Archive for February, 2011

Winnipeg looking to right some wrongs for pets

The City of Winnipeg, Manitoba is considering a ban on the sale of dogs in pet stores to stop the financial support of puppy-mills by local retail outlets. Check out this CTV article. (A special thanks to my friend Helen for sending me this information!)

Winnipeg has quite a few stores that sell animals, including puppies, so this law would go a long way to stopping the range of problems caused by retail sales of puppies and other animals.  Amongst many pet stores, a Petland chain store is also located in Winnipeg.  Petland is notorious for their sale of puppy-mill bred dogs (see: US Humane Society) and their connection with Hunte Corporation.  Furthermore, in 2008, the US Humane Society sued Petland and the Hunte Corporation for racketeering and misleading customers.  A quote from the lawsuit is below:

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Phoenix, alleges that Petland violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and numerous state consumer protection laws by misleading thousands of consumers across the country into believing that the puppies sold in Petland stores are healthy and come from high-quality breeders.  Read more…

In 2008, two former Petland franchisees sued Petland and the Hunte Corporation for their horrific business practices (see:  Animal Law Coalition).

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Phoenix, alleges that Petland violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and numerous state consumer protection laws by misleading thousands of consumers across the country into believing that the puppies sold in Petland stores are healthy and come from high-quality breeders.

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Don’t waste pet’s poo (May 6, 2009, Richmond News)

Dog Poo Composter at the Richmond Animal Shelter (from Careen’s Rescue Blog)

This article is one that I wrote nearly two years ago about ‘greening’ the Richmond Animal Shelter.  Since Spring will be coming up fast, I thought I’d put it on my blog to help people deal with their pet’s waste this season.
See original article in the Richmond News.

By Christie Lagally, Richmond News Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I was recently inspired by the Vancouver compost demonstration garden (see to install dog waste composters at the Richmond Animal Shelter.

Metro Vancouver recommends this composting method to dispose of canine waste so that it does not end up in our soon-to-close landfill in Delta. As you can imagine the 20 or so dogs at the Richmond Animal Shelter produce a lot of waste, so a few weekends ago, I gathered three old flat bottom trash cans, a shovel, some clippers and called BC One Call to find out where it was safe to dig to install the composters.

Once I got the OK from local utilities, I dug three large holes, cut off the bottom of each trash can, and inserted the cans as lining into the holes. A dog waste composter consists of placing the dog waste into a lined hole in the ground (with a cover) and regularly adding Septonic, a biodegradable septic system activator, along with some water and a few dry leaves or grass.

After a couple of weeks, during which I kept track of the waste being put in, the shelter composters were working perfectly. There was no smell from the dog waste because the Septonic breaks down the molecules that cause the smell.

The remaining material from a dog waste composter can’t be used on vegetable gardens because of the risk of bacterial contamination. (Note that it is safe to use on shrubs and flower beds.) However, at the Richmond Animal Shelter, we have an abundance of rabbit waste that is excellent on vegetable gardens, in orchards or in planters.

The cages of 40 rabbits at the shelter produce a lot of waste that is ideal for gardens, and rather than put it in the trash, RAPS has begun a program to distribute rabbit waste to local gardeners.

Simply bring a box or bin to the shelter to pick up the rabbit waste between 4 and 5 p.m. any day of the week. It’s free, it’s fantastic for your garden and you’ll be helping to keep organic waste out of our landfill.

There are even more eco-projects on the horizon for the shelter. On Saturday, June 20 (2009!), RAPS is holding an Animal Shelter Clean-Up Day and Volunteer BBQ to get the shelter ready for summer renovation projects.

Families, groups and individuals can participate in the Clean-up Day. Call RAPS at 604-275-2036 or see to sign up.

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Lake Worth, Florida bans the retail sale of dogs and cats! Yippee!!!

Buster Brown at Palm Beach Animal Care and Control

A town in Florida, Lake Worth, has become one of a growing number of US and Canadian cities to ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores thereby stopping the flow of animals from puppy and kitten mills to retail outlets.


Find all the details in the Palm Beach Post News.  However, here are a few quotes from that article.

It prohibits the sale of dogs or cats in Lake Worth unless the animal has been bred and reared on the property of the seller.

The ordinance also requires the posting of signs explaining where the dogs and cats were bred and reared. Buyers must be given a “certificate of source” telling where the dog or cat came from.

Goals include promoting the adoption of dogs and cats and reducing the sale of mill-bred animals that perpetuate the pet overpopulation problem, said Varela, a veterinarian.

Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control euthanized 3,686 dogs and 10,176 cats during the year that ended Sept. 30.

The ordinance does not prohibit licensed animal-rescue groups from selling or otherwise transferring ownership of dogs or cats.

Don Anthony, spokesman for the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, said Lake Worth’s pet-sale ordinance will be the first of its kind in Florida and one of a handful of similar ordinances nationwide.

“We’re encouraging them to take the step and become a shining example,” Anthony said.

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Chi Rescue educating the public on adoption


Chi pups (Photo by Linda Lanyon)


Here’s a great story about the rescue of Chester, an 18 month old Chihuahua.  See here.

Also check out the Chihuahua rescue website.

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“Dedicated to Dogs” fundraiser gala dinner — May 7, 2011

Don’t miss the opportunity to help A Better Life Dog Rescue & Sheriffs Rescue to do their important work to help dogs in distress.  Check out the Dedicated to Dogs fundraiser gala dinner on May 7th in Burnaby!

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Firefighters’ Club, 6515 Bonsor St., Burnaby (Metrotown ~ across from Hudson’s Bay)

6:00 pm cocktails and hors d’œuvres
7:00 pm 15-course smörgåsbord (buffet)

See the full invitation here:


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Antifreeze poisoning in the Terra Nova Park area

Please be extra cautious in Richmond and do not allow your dogs or other animals to drink from outdoor puddles or eat food on the ground.  There has been another report of a dog poisoning, this time in the Terra Nova dike area.  It’s believed the dog was poisoned from antifreeze in a puddle along the dike.  Last week, a dog was poisoned by eating dog food laced with rat poison  in Morris park.

Antifreeze is a highly toxic substance that tastes sweet to animals and is commonly used in car radiators.  See the BC SPCA site for more information.




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Chaining dogs is illegal

By Christie Lagally
Richmond News

See original article in the Richmond News.

February 11, 2011

In the wake of the recent destruction of 100 sled dogs in Whistler, it’s natural to reflect on what could have been done to prevent this horrific event.

Political voices from the sled dog community to animal welfare advocates say that we need better laws to protect animals (which we do) and that we need the sled dog industry to be responsible and take care of their own.

The man who shot those dogs claimed he had no other choice and that he asked for help from various agencies, and was a victim himself of a company that put profits first.

Of course this does not justify his actions or that of his company.

But the lesson I learned from this mass murder is that animal welfare has always been and will always be is a matter of diligence and cooperation in our communities. And diligence is what is needed right now here in Richmond.

My friend Helen Savkovic works at the front desk of the Richmond Animal Shelter and receives nearly every call to our local shelter regarding dogs, cats or other animals in distress or in need of new homes. But some of the hardest calls to receive are those about a dog chained in a yard, penned up or used as a guard dog for an industrial site with no real home or family.

Alone, frustrated and confused, these dogs suffer from exactly the problems you’d expect from unending isolation — aggression, anxiety and fear. Worse yet, chained dogs often suffer from the collar wearing all the hair off their necks and the collar can even imbed into the skin.

In Richmond, the first section of Animal Control Bylaw 7932 says that no animal, including a dog, can be “hitched, tied or fastened to a fixed object where a choke collar or chain forms part of the securing apparatus.”

Clearly, chaining or tethering a dog is against the law in Richmond, yet people still do this. And often it’s only the neighbours or passersby who see a dog living in these conditions.

“Chaining is illegal in Richmond although penning isn’t,” says Savkovic, “and both are harmful to the dog and to the people who have to witness this cruelty.”

Marion Hewko is the Canadian representative and contact for Dogs Deserve Better (DDB), an international organization dedicated to educating the public about the cruelty to chained and penned dogs.

In addition to advocacy work through local shelters, Hewko and other area representatives for the organization work to help owners understand how awful life is for a dog on a chain.

Hewko works to form a relationship with owners of dogs who are reported to be living life on a chain or always penned in a yard.

She says that so many people don’t realize the emotional and physical trauma they are causing their dog, and Dogs Deserve Better helps owners understand the need to bring the dog into the family and “break the chain” of isolation and abuse.

But a handful of representatives can’t address the issue of chained and penned dogs alone. DDB depends on neighbours, friends and family, or passersby to report a chained or penned dog in distress.

In Richmond, you can call the Richmond Animal Shelter at 604-275-2036. If you see an incident of a chained dog, write down as much information as you can about the address and conditions.

If you have a cellphone or camera, take a video to document the situation so that an animal control officer or a representative from DDB can get in contact with the owner and ultimately help the dog.

While we may not be able to help those sled dogs now that they are gone, we can certainly make every effort to help every dog in distress in Richmond. If you want to do more to help chained or penned dogs, visit the Dogs Deserve Better website at

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

© Copyright (c) Richmond News
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