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Watchdog citizens want better dog pounds
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 9 juin 2011

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The bottom line for the borough is the well-being of animals.

While the City of Montreal is asking all boroughs to adopt legislation to mitigate the problem of stray and abandoned animals, Andrea Levy came to the CDN-NDG borough council meeting June 6 to ask for regulations similar to Verdun’s.

Verdun’s approach includes the sterilization of stray animals, as well as a limit on the number of non-sterilized animals allowed per household. A ban on the sale or donation of non-sterilized animals also applies to pet shops.

Levy, a member of an action group for public pet control called ASAP, considers Verdun’s regulations exemplary. They were developed by animal advocates from the SPCA and the Companion Animal Adoption Centres of Quebec.

Richard Deschamps, the member of the central city’s executive committee responsible for citizen services, is currently evaluating the options for municipally-run dog pounds. He was given a short deadline to come up with a solution.

Mayor Michael Applebaum is waiting for Deschamps’ recommendations, which should come in a couple of months. «We want to be able to do more than what is currently being done with animal control. We will adopt the best practices. I can assure you that we will be working for the well-being of animals in Montreal,» he said.

If the service remains decentralized, Levy wanted to know if the borough would be setting up a committee that includes citizens, but the mayor gave her the same reply. He simply added that his responsibilities on the executive committee include the budget as well as buildings, and he wants to let the process run its course. If the City decides to go with a municipal animal shelter, he will be responsible for finding an adequate location to house this type of facility.

Another member of the ASAP, Dr. Ingrid Hings, was among the first citizens to bring her concerns to council before the Berger Blanc dog pound was formally accused of cruelty to animals and various offences.

The ASAP members also wanted to know what would be the best way to follow up on this issue.

A third citizen was called to the microphone during the public question period, but she declined. «My questions were the same as theirs, and I have my answers now,» said Ruth Pike.

At present, the dog pound service is a borough responsibility. Deschamp’s task is to look at all the different bylaws, regulations and contracts, as well as at the possibility of having a municipal dog pound. He is also looking at possibly building a stronger relationship with the SPCA, the details of the Berger Blanc contract, and how to make sure that provincial laws are being respected.

Councillor Marvin Rotrand said that there’s enormous interest from citizens and elected officials in the file. Whatever the City decides to do, there will be continuing dialogue. He promised to be in touch with Dr. Hings about developments.

For Mayor Applebaum it’s not just a question of finances. «It’s a matter of the well-being of the animals,» he concluded.

[ Marie Cicchini ]

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