Samedi 27 Août 2011  
Projet Montréal lance une pétition pour amasser des signatures afin d’entamer une réflexion vers l’adoption d’une stratégie pour mieux encadrer la pratique de l’agriculture urbaine afin qu’elle soit exploitée à son plein potentiel à Montréal.

Pet control mobilizes angry citizens
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 12 mai 2011

Photo: Marie Cicchini

Many pets are abandoned every year on the big moving day, July 1st.

The CDN-NDG council terminated its pet control contract with the Berger Blanc pound at the May 3 council meeting, after the controversial pound was accused of inhumanely euthanizing the animals in its care.

Last April, Ingrid Hings, a NDG resident, presented council with a petition after the Montreal Mirror ran a story regarding the for-profit pound which was contracted to handle pet control in the borough. Then, on April 22, an investigative report aired on Radio-Canada showed shocking images captured by a hidden camera in the Rivière-des-Prairies-based pound that provides animal control services for 10 of the city’s 19 boroughs.

With 30,000 pets ending up at Berger Blanc, the report claimed Montrealers are the champions of pet abandonment, well ahead of cities like Ottawa and Toronto.

The CDN-NDG borough paid a $10,000 penalty for cancelling the $119,000 agreement, which included a 30-day cancellation clause. The private business also lost its contract with the Plateau Mont-Royal.

Other boroughs might follow, but pet control is a decentralized service and boroughs may want to stay with Berger Blanc. Richard Deschamps, executive committee member responsible for services to citizens, is setting up a committee at city hall to examine how animal policies can be improved. He will also be stepping up spot checks.

Montreal’s opposition parties are calling for the creation of a municipally-overseen animal control policy that will end the city’s reliance on Berger Blanc.

Some cities have created their own animal control agencies. Mayor Michael Applebaum says he went to the animal control centre in Calgary for a tour to see how it works.

A new contract with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) would cost $100,000, with the borough investing $10,000 in a new spay-neuter-release program. The SPCA would also receive $5,000 from revenues from the sale of licences. Because it’s a non-profit organization, the borough can give them direct contracts without going to tender.

If they accept it, the SPCA will manage animal control services in the borough. “Our objective is to improve services. We will work in partnership with them, and make sure we can get the best possible quality of services,” said Applebaum.
The SPCA has limited capacity, but might be willing to expand its facilities in the future to offer its services to other boroughs or cities. Deschamps will also be discussing with them to see if the SPCA is willing to take contracts from other boroughs.

Katren Urtnowski from NDG, one of six citizens who came to the microphone, said spaying and neutering and public education programs should be the cornerstone of the new strategy for animal control in the entire city.

“People from all political parties and all boroughs understand the need to look at this issue in detail and try to find a better way to treat animals in the city and on the island. But for that to happen, it would have to become an agglomeration council responsibility because cats go from one territory to the next,” said Applebaum. “It’s important that you mobilized here, but it would also be important to bring it up with the appropriate commission and possibly come down to city hall,” he said.

Councillor Marvin Rotrand said there are now nine commissions covering the entire Montreal island, each in charge of different mandates. People can come and ask questions at City Council, or write to the chairman responsible for city services.

[ Marie Cicchini ]

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