglect?

A: If you witness animal abuse, neglect or abandonment, report it to us for investigation by calling 403-205-4455. If you are located outside of the city of Calgary, report it to the authority that is responsible for enforcing animal protection laws in your area – outside of Calgary and Edmonton the Alberta SPCA would be who you would call.

Q: If someone from the public was going to work towards changing animal cruelty laws either provincially or federally, what change would produce the most impact or be the most valuable?

A: First of all, educate yourself on the existing legislation, the existing penalties and how those existing laws and penalties are enforced. The majority of people we talk to complain about sentences, wanting the maximums (the largest penalty that can be assigned for breaking that law) increased. It is important to realize that while a maximum penalty exists within the legislation, during sentencing a judge can choose to assign a penalty that is lower than the maximum. Our cases never get sentenced anywhere near the current maximums, so increasing fine amounts would be of no effect. Once educated on the weak points of the legislation, you can write to your local MLA or MP.

Q: Are there any common mistakes that the public make that complicate an investigation or make it difficult to prosecute a case? What are these common mistakes?

A: The biggest mistake we see is people taking the animal, rather than letting our investigation run its course. It is legal when we seize animals, on probable grounds, because we have legislation to support this authority. It is theft and trespassing when you do it. Another common complication is complainants filing a concern but then refusing to testify when the alleged perpetrator is charged. We cannot obtain convictions without proving our cases beyond a reasonable doubt and it can become difficult to do that if witnesses refuse to testify.

Q: Is there a particular case that meant a lot to you or brought you a lot of satisfaction when it closed that you could briefly tell us about?

A: The cases that come to mind are those that I have bonded with the animal while in our custody. I have adopted a few case animals over the years, so I am biased to those. My German Shepherd was seized from a grow-operation that we investigated as an alleged abandonment. I also enjoy watching my team succeed and so the Willow Park Muzzling case investigated by Officer Gibson is a definite career highlight due to the complexity of the case, the various investigative strategies employed and the ultimate arrest of the accused.

Interested in learning more about the work our Peace Officer do? Check out our website.

 

Safety for your furry friend: Water Edition!

water safety

Happy summer, Calgary Humane Society Supporters! It’s time for some fun at the sun!

We have been loving the great summer weather here at the shelter! Summer also marks summer camp season at CHS, meaning that hundreds of animal-loving kids have been attending the shelter to learn more about what we do and how we help animals in Calgary. If you are coming to the shelter on a weekday, keep an eye out for these young learners and give them a wave!

Waves are also the topic of today’s blog (how’s that for a flawless transition!). That’s right, fun in the sun often means lakes, rivers and swimming pools! Today on the blog we bring you some water safety tips for pets. (more…)

Cat to Cat Introduction Tips!

cat intros

 

Good morning CHS Supporters!

Welcome to July. We hope you and your furry friends have found a way to keep cool in the summer heat so far. Frozen kongs are proving to be a favorite here at the shelter!

As many of you know, we are critically full of animals right now and a majority of those animals are cats. If you have been thinking about adding a feline to your life then now is a great time to do it! One of the questions we are hearing a lot around the shelter is about how to introduce a new cat to an existing resident cat in a household and that is what we are tackling on the blog today! (more…)

Myths and Realities of Reduced Fee Adoptions

myths and realities of reduced fee adoptionsHappy July, CHS Supporters!

First, if you haven’t seen all the buzz on our Facebook wall lately, please accept a huge THANK YOU from all of us at Calgary Humane Society for the AWESOME support of our emergency adoption event. Over 200 adoptions in a week? Unreal! We cannot wait to share some of the happy tails and updates with you as we get them.

This leads to a great question that came to us last week! A few of you wrote to ask us if reduced adoption fees lead to a larger number of animals returned. We thought this was such a great question we wanted to feature it on our blog! So today, we bring you some myths and realities of reduced fee adoptions: (more…)