Archive for January, 2011

COLORADO! Fort Collins geared up to ban retail sales of ALL animals


Well, I couldn’t be more proud of being from Colorado, because a student at CSU and animal advocate, Laure Molitor, has passed the first test to get a petition to ban the sale of animals in pet stores in Fort Collins, CO.

Check out this wonderful article!  The Coloradoan

Way to go!

Petitions for proposed ban on pet sales filed


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Maddie’s Fund in NY: Coalition looking towards the end of kill-sheltering

From:  Maddie’s Fund.

Blogger note:  This is an excellent article on how small rescues working together make a big difference and are getting major support.

Maddie’s Fund Gives New York City’s Shelters and Rescue Groups Additional $3 Million to Pull Dogs, Cats from City Shelters

January 17, 2011:

We’re heartened by a groundswell of public interest in the plight of shelter animals. Folks no longer accept at face value that the killing of our best friends on four legs is inevitable, and many are actively getting engaged in changing the fate of shelter animals in their own communities.

With so many economic challenges facing local governments, private shelters, rescue groups and individuals in these tough times, animal lovers sometimes ask Maddie’s Fund® to step in and directly use our resources to fix a problem at their municipal shelter, especially if we’re funding a project in their community.

We do this by investing in community collaborations and growing the infrastructure of the not-for-profit sector. While this is not the only way to save lives, it’s our belief that coalitions provide the best safety net for animals over time by creating sustainable, accountable systems. This method strengthens all of the partners and helps the weaker get strong through common purpose and cooperation. If a municipal agency gets hit by a cut in funding, or if the economy takes the legs out from under a private humane society, a strong coalition can pick up the slack and provide safe haven for animals in peril.

As part of our commitment to this approach, Maddie’s Fund has just approved an additional $3 million for a coalition of 111 rescue groups and shelters in New York City. Sixty percent of this money will go directly to our partner rescue groups to take more than 12,000 animals out of the city’s Animal Care & Control (AC&C) shelters and find them loving homes. With New York City’s municipal shelters reeling from a $1.5 million cut in the budget, the assistance of 111 AC&C coalition partners is more critical now than ever before.

There are many ways to save lives; this is ours. We believe that all of us can all work towards reaching the no-kill goal in our own way, and show by our daily actions that we’re committed to making the world a better place for shelter animals.

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Richmond News letter: City, tighten leash on bylaws

An excellent letter to the editor on the current state of government policy on animal issues in Richmond, BC.

Richmond News January 26, 2011

The Editor,

Re: “Animal shelter faces anxious days ahead,” News, Jan. 21:

Alan Campbell’s latest article about the City of Richmond giving RAPS the run-around on its contract renewal is yet more evidence of the problem that has existed in Richmond for the past 15 years.

The bylaws department in this city is in need of a massive overhaul.

It can be seen in the petition to B.C. Supreme Court Mr. Ryan Lake recently announced in the News (Jan. 5, Letters, “Maybe you can fight city hall”) and his frequent observations of bylaw department inadequacies (Richmond News, July 31, 2009; Sept. 23, 2009; Oct. 23, 2009; March 12, 2010).

It can be seen in the minutes of the most recent city council meeting (Jan. 10), in which my wife and others were berated by council for suggesting that the current breed-specific bylaws were dysfunctional.

Finally, it can be seen in the fact that twice in the past two days, my wife and I were approached by growling, snarling, off-leash dogs in the City of Richmond.

My inspection of the animal control bylaw reveals that in both if these instances, there were no fewer than three sections of the bylaw violated simultaneously, which should have resulted in the dogs being impounded at the owners’ expense.

Where is the bylaw enforcement in this city?

Why does it work so poorly?

Until these questions are addressed, no progress on the problems I mentioned can be made.

The city should take as its incentive the realization that if everyone who had ever been traumatized by an aggressive dog in Richmond got together, the resulting class action could be very hard to ignore.

Eric Lagally


Read more:

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Wildlife management and protection in Africa explores new boundries

This is a fascinating article on wild dog conservation in Botswana, and how understanding the animals can lead to a very unique solution.

See: The Paul Allen Family Foundation

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Youtube video of the Richmond Animal Shelter No-kill Anniversary

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Warning to dog owners in Richmond: Poisoning at Morris Park

Please be aware that Richmond Police have reported an incident of dog poisoning in a Richmond park.  Here are the details provided by the Richmond Animal Protection Society:

BEWARE:  There has been a case reported of dog food being laced with rat poison at MORRIS PARK in Richmond.  Morris park is located between Granville Ave. and Blundell Rd as well as No. 1 Rd. and Railway.  Morris park is surrounded by Cabot Dr., Baffin Dr. Parry St. and Shackleton Dr.

It may not be the only park, so PLEASE keep your eyes open and watch your pets carefully.  If your dog is poisoned at a park, please call Richmond Police with as much information as possible.

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Best editorial ever! Young volunteer has her say on animal shelter contract

Check out this wonderful letter to the editor about the Richmond Animal Shelter contract and the sad, prolonged process of trying to find next year’s animal shelter contractor without consideration for the community that has supported RAPS.  This young lady has her priorities straight!  Well done!

See the Richmond News article here.

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Updates from the field: Efforts to end retail animal sales


Dogs for adoption at SCARS

A special thanks to Lori at Second Chance Animal Rescue (SCARS)  for sending me this great news:


Edmonton Humane Society Newsletter:  Local Pet Store to Help Target Pet Overpopulation Crisis

In an unprecedented move, Paradise Pet Centre in St. Albert will now be partnering with the Edmonton Humane Society and other pet rescue groups to find homes for dogs and cats exclusively through adoption in their store.

After 30 years, the family-run store has agreed to stop selling dogs, puppies, cats and kittens in hopes of encouraging people to choose adoption instead of purchasing an animal from a pet store or on-line advertisements. “Pet overpopulation is a huge problem and we want to be part of the solution,” says store owner Lorne Terrault (pictured left).  The EHS encourages pet owners in our community to support Paradise Pet Centre in making such a huge difference to help homeless animals in our community.

Check out Second Chance Animal Rescue at

Also more great news out of Alberta, where advocates in Calgary are gearing up for a big push to stop retail animal sales.  Check out Back Alley Soap Box — a wonderful blog by a wonderful writer — which talks about the year-to-date efforts in Calgary.  Click here.

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Little shelter has a heart

By Christie Lagally, Special to the Richmond News
January 12, 2011

See original Richmond News article here.

For me it was one of those moments where time stops.  Dave Labatte, co-founder of the Turtle Gardens Rescue Society, was comforting and reassuring Chevy the dog for the last time.  Chevy and Dave had just arrived at a horse stable in Delta along with Dave’s friend Brian and 14 other puppies and dogs brought from the rescue society’s remote home — a 17 hour car drive away.  Dave and Brian’s job was to bring these homeless dogs to their new adoptive and foster homes in cities across Metro Vancouver and the islands.   Chevy went to her forever home in Vancouver that very morning after saying goodbye to her rescuer, Dave.

Turtle Gardens is known as the ‘Little Shelter with Heart.’  Located in Topley, BC, roughly 1000 km north of Richmond and 270 km west of Prince George, this little shelter takes in all the stray and homeless dogs for a 400 km radius in the Northern BC country.  Yvette and Dave Labatte, known affectionately as Mama Yvette and Papa Dave, run this no-kill animal shelter out of their humble home with typically 35 dogs in residence at all times.  Surrounded by first nation reservations and wild country, the Labattes have an agreement with local authorities to take the enormous number of stray dogs in the area during the frequent round-ups instead of having the authorities shoot the tame dogs.  This is where Chevy came from.

When Dave and Brian arrived at the Silverwood Stables in Delta on Saturday morning, a team of volunteers and new and potential adopters helped unload the 15 dogs.  Five little dachshund/cockapoo puppies couldn’t wait to stretch their 10-week-old legs and sound the alarm that it was time to play.  Some of the more rambunctious adult dogs were put in the stable exercise pen, where I got to play ball with Riley the 2-year-old corgi-golden retriever cross and all her doggie friends.    Melanie Clay-Smith and her family arrived in short-order to take Riley home.  Like most Turtle Garden adoptions, the Clay-Smith family applied for adoption online, and Riley seemed to fit in well with this energetic Richmond family.

But not all the dogs were going to their forever homes.  Native Richmond resident Lisa Baker has fostered 14 dogs on their journey to a forever home.  On Saturday Baker met Kibble, her next foster dog from Turtle Gardens.  Kibble, a sweet, shy, dog-friendly and very fluffy, dark-haired dog, wasn’t so sure about the abrupt change in location.  Like Chevy, Kibble needed some extra assurance and Baker had plenty of reassurance to give.  Baker said her work with Turtle Garden began when she adopted a dog that didn’t quite work at her apartment home, and she found that she could be a better ‘aunt’ to the dogs than a ‘mother’.  Sweet Kibble will stay with Baker until the right home is found.

After this morning’s doggie delivery, Dalia Tauber and her husband received their foster dog, Renata, a shaggy 4-month-old shepherd cross.  At Tauber’s home, Renata’s arrival to the Richmond city life will be ushered in by two gentle dogs in residence who act as reassuring hosts to new foster dogs.  Under Tauber’s tutelage, Renata has a bright future as a friendly, happy dog – a long way from her sad beginnings on the run.

With no spay or neuter laws back in Topley, BC and a cultural aversion to the procedure in the region, dog populations grow quickly and the Labattes frequently find puppies found nearly frozen in the snow.  Beginning in 1988, this couple dedicated their life to saving homeless, abandoned dogs from freezing, starvation and cruelty.  In the 20 or so years the shelter has been in operation, the Labattes have taken in more than 250 dogs per year and placed around 5000 dogs in adoptive homes all over BC and North America.  But in that time, they have also grown a close-knit group of rescuers who help to make sure that Mama and Papa Labatte have the support they need in their isolated surroundings.   Since nearly all of the dog adoptions are initiated via the internet and far outside of Topley, Turtle Gardens shares it the adopter screening and dog fostering tasks with dedicated volunteers like Baker and Tauber.

The Labatte’s need foster homes to help increase adoptions in the lower mainland and help the dogs start a new life with all the safety and love they deserve.  If you feel you can offer a foster home to one of Turtle Garden’s special dogs, contact them online at  Donations are needed to spay/neuter the dogs, provide veterinary care and pay for transportation.  And, of course, if you are looking for a dog to adopt, don’t forget to check with Turtle Gardens as you look around for just the right new family member.

Christie Lagally is a volunteer pet columnist and founder of the Animal Welfare Advocacy Coalition. View her blog at

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Special delivery from Turtle Gardens

This morning I met Dave and Brian from the Turtle Garden’s Rescue Society along their trip to deliver adopted and foster dogs to homes in the Vancouver area and the Island. There are lots of special stories to tell.  Check out:

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