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Please help by writing a letter:  If you share the views expressed on this website and would like to help by sending a letter, please click on the associated alert and follow instructions. 

We will post your published letters:  Due to the volume of letters received on the various issues we have decided to post only those published in local newspapers, magazines etc.  But we are interested in all of your letters whether published or not so please email us a copy. Thank you and keep on writing!


Letters which have accompanied the Wildlife Death Notices sent to the government.

Click here for wildlife death notice letters


Orphaned animals need aid

The Ottawa Citizen
June 15, 2005

Re: Orphaned fawn puts officer in dilemma, June 10 - Click to read story.

I sympathized with police Const. Randy Wagner's dilemma in determining what to do with an orphaned fawn.

After recently witnessing the horrible distress of a baby raccoon whose mother and brother were killed, I was appalled to discover that there is no legal humane means of helping orphaned wild animals in this province.

There is no longer an Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Care Centre to take in animals such as the orphaned raccoon. And we were informed, as was Const. Wagner, that it is illegal to rehabilitate a wild animal on one's own. Those who attempt to provide such a service risk being fined up to $12,000. The City of Ottawa's and the Ottawa Humane Society's best advice to us was that the animal could be euthanized or left to die from starvation or a more unnatural fate, like that which took the raccoon's mother and sibling.

The adage of "let nature take its course" may apply in the wild, but as we increasingly encroach upon, and eliminate, the natural habitats of animals, the question of nature must give way to a question of ethics. The options given to citizens who find themselves in the presence of orphaned or otherwise suffering young animals are unacceptable ethically. To compound the matter, the provincial government's failure to provide an acceptable method of rehabilitating such animals puts undue burdens on citizens born with hearts.

Maria Ford,
Vanier

© The Ottawa Citizen 2005


Proposed rules makes helping wild animals harder

The Record (Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo)
February 9, 2005

I would like to respond to the Jan. 28 article, Proposed Rules Make Helping Wild Animals Harder.

As the Executive Director of the Cambridge and District Humane Society, an organization who strongly relies upon and encourages volunteer involvement and foster parenting, Bonnie Deekon should know the importance of, and promote the use of, volunteers to rehabilitate animals, whether domestic or wild.

Foster parents are first trained and educated by an Authorized Wildlife Custodian who makes the educated decision as to whether a person is able to fulfil the necessary duties a foster parent must successfully complete to ensure the best outcome for the animal.  Foster parents are able to contact their supervising AWC as well as other AWCs at any moment of the day if they feel assistance is needed.  The supervising AWC also remains in frequent contact with the individual and it is not uncommon for the AWC to visit the foster home, examining the animal(s) progress.

Education is only a beneficial tool and I am not against formal courses for anyone taking care of an animal.  To suggest that one needs to be educated so that they do not fall asleep is a low and ridiculous statement.

Wildlife rehabilitators and the humane society have a same goal: to offer animals with unfortunate beginnings a second chance.  Should we not be able to apply the same source of help, namely VOUNTEERS, when trying to meet our goals successfully? I think so!

Sheri Lapienes
Wildlife Rehabilitation Network
Volunteer Wildlife Custodian


Rabies research funding challenged:

McGuinty should scavenge funds from his own programs

The Ottawa Citizen
Saturday, February 19, 2005

Re: Unfair immigration subsides McGuinty's latest complaint, Feb. 13.

In an effort to find badly needed dollars for our province, it appears Premier Dalton McGuinty is hard at work trying to extract funds from the federal government, first with equalization payments and now with immigration subsidies.

Is this his sole plan to deal with the economic problems facing our province -- get money from the feds? He would like us to think all our woes can be attributed to a tight-fisted federal government and deflect accountability for his own government's management practices. Perhaps in his scavenger hunt for funds, he should look a little closer to home for the goods.

Maybe he could start with a review of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources' rabies program. It would seem a good place to start since in opposition he promised such a review if elected; the program has been controversial partly because the funding it receives is considered by many to be grossly disproportionate to the low risk of exposure to this disease and the program is already costing Ontario taxpayers millions of dollars each year and continues to grow with construction set to begin soon of a building at Trent University which will house the MNR's rabies research and development unit. And this comes at a time when there are more urgent threats to both our health and economy such as the widely anticipated flu pandemic which we are nowhere near to being prepared for.

If Mr. McGuinty can get money from the federal government, more power to him but he should clean up his own house first.

Kathy Logan,
Ottawa

© The Ottawa Citizen 2005


Rabies under control

The Record (Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo)
Section: OPINION
February 10, 2005

Karen Kawawada did an excellent job in presenting an overview of the wildlife rehabilitation crisis in Ontario in her Jan. 28 story, Proposed Rules Make Helping Wild Animals Harder. The issue is of real concern to communities across the province, given the imminent loss of help for wildlife because of the Ministry of Natural Resources proposed regulations.

It was interesting to learn in the article that "no humans have died of rabies in Ontario since 1967." While the ministry would like to take credit for this based on the multi-millions of dollars it spends annually on rabies research, testing and control, it is primarily pet owners who can take the real credit.
Pet vaccinations have virtually eliminated rabies as a risk in North America.
Furthermore, public education and the availability of post- exposure vaccination if a person gets bitten by a raccoon or skunk have helped.

In referring to this low risk, ministry spokeswoman, Jolanta Kowalski, states "but some 2,000 people a year need life-saving post-exposure treatment."
However, a study on Postexposure Treatment and Animal Rabies, Ontario 1958-2000, conducted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Health showed the number of post-exposure treatments in 1997-2000 at around 1,000 a year. The study also highlighted the fact that even this number is disproportionately high given the dramatic decline in cases of animal rabies, leading investigators to believe that media attention and fear-mongering are responsible for people seeking unnecessary treatment.

Donna DuBreuil, president
Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre
Ottawa


Posted Feb. 12, 2005

Debbie Lawes response to wildlife rehab EBR posting

January 24, 2005  

Dear Premier McGuinty   

Re: EBR Registry Number PB04E6022  

Are you aware that your government’s Ministry of Natural Resources has proposed draconian regulations that will turn people who care for injured and orphaned baby animals into criminals?

My family and I have been fortunate on three separate occasions to care for orphaned baby squirrels that had been rescued by caring local residents and taking to the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre for care, rehabilitation and eventual release.

The Centre, like all authorized wildlife custodians, depends on foster volunteers to help care for thousands of animals found injured or alone in our communities. As a foster volunteer, I received very detailed instructions on how to feed and care for these small animals. To teach them species-specific skills and behaviours, orphans were bundled into new family units, and later released into a specially built nesting box located on my property, where these animals continued to receive food until learning how to forage on their own.

The experience I just described to you will no longer – in the eyes of your Ministry – be one of a caring citizen. Rather, I will be branded a criminal, subjects to fines and possibly even imprisonment from your government.

This is unacceptable and is the responsibility of your government to stop what is quickly emerging as the single greatest threat to wildlife rehabilitation in Ontario.

Wildlife rehabilitation is already in a state of crisis in Ontario, as a result of the MNR and the failure of you and other Liberal MPPs to honour commitments made during the last election to improve the climate for rehabilitation in Ontario. Instead, the opposite has happened.

The proposed care and release regulations (1km and 5km restrictions) will mean that single orphans will have to be raised alone in violation of international and humane standards and, after months of care, put back into busy and inappropriate areas – effectively eliminating the critical final phase of wildlife rehabilitation, since many species require a “soft” release with transitional care provided at the release site – and eliminating any chance of survival. The proposed elimination of foster families will mean drastically-reduced help for wildlife at a time when development and loss of habitat is creating more demand. Furthermore, the reporting and monitoring conditions the MNR would impose on wildlife rehabilitators demonstrate its negative bias and disrespect for rehabilitators who volunteer their time and offer a free and much valued service to communities all over Ontario.

Ontario must adopt regulations governing wildlife rehabilitation care and release standards that prevail throughout North America: orphaned wildlife should be raised with others of their own species, to learn proper conspecific behaviours, and the group should then be released together in appropriate natural areas, generally within the city or county of origin. Otherwise, wildlife rehabilitators cannot provide an ethical, responsible service, and you will rightfully continue to receive strong criticism from hundreds of members of the public, from all walks of life, left without help each and every wildlife birthing season.

An Abuse of the EBR Process and A Broken Promise by your Government: Your government, while in Opposition, was strongly critical of the Ministry’s wildlife rehabilitation regulations, having presented petitions from over 9,000 residents in 260 communities demanding change. You promised, if elected, that you “would review these regulations, working with rehabilitators, to develop a new and improved working relationship between government and community volunteers”.  Instead, these current proposals were quietly posted just ten days before Christmas with little time for public input, without any consultation with the majority of wildlife rehabilitators in the province and with parliament conveniently recessed until March 2005 so there would be little political opposition to this highly contentious issue.

I fully expect the EBR process will once again be abused by MNR and that is why I am directing my comments to you. In July 2002, the Ministry posted changes to wildlife rehabilitation regulations on the basis of intentionally misrepresented information while fabricating a non-existent “emergency” to deny public input. The current EBR posting states wildlife rehabilitators have been consulted when, in fact, they certainly have not.

The public is no longer fooled with respect to the MNR agenda. Wildlife rehabilitation and its promotion of respect and understanding for wildlife undermines the fear-mongering the Ministry needs to sustain a hugely expensive and unwarranted rabies budget for the lowest public health risk in North America.  As a taxpayer, I am appalled that so much funding is being diverted from badly-needed programs to this boondoggle.

I urge you to withdraw the EBR posting, to consult with the majority of wildlife rehabilitators in Ontario and to ensure that this country’s largest province is not the only jurisdiction in North America without any progressive help for wildlife.

Sincerely,

Debbie Lawes
Ottawa, Ontario


Posted Feb. 12, 2005

Government hypocrisy leaves wildlife with no help

Jim Watson 
MPP, Ottawa West - Nepean
201-2249 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, ON K2B 7E9

Dear Mr. Watson:

I am sending the attached letter regarding wildlife rehabilitation in Ontario because I am concerned not only for the welfare of wildlife but also for the negative impact that current regulations have had on the City of Ottawa. Between the Humane Society, the Wild Bird Care Centre & the Ottawa Carleton Wildlife Centre, our city once had a comprehensive response for residents seeking assistance for all types of animals we encounter. Thanks to the regressive policies of the Ministry of Natural Resources with respect to wildlife rehabilitation, we have lost a large part of this response with the closure of the OCWC. While it was operating, the OCWC took thousands of calls from residents and provided care for many animals each year proving that there was a very real demand for this type of service. That demand still exists but the expectation for help has simply been downloaded to others. This has created problems for the many individuals seeking assistance as well as those they now turn to for help - our humane society and our veterinarians. These groups are unable to provide assistance for wildlife and should not be expected to. These groups are dedicated to saving lives but have been placed in the appalling position of having to euthanize healthy animals. As well, the city has been left to field calls from residents looking for help and is well aware of the need for a return of a volunteer wildlife service. No doubt, this is why city council agreed last summer to urge the OMNR to adopt a more humane and progressive approach to the control of raccoon rabies.

Unfortunately, a volunteer wildlife service can not be restored to our residents unless there is change to the regulations governing wildlife rehabilitation - change that your government promised but have yet to affect. I am extremely disappointed with the hypocrisy your government has shown with respect to this issue. While in opposition, you were critical of the MNR policies and presented petitions with over 9000 signatures to the former government calling for change. However, now that in power, you have not only failed to correct the situation but are actively taking steps which will make it worse.

You cared about my vote yesterday when you made your promises and will likely care about it again in the future. If you hope to secure it, your current performance with respect to wildlife rehabilitation is not the way. Unlike some issues facing our province which present a more daunting challenge, a return to progressive policies related to wildlife rehabilitation should not be a difficult task. Consequently, I think this issue is a good indicator of your governments ability and integrity to make good on it's promises. I expect your government to negotiate an acceptable solution soon and will be watching with interest to see how your government responds in this matter.

Sincerely,
Kathy Logan
Ottawa, Ontario


More veterinarians speak out ...

February 8, 2005

Premier Dalton McGuinty
1795 Kilborn Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1H 6N1

Dear Premier McGuinty

I am writing to you as a veterinarian in private practice in Ottawa and a resident in your riding and as Vice-President of the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre, with regards to the proposed changes to be made to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Program, specifically EBR Registry Number PB04E6022.  The wildlife rehabilitation crisis created by the Ministry of Natural Resources has been made worse by the new regulations.  My fear is that the new Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) will eliminate what little help is left for wildlife in Ontario.

Veterinarians have worked closely with the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre for the past 15 years because it provides, by far, the safest and best outcome for the public and for wildlife.  I practiced as a veterinarian in Ottawa for 10 years before the OCWC came into existence and I remember what a terrible situation we had then and I don’t understand why we are returning to that state again.

When the public finds injured or orphaned wildlife they only have two options: either leave them where they find them or else have them euthanized at their expense.  A third and illegal option which many concerned residents feel is the only real alternative is to care for these animals themselves.  As a veterinarian familiar with wildlife, I do not believe that it is appropriate for the public to be handling wild animals.  Animal bites along with a range of parasitic diseases that can be contracted by an unknowledgeable and unprotected public are the concern.

With no wildlife rehabilitation, people who find wildlife will naturally call a veterinarian with the expectation that they should be able to help.  Most veterinarians don’t have the expertise to deal with wildlife problems and most will not want to euthanize healthy wild animals.  Veterinarians are animal lovers so are not in the business to euthanize healthy animals.  If a veterinarian doesn’t have the knowledge to help or doesn’t want to euthanize a healthy animal or entire litter of healthy animals, it will certainly appear that they don’t care – and that isn’t true.

The current Ministry of Natural Resources regulations must be changed to bring back responsible care for the wild animals who desperately need our help, as well as reflect the humane response that the public, in our experience, demand.

Sincerely,


Dan Rodgers DVM
Alta Vista Animal Hospital
2616 Bank St.
Ottawa, Ont., K1T 1M9

c.c. Hon. David Ramsay
      Philip McNeely, Lib. MPP (Ottawa Orleans)
      Madeleine Meilleur, Lib. MPP (Ottawa Vanier)
      Jim Watson, Lib. MPP (Ottawa West Nepean)
      John Baird, Con. MPP (Nepean Carleton)


Veterinarians appalled at MNR proposals that will eliminate help for wildlife in Ontario

January 24, 2005

To Whom It May Concern:

I am a practicing veterinarian in St. Thomas, Ontario and am writing in regards to the proposed changes to be made to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Program, specifically EBR Registry Number PB04E6022.

The proposed title of “Enhanced” Wildlife Rehabilitation Program is a cruel joke! It is obvious that the intent of the MNR is not to enhance but to almost eliminate wildlife rehabilitation in Ontario if these changes are enacted.  I have been aware for some time of the MNR’s attitude of disapproval towards wildlife rehabilitation in general, but I assure you they are completely out of step with public opinion on this issue.

My understanding of their “logic” in this move is two fold. First, they maintain that nature should be left alone. Injured, sick or orphaned wildlife should die. They claim it is not “natural” for a human to save a wild animal, raise it and release it later. I see several fallacies with this approach. We humans have inexorably changed nature already, destroying habitat, removing top predators, building roads with busy traffic, etc. The small sliver of wilderness still remaining in Ontario deserves our respect. We owe the wild creatures as much help as we can give them. If we teach our children to kill or leave to die a wild animal that could be helped and then returned to nature, what are we teaching them? Surely not compassion, surely not a deep and abiding respect for our environment.

No, we are teaching them to not care, that we are separate from nature, that the wild things are separate from us and their suffering should be ignored. This hands off approach to nature damages our humanity as much as it damages the wildlife.

The great hypocrisy of the MNR is that they get much of their funding from hunting and fishing licenses. Hunting and fishing they conveniently consider as not disturbing nature, but somehow rescuing a baby skunk will dangerously upset the natural balance. This is considered so dangerous that there is a $100,000.00 fine if you are caught.

The second major argument the NMR puts forward as a reason for the proposed changes to the wildlife rehab regulations is the need to control diseases, especially rabies. Controlling the spread of disease is a noble pursuit, but these new regulations are not based on sound scientific and practical facts. International standards call for orphans to be raised with conspecifics to learn proper behavior and to be released as a group. The proposed regulations would have single orphans raised and released separately, almost ensuring their inability to survive.

The proposed rules about how far away from their capture location rehabilitated wildlife can be cared for and eventually released are absurdly limited and not at all conforming to international standards or rational science. The proposed regulations state that if a rabies vector species in need of help is found more than 50km away from a licensed Rehabilitation center, it must be killed. If these new regulations take effect the number of available rehabbers will drop from the current approximately 100 in Ontario to perhaps only half a dozen, due to the overly strict physical plant requirements. This would leave almost all of Ontario’s vast geography without a licensed center within the required 50km, resulting in mandatory euthanasia of all sick, injured or orphaned rabies vector species in those areas.

The proposed requirements for releasing rehabilitated animals state that rabies vector species (raccoons, skunks etc.) must be released within 1km of where they were found, even if that is in the middle of a city or some other unsuitable site. Accepted international standards allow animals to be released in an appropriate environment as close to the  capture location as possible.

When the kindly average citizen is presented with only two legal choices of killing sick, injured or orphaned wildlife or leaving them to die, most will in good conscience disobey the law and raise the animal secretly themselves. The MNR claims to want to “professionalize” wildlife rehab, but the opposite will happen. The entire process will go underground, with no supervision at all. This will definitely increase the risk of spreading zoonoses, not to mention well meaning but inappropriate diet and rearing environments. The current system of licensed wildlife custodians and their network of supervised foster caregivers works fairly well and should be allowed to continue. There is no reason that wildlife cannot be safely and successfully raised in small, low-tech settings. Expensive (and therefore rare) large dedicated facilities are not necessarily  better than someone’s well maintained garage or shed.

From my decades of working with the public as a veterinarian in Ontario, I know that the vast majority of the people in our province would be vehemently opposed to these new regulations. In fact, most people seem to think that there is some government organization that cares for sick and orphaned wildlife. They are surprised when I tell them it is all done by volunteers, without any government money do it all.

Last year, I had a teacher bring to me a baby squirrel that her grade 3 classroom had seen get knocked out of its nest by a storm. It had a concussion and was not able to walk properly and so could not be returned to the nest. Our local official wildlife rehabber was notified and she took the baby squirrel to one of her network of foster caregivers who raised it in a cage with an orphaned squirrel its own age. He recovered fully in time and was released near the school. The teacher stayed in touch with the foster caregiver and the school children sent the squirrel get well cards. If these proposed regulatory changes had been in place at that time, I would have had to kill that baby squirrel. The public would be rightly outraged in such a situation, as would I.

I sincerely hope that common sense will prevail and these new regulations are not  passed.

Sincerely,

Mary Wester Yett, DVM
St. Thomas, Ontario.

Click here to view original letter in Word format


Letter from Liona Boyd, CM, world renowned classical guitarist

Please note the following is a letter by world renowned guitarist Liona Boyd, recipient of the Order of Canada, Order of Ontario and Vanier Award.

Miss Boyd, a long time animal activist is lending her support to Ontario's rehabilitators in their efforts to have current Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources wildlife rehabilitation proposals changed to reflect international standards.

A biography of Miss Boyd's accomplishments can be found at www.lionaboyd.com

Click here to view Ms. Boyd's scanned fax with photo (238K PDF)

January 17, 2005
Premier Dalton McGuinty
Government of Ontario
Room 281, Main Legislative Building
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M7A 1A4  

Dear Premier McGuinty:  

Re: Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR)
Registry Number PB04E6022  

Although I no longer dwell in Ontario, I have not lost touch with my home and still return to visit and perform.  

I have long been an advocate of protecting all animals and consequently have learned of the Ministry of Natural Resources, currant wildlife proposals.  

I understand, Mr. McGuinty that in spite of your written promise to address the wildlife rehabilitation crisis created by the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry has quietly posted new regulations that will, in fact, make the current crisis even worse and eliminate what little help is left for wildlife in Ontario.  

Ontario must adopt the regulations governing wildlife rehabilitation care and release standards that prevail throughout North America, such as those used by the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council [IWRA] and the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association.

Releasing orphaned wildlife within one kilometer of the site they were found is virtually impossible, especially in urban situations.  The standards set by IWRC and NWRA of 10 miles if the site is appropriate to the well being of the animal is much more realistic.  

Orphaned wildlife should be raised with others of their own species, to learn proper conspecific behaviours, and the group should then be released together in appropriate natural areas.  

The removal of the foster parents ability of rehabilitating orphaned wildlife in their homes, under the supervision of an Authorized Wildlife Custodian, will cause a major shortage of rehabilitators which will result in the needless death of hundreds perhaps thousands of animals. This is unconscionable.  

The MNR proposals will cause the too many volunteer wildlife rehabilitators in Ontario to be unable to provide their free service to the public and will leave thousands of members of the public with no avenue to turn to when faced with injured or orphaned wildlife questions or problems.  

On behalf of Ontario's wildlife and their rehabilitators I ask that you change your proposals to emulate those of the IWRC and NWRA.  

Sincerely,  

Liona Boyd, CM. LLD  

c.c.
David Ramsay, Minister of Natural Resources   E-mail: dramsay.mpp@liberal.ola.org
John Baird, Opposition House Leader  E-mail: mailbox@johnbaird.com
Liz White, Ontario Wildlife Coalition     E-mail: liz@animalalliance.ca


Letter from MNR Conservation Officer

The Honourable Dalton McGuinty
Premier of Ontario
Room 281 Main Legislative Building, Queens Park
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1A4 

January 14, 2005

Dear Honourable McGuinty,

I would like to introduce myself as a Conservation Officer who retired from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in 2001 with 29 years experience. Those 29 years included experience in both wildlife enforcement and wildlife management. I also have another 2 years experience as an MNR fisheries biologist, 2 years as a Deputy Conservation Officer and 4 years as a research assistant in small mammal ecology with the University of Windsor.

I have been involved with wildlife rehabilitation since the mid1960’s and licensed by the MNR in 2003. As you can see I have been both professionally and personally involved in the management of Ontario’s wildlife for over half a century.

With this in mind I would like to state that as a member of the Volunteer Wildlife Custodians I cannot agree with the ‘ Proposed Changes to Wildlife CustodianProgram’, as they now stand. Some of my concerns are, I do not believe that Rabies Vector and Non- Rabies Vector species should be incorporated under the same regulations, and the distances suggested for the intake and release of theses animals is unsatisfactory and should be increased.

The Ministry of Natural Resources has historically, when drafting or changing regulations that significantly impacts large numbers of resource users and/ or clients meet with them during the initial drafting process. To my knowledge this has not happened. Both I and members of the Volunteer Wildlife Custodians were never contacted during this process. Just two days before Christmas I received notification by mail regarding the draft of the changes and given until January 29, 2005 to respond. Your staff knew right well that I and other wildlife rehabilitator’s time would be taken up by the seasons festivities.

I think it is obvious to many that those within the Ministry that are involved in dealing with Wildlife Custodians have a different philosophical outlook and have very little interest in not only dealing with us but not taking our views and ideas seriously. In the thirty plus years with the Ministry, I never once heard a good word for all the work the wildlife rehabilitators have done, or for that matter any individual that had an interest in non-game species. They were always looked upon with distain yet realistically over the years wildlife rehabilitators have played a very significant and silent part in the MNR’s public relations program. Without these dedicated individuals who ask for no compensation for all the work that they do the MNR would have to put to death thousands of orphaned and injured animals that the public would bring to them.

Just imagine how the media would handle this and the fallout the local MPP’s and the Premier would have to endure from the outraged public.

In some cases rehabilitators have saved  local District Offices thousands of dollars from their annual budget. One case in particular was when head office staff advised the Chatham area office that they were responsible for the health and well being of two injured, endangered, White Pelicans which had been shot at Rondeau ProvincialPark by duck hunters. Pelicans are a high maintenance animal when in captivity and the local wildlife rehabilitators spent thousands of dollars and numerous hours caring for these birds until they were air lifted to Florida.

This past September the MNR held a number of open houses across Ontario in regards to its review of legislation governing Provincial Parks, Conservation Reserves and Wildlife Areas. Liberal MPP, Pat Hoy, stated in the local newspaper, “We want to hear from the public at large”.

Therefore, Sir, I hope you will have your staff revaluate the situation and meet with wildlife rehabilitators that are not presently represented by any organization and members of the Volunteer Wildlife Custodians that represents a large number of wildlife rehabilitators throughout Ontario.

Thank you for your time and consideration and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

Yours, 

Brian M. Fieldwick
Morpeth, Ontario

Cc :        Honourable David Ramsay Minister of Natural Resources
Cc :        Pat Hoy  MPP


Natural Resources variance poses risk

London Free Press
Letter to Editor
January 17, 2005

Regarding letter, Minister cites errors in wildlife article (Jan. 12) from Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay.

It is obvious he did not read Paul Harris's column well, as he claims Harris made several statements which he did not. He also claims the MNR proposals say specific things about foster parent education, which they do not.

As an authorized wildlife custodian, I can say that all the rehabbers want is for the MNR proposals to follow the same minimum standards as the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. The MNR variance from these standards puts both wildlife and humans at risk, as they are not workable.

I would suggest that The London Free Press provide some coverage on these same proposals and the objections which the wildlife rehabilitators have against them. London does not have a wildlife centre that can rehabilitate the hundreds of orphaned animals found in its borders every year.

Animals needing assistance in London every year have been delegated out to custodians and their foster parents in a large area outside of the city.

Even I have taken in orphaned wildlife from London, and with the help of my foster parents raised and released them. Without the help of this network of custodians and foster parents this coming spring, who will the city of London tell the public to call?

Humane societies do not deal in wildlife.

Veterinarians must be licensed by the MNR to take the animals (most are not) and they charge to euthanize these animals if no help is available.

With the MNR proposals, every community will have a problem this spring.

Laurel A. Beechey
The Skunk Lady
Tillsonburg


Minister's letter was incomplete

London Free Press
Jan. 15, 2005

Regarding the letter, Minister cites errors in wildlife article (Jan. 12), from David Ramsay, Minister of Natural Resources.

What Ramsay neglected to tell readers is that, at present, his ministry is refusing to authorize these wildlife foster parents. This leaves us in a crisis situation for this spring's orphans, as there are not enough authorized wildlife custodians to handle the numbers of orphans that will need to be taken into care.

Without the assistance of our foster parents, numerous healthy wildlife orpahns will be euthanized or left to die, as directed by the ministry.

Carol Clarke
Authorized wildlife custodian,
St. Thomas 


Paul Harris's rebuttal to David Ramsay's letter (below)

Unpublished

I do realize that the Free Press does not like to get into 'he said/she said' arguments on the opinion pages. But I am requesting that you give serious consideration to printing the following letter in response to David Ramsay, Minister of Natural Resources. He is either wrong or deliberately writing falsely.

Minister of Natural Resources David Ramsay wrote to the Free Press to dispute statements written in my VoxPop article of January 7. He is either willingly or unwittingly wrong in his remarks.

The Minister wrote that I complained wildlife custodians would no longer be able to raise wildlife in their homes: I did not write that, but I did write that wildlife assistants (foster parents) will not be permitted to do so. He also wrote that I complained foster care givers will not be allowed to care for orphaned creatures; I did not write that either.

It is hard to know where to begin here because the Minister's letter is replete with inaccuracies. The Ministry has been able to inspect custodians' facilities since 1999 and none of us object to that; custodians will be required to have special training under the proposed guidelines, but we already do and we don't object to that either; the guidelines say, within two concurrent sentences that it is not permitted to keep wildlife in a dwelling and then explains how they can be kept there; foster parents will not be prohibited from caring for wildlife in an authorized custodians' facility, but the whole point of foster care was to allow for animals to be given into the care of the foster parents who would operate under the guidance and watchful eye of the authorized custodian, who was legally responsible for the foster parents' activities; the Minister refers to specialized training and authorization for foster care givers, but I would dearly like him to show us where this is stated in the proposed guidelines.

One of the Minister's reasons for disallowing foster parents to care for wildlife in their own homes is that the Ministry lacks the legal clout to enter their premises at will, as they do with the authorized custodians. It seems to be a simple matter to make permitting entry as a condition of granting permission to individuals to be foster parents without prohibiting the valuable additional space they provide for wildlife. Authorized custodians rely heavily on this additional housing because most of us would be able to help very small numbers of animals without that added support.

The wildlife rehabilitation community does not dispute the need for guidelines; indeed, we fully support workable guidelines and appropriate formal training that meet the internationally recognized standards. But these aren't that.

Paul Harris
Denfield, Ontario


Minister cites errors in wildlife article

London Free Press
January 12, 2005

The vox pop, orphaned wildlife face death under new regulations (Jan. 7), concerning wildlife rehabilitation, contained errors. It said that wildlife custodians will no longer be able to care for orphaned or injured animals at their homes and that foster care givers will not be allowed to care for orphaned creatures.

Both statements are wrong.

New guidelines for wildlife custodians proposed by the Ministry of Natural Resources would allow wildlife custodians to work from home under two conditions; that they designate an area of their home for animal care and provide their local MNR district office with a map showing where in the residence this area is.

This would allow for ministry inspection. The proposed new rules for foster care givers would require them to meet a basic level of proficiency before being issued with an authorization.

This would not only prove their competency, but show that they are legally holding live wildlife in captivity and allow for ministry inspection. It does not in any way prevent foster parents from looking after orphaned animals. The proposed changes to the wildlife custodian program are posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights website until Jan. 29 for public comment.

The website can be accessed at http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/envregistry/023867ep.htm.

David Ramsay
Minister of Natural Resources


Orphaned wildlife face death under new regulations

London Free Press
January 7, 2005
Editorial

Note: Also published in the January 5 edition of The Middlesex Banner in the letters to the editor, under the title: "Volunteer wildlife custodians fighting mad!".

When you rescued those two cute baby raccoons crying beside their dead mother on the side of the road last year, you could call an Authorized Wildlife Custodian who volunteers under the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) to raise and release healthy babies back into the wild, where they belong.

OMNR presently grants ‘authorization’ to individuals who have demonstrated appropriate skill, training and commitment to care for these animals. The government makes the regulations but offers no other support to the custodians. Now they are proposing changes that will virtually eliminate rehabilitation. 

OMNR provides no funds or resources to rehabilitators so most custodians work out of their own homes, hoping for small donations, and are very limited in the number of animals they can rescue. But they have been able to lean on a large number of assistants (called foster parents) who also work out of their homes and help with the raising and release of the babies. Together, they help a large number animals.

OMNR has released a set of proposed guidelines to “improve care for sick, injured or orphaned wildlife”, according to Minister David Ramsay. Unfortunately, the proposed guidelines could produce exactly the opposite result. One of those new guidelines will no longer allow the assistants to work from their homes, although they can go to the authorized wildlife centres to assist. Unfortunately, there are very few wildlife centres in Ontario and OMNR is not planning to open one in your area any time soon. There are other unsupportable changes planned as well.

After reviewing the proposed changes, many wildlife custodians state the regulations, if enacted, will likely result in all responsible wildlife custodians returning their authorizations to the Ministry and withdrawing this valuable public service. The proposals are completely unacceptable for the custodians and the wildlife for whom they provide care.  

So what happens to those baby raccoons? You will have two choices: you can pay to have them killed by a local veterinarian (the Humane Societies have already said they don’t want to do it); or you can leave them at the side of the road to starve to death.  How does that improve the care for orphaned wildlife?

So who will care for the animals? Many people will not leave those babies to starve and untrained people will take them in, putting themselves and the animals at risk. They will not know how to prevent animal deaths or how to protect themselves from diseases. And it is illegal for you to take them in and raise them yourself, with a potential $100,000 penalty if you are caught.

The proposed guidelines do not meet internationally recognized standards for wildlife care. Minister Ramsay and Premier Dalton McGuinty know the rehabilitation community is opposed to these plans but they are relying on the support of one small and frequently disparaged rehabilitation group as proof that rehabbers are onside with the government. Ramsay and McGuinty are wrong, or not telling the truth.

Rehabbers need your help. If you are concerned about the care that will be available to orphaned and injured wildlife, and do not relish the idea of simply leaving an orphaned or injured baby animal to starve to death in the wild, please contact your Member of Provincial Parliament in writing immediately. You only have until January 29, 2005 to make your views known or these changes will go ahead and many baby animals will needlessly suffer or die.

Paul Harris
Denfield, Ontario

Click to view scanned letter as it appeared in the Middlesex Banner

Click here to find out how you can help!


No help for wildlife

November 24, 2004

ATTENTION : Premier McGuinty

Dear Premier McGuinty:

I have never before written a letter to a politician, but feel now that I must as I am encountering a problem regarding lack of access to a wildlife rehabilitation center. This has proven to be a problem for me several times over the past couple of years. One of the reasons is because I have a 14 year old son who has a great interest in wildlife and has brought home several orphaned or hurt animals and birds that he comes across. Fortunately, the Wild Bird Care Sanctuary of Ottawa has been there to meet our needs for the bird foundlings. This is a great relief to me as I don't want to have these otherwise healthy and viable animals dispatched solely because there is nowhere they can stay for any period of time while they are rehabilitated .

I was shocked and disappointed when the Ottawa Carleton Wildlife Centre was closed down, because it provided such an essential service to anyone who cares about the environment. Not having a sanctuary for animals is not a good lesson to teach my son about the society that he lives in. As a recent letter in the Ottawa Citizen states, "there is something seriously wrong with a government policy that requires humane societies, veterinarians and the public to kill baby animals". The irresponsible and inhumane regulations imposed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has meant that we have lost the services of the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre as well as the help of the remaining small number of other wildlife rehabilitators in Ontario . The community relied on the Centre, and the veterinarians in the community who generously donated professional support to it, to obtain effective advice in dealing with wildlife problems and in assisting us when we had rescued an orphaned or injured wild animal in distress, something that is increasingly occurring because of extensive development and the serious impact it is having on our wildlife .

Just yesterday, my son once again came home with a slightly injured young animal, and I am now faced with the prospect of trying to find a sanctuary to shelter this animal. It is my understanding the Humane Society cannot take on this task, and the animal would have to be put down . Although this is not a desirable solution, I know of people who are obliged to transport these animals to other municipalities that are better equipped to handle this problem . Unfortunately I don't have the connections outside of Ottawa to be able to do this. I can't understand why Ottawa cannot match the services of these smaller towns, to provide these valuable services.

Extensive development and human encroachment in natural areas and greater environmental awareness on the part of the public has increased the need for wildlife assistance . However, the regressive regulations of OMNR make it difficult for rehabilitators to assist wildlife and the public with a humane response. It is shameful that Canada's most populous province has become the only jurisdiction in North America without any progressive help for wildlife. Wildlife rehabilitation services cannot survive within this Ministry and OMNR regulations and practices create a health risk for Ontario's citizens. At the same time, broad public support shown for wildlife rehabilitators and the important community service they perform confirms the Ministry is out of step with community values.

It is for this reason, therefore, that I am writing to urge that you fulfill a commitment you made over a year ago to review the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) with respect to its actions and regulations affecting wildlife rehabilitation in Ontario. As someone who relies on wildlife rehabilitators in my community to provide a humane response with respect to orphaned and injured wildlife, I am deeply disappointed that you have not yet acted upon your commitment. I understand that OMNR is in the process of preparing new regulations to be effective January 2005 and it appears that that these new regulations may actually make things worse, and they are inopportune prior to conducting the promised review.

Please recall that it was Liberal members, while in Opposition, who presented demands for change to the Ontario Legislature through 9,000 petitions gathered from residents in 260 communities across the province . It was Liberal members who were strongly critical of the Conservative government for allowing the bureaucrats in OMNR to have created this crisis .

I urge you to act immediately on your written commitment to "support a full and complete review of MNR regulations in relation to wildlife rehabilitation and to work closely with stakeholders as you review these regulations" . Stakeholders must reflect the majority of wildlife rehabilitators in Ontario through organizations like the Ontario Wildlife Coalition and Volunteer Wildlife Custodians who they have selected to represent them .

Sincerely,
Jennifer Schlemm Holinsky

C.C . David Ramsay, Minister of Natural Resources
Jim Watson, MPP - Ottawa West, Nepean
Councillor Jan Harder - Ward 3


Letter to Prime Minister, Animal Cruelty Legislation

October 12, 2004

Dear Prime Minister Martin,

Regarding proposed animal cruelty legislation, I am forwarding a letter I submitted to the Citizen, a version of which appeared in that newspaper October 7th, 2004.

I am very glad that the federal government will once again attempt to pass legislation to amend our outdated animal cruelty laws.  However, I am concerned by Justice Minister Irwin Cotler's comments of October 8th that provisions have been made to address the concerns of a small group of senators - particularly when those concerns have already been examined and considered to be unfounded.  The rights of hunters and aboriginal people are already well protected and members of these groups have acknowledged that Bill C-22 would not impact on legal activity.

Should this legislation finally be passed, it will have taken more than a century for revisions to be made to our animal cruelty laws.  We will undoubtedly have to live with the new laws for a very long time and therefore it is crucial that we get it right this time around.  It is not enough to have new legislation.  The legislation must be strong and effective and must be enacted soon.

Minister Cotler points out that, in the last few years, over 65,000 letters have been received on this issue and that legislation has been consistently passed by the House of Commons only to be blocked by the Senate.  Clearly, what is needed is not another amendment but rather a strong message to those who continue to oppose this bill that they are obstructing the will of Canadians and making a mockery of our democratic process.  To make further concessions to a few and possibly allow inadequate legislation to pass, legislation we will have to endure for many years into the future, would be a great injustice.  This legislation is simply too important to too many Canadians for it to be weakened in any way or stalled any longer.

Sincerely,

Kathy Logan
Ottawa


Animal cruelty bill has support of all parties

The Ottawa Citizen
October 7, 2004

Re: A little creativity will keep Paul Martin in power, Oct. 6.

I enjoyed Charles Gordon's column in which he listed hypothetical bills that all parties in Parliament could agree on. How about adding an actual bill to the agenda that everyone could agree on, and in fact, that all parties already do agree on?

It is Bill C-22, the animal cruelty bill that is desperately needed to replace our current animal cruelty laws that are more than 100 years old and therefore afford almost no protection to animals and don't possibly reflect our values today. This bill has been passed in the House of Commons not once, not twice, but four times and yet still has not become law. Not only does this bill have support from all parties and from organizations with an interest such as police associations, veterinarians and animal welfare groups, it also enjoys support from groups that initially opposed it, such as hunting and farming groups. Justice ministers have received lots of letters from the public in support of this bill.

With so much support, one would think that this bill would have passed into law without a hitch. Unfortunately, it has been repeatedly thwarted and allowed to die by a small group of senators. Is it any wonder that Canadians have become apathetic about voting when the will of so many is ultimately in the hands of a few individuals we do not even elect?

If the new Parliament would like some uncontentious legislation to pass that would be applauded by a vast majority of Canadians, it should re-introduce Bill C-22. This time around, ensure that it is passed into law, not only for the sake of animals but for the very sake of our democratic process.

Kathy Logan,
Ottawa

C The Ottawa Citizen 2004


Keep your promises Premier McGuinty

May 26, 2004

The Honourable Dalton McGuinty
Premier of Ontario
Room 281, Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A4

Dear Premier McGuinty,

I voted Liberal last September based on your commitment to hold an inquiry into the Ontario MNR raccoon rabies program and to review the regulations they imposed on wild mammal rehabilitators in July 2002.  These restrictive regulations make it impossible to provide ethical wildlife rehabilitation services, and have forced the closure of the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre - one of the most comprehensive, pro-active and impressive wildlife response centres on the continent.

I have been licensed by MNR as an independent (home-based) wildlife rehabilitator in Ottawa since licensing was first introduced, and these regulations have also forced me (along with all other independent wild mammal rehabilitators in this region) to discontinue providing a volunteer service to our communities.  A large part of eastern Ontario including Ottawa is therefore currently without any help for people who rescue orphaned or injured wild mammals.  It’s a shameful situation you promised to change. 

The national capital region has lost an incredible resource in terms of volunteer services.  It was an abuse of power when the Ontario MNR enacted unwarranted new restrictions in late July of 2002.  Half way through the wildlife season, when orphans had been in care and hand-reared for 6 to 8 weeks, they imposed a 1 km release restriction for all wildlife in Ontario and disallowed rehabilitation of rabies vector species (RVS) in a large part of eastern Ontario, including Ottawa.  They made unannounced visits to licensed wildlife rehabilitators in this region; myself included, and seized RVS (raccoons, skunks and foxes) in care - healthy, young, vaccinated animals. 

MNR’s restrictive conditions remain unchanged, and members of the public who find an orphaned wild mammal are being directed by MNR to leave it where they found it (such as beside the dead mother on the road), or take it for euthanasia at their own expense.  MNR’s rational that it is protecting public health and safety is not credible.  They are well aware that experience has shown in jurisdictions all across the continent that members of the public will not follow such inhumane directives.  Untrained, unvaccinated people will instead attempt to care for wild orphans themselves, putting themselves, their children, and domestic animals at risk - and rabies is actually one of the lesser risks since raccoon rabies is under control in Ontario.  Most people will be unaware of how to take necessary precautions against other zoonotic illnesses / parasites etc.

It is profoundly disappointing that you have not yet acted to stop the Ontario MNR’s Rabies Research and Development Unit from using innocent young wildlife and dedicated volunteer wildlife rehabilitators as pawns in its ongoing efforts to secure continued funding to keep its bloated, corrupt bureaucracy afloat.  I want you to honour the commitments you made to Donna DuBreuil, OCWC President before the election last September:  to hold an inquiry into the Ontario MNR raccoon rabies program and to review the regulations they imposed on wild mammal rehabilitators in July 2002. 

Please Premier McGuinty, be aware that time is of the essence.  The spring birthing season is now in full swing, and this year, like last year, hundreds of orphaned wild mammals are being left to suffer and die, while hundreds rescuers (compassionate members of the public from all walks of life) flounder around desperately looking for help.

Sincerely,

Edythe Butler,
Ottawa

Sent by E-mail:  dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

CC:
David Ramsay, Minister of Natural Resources
Richard Patten, Liberal MPP, Ottawa Centre
Jim Watson, Liberal MPP, Ottawa West-Nepean
Phil McNeely, Liberal MPP, Ottawa-Orleans
Madeleine Meilleur, Liberal MPP, Ottawa-Vanier
John Baird, PC Nepean-Carleton
Norm Sterling, PC Lanark-Carleton


Humane society, veterinarians become killing machines for MNR

May 24, 2004

Dear Mr. McGuinty,

I am writing regarding a front page article in the Ottawa Citizen, Sunday, May 23, 2004. It states that the Ottawa Humane Society and, possibly, area veterinarians have become killing machines for the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) due to the unworkable regulations that have been imposed on wildlife rehabilitators in this province. These regulations, as you are aware, resulted in the closure of the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre, a world class wildlife rehabilitation centre.

It is totally unacceptable that wildlife is being killed just because it is orphaned and/or injured. Until it happens to you personally, you cannot appreciate the anguish someone goes through when they find an orphaned baby animal and they can find no help for it.  The majority of these wildlife situations are the result of human activities such as land clearing during birthing season, road kills, the trapping and relocation of mother animals leaving abandoned young, etc. This is not nature taking its course but rather human interference with nature.  Recently, I was told of a teacher whose grade 4 students found an orphaned squirrel and four of its dead siblings in their school yard. What an excellent time to teach compassion. But a call to the MNR prompted the response “put it back into the food chain”.  This type of response is unacceptable to compassionate individuals who wish to see an animal raised to have a chance in nature.  Fortunately, as might be expected, the teacher and her students were not satisfied with this response and chose a more humane and positive outcome for all involved.

One of your election promises to the people of Ontario and, in particular, to your own constituents was that you would have an inquiry regarding these unworkable regulations that the MNR has imposed upon Ontario rehabilitators. The regulations make it impossible for rehabilitators to respond to public demands for help in dealing with orphaned wildlife.

Your constituents expect you to fulfill your election promises.  There must be an inquiry into the closing of the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre. The regulations must change regarding wildlife rehabilitation.  It is imperative that this happen immediately to avoid a repeat of the tragic and avoidable killing of innocent baby animals that occurred last year and this year.  

Sincerely yours,

Pat Snell,
Ottawa


Wildlife rehabilitators best early warning system for rabies

Re: They're cute, but they'll die if you try to help save them
Humane Society must kill sick orphaned wild animals brought in: May 23, 2004

Dear Sir/Madam,

We are sick at heart over the notice on the front page of The Citizen, proclaiming "They're cute, but they'll die if you try to help save them." The article, by Bridget Roussy, is accompanied by a file picture of an Eastern Grey Squirrel, and most of the article is devoted to an explanation of why the Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) considers its mission to be oriented toward domesticated animals, mainly dogs and cats, not wildlife. The OHS executive director, Bruce Roney, actually states that provincial law "forces" the OHS to euthanize wild animals. We do not know whether this is an exact reading of the law or an interpretation of it, but we can understand generally that wildlife may lie outside the mission of the OHS.  

The important fact is that until December 2002, our city was the home to the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre (OCWC) whose mission was precisely to care for injured and orphaned wildlife found and rescued in this region.The OCWC was one of the most progressive and active wildlife centres in North America, operating from a well equipped building in western Ottawa, with a huge network of volunteer rehabilitators, a small dedicated staff of veterinarian interns, support from one of the major veterinarian hospitals, and a hotline that enabled thousands of people per year to settle their perceived grievances with wildlife merely through a telephone call. It was the best service of its kind on the continent, and it was forced to close by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR).

We were among the network of OCWC volunteers. From 1994-95 through 2002-03, we worked with 117 orphaned animals, almost all of them successively rehabilitated and released into carefully selected natural habitats far removed from the city. Our caging compound still stands in our back yard. It should be occupied by orphaned animals at this time of the year, but the OMNR will not permit such a labour of love. In fact, a woman who telephoned OMNR this month to ask how to cope with a litter of orphaned squirrels was instructed to "drown them."

The OMNR claims that the raccoon strain of rabies is moving northward and could represent a threat to the people of this province. This was the excuse for closing down the OCWC, noting that species that might be rabies vectors (mainly raccoons and skunks) were being cared for through its programme. In fact, by closing the OCWC, the OMNR threw away its best possible early warning system to detect the presence of rabies in this region. Given the veterinarian support amassed by the OCWC, and the collective experience of its staff, there would have been no way for a rabid animal to have gone unnoticed and to be released into natural habitat. Any rabid animals would have been recognized as such and would have been euthanized. Under the existing arrangement, all wild animals are killed! Even those species not known to harbour rabies are among those being euthanized.

The candidates for Liberal seats in the current Ontario legislature uniformly agreed that the OMNR policy should be reviewed and revised. Now that they are in power, this promise seems to have fallen into the same dustbin as the one about about the budgets and the taxes. What makes this especially appalling is that the cost of re-opening the OCWC would be negligible. The building is still there, still dedicated to the purpose; the veterinarian interns would come back as volunteers to gain experience in their chosen field of study; and the volunteer rehabilitators would love nothing more than to have their purpose-built cages occupied by their species of choice. The province itself would regain an expert early warning system to detect the possible arrival of raccoon rabies, or any other disease, thereby protecting public health. The public could call upon the OCWC instead of the OHS. Perhaps hundreds of baby animals would not have to die prematurely. It's a no-brainer!  

Richard and Heather Morlan
Ottawa (Nepean), Ontario


Open wildlife centre

The Ottawa Citizen

May 31, 2004

Re: They're cute, but they'll die if you try to help save them, MAY 23.

When I first moved to Ottawa several years ago from Toronto, I was delighted and impressed to learn that Ottawa boasted one of the most progressive wildlife rehabilitation centres in North America.

With the centre's controversial closing two years ago because of policies of the provincial government, I was sickened and angered to learn from the Citizen's article that the only option at present for injured or orphaned wildlife is for them to be killed by the Humane Society.

Shame on you, Ottawa. We need our wildlife centre reopened as soon as possible. We are the nation's capital and we should be setting an example to the rest of the country regarding the compassionate treatment and rehabilitation of all lives, including the furry ones.

Linda Steele,
Ottawa


Draconian Rules

The Ottawa Citizen

May 27, 2004

Re: Humane Society must kill sick, orphaned wild animals brought in, May 23.
Click here to read story.

One has to seriously question a government policy that requires humane societies, veterinarians and the public to kill baby animals. Ontario stands alone as being the only jurisdiction in North America that outlaws a humane and responsible approach to rehabilitation of urban wildlife, including raccoons, skunks and squirrels.

Since the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources introduced new regulations two years ago in Eastern Ontario, thousands of healthy young animals have been euthanized or left to die of dehydration and starvation. The McGuinty Liberals committed to review these draconian rules prior to their election win last October. We're still waiting, Mr. McGuinty, and the animals are still dying.

Debbie Lawes, Ottawa,
Board member, Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre


Click to view letters from 2003

 

 
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