Thursday, October 28, 2010

Open, joint letter from Friends of Animals and LIDA re proposed Victoria pet limit rules

Below is a joint letter from FoA and Lawyers in Defense of Animals, Inc. (LIDA) commenting on pet restrictions in Victoria, which was featured in the Times Colonist a few months ago (see this blog entry.) I've sent repeated letters requesting more information on the issue to Mayor Fortin and Councillor Thornton-Joe, with no response, hopefully this gets their attention.
To: Mayor Dean Fortin; Charlayne Thornton-Joe (Councillor)
Cc: Dave Shishkoff [mailto:dave@friendsofanimals.org]


Date: 28 Oct. 2010
Re: Proposed pet-limit laws, Victoria, BC.

Greetings to Mayor Dean Fortin and Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe, and the Members of the Victoria, BC Council:

We wish to inform you that Friends of Animals, Inc. (FoA) and Lawyers in Defense of Animals, Inc. (LIDA) share concerns over a proposed law that would be problematic and difficult to change once its unintended consequences are felt.

Each of our organizations has a strong record of advocating for animals raised as pets, and their abandoned offspring.

Since its inception in 1957, Friends of Animals, Inc. has facilitated more than 2.5 million sterilization procedures for cats and dogs. The mission of the group is to challenge and end cruelty to animals and their exploitation.

Having litigated animal-related cases in New Jersey for more than 20 years, LIDA has a thorough familiarity with pet-limit laws.

Both of our groups view pet-limit laws as creating distrust (and thus non-compliance) among law-abiding people who are driven underground in an effort to protect their animals.

We understand from media reports that the Council Members for Victoria, BC, Canada are proposing to legislate per-household cat and rabbit limits. Household limits have proved detrimental for cats and cat rescue or foster advocates – people who do our communities a service, and who should be encouraged.

In various locations in North America it’s become clear that pet limit laws do not effect the aims for which they are enacted. Existing health code laws and animal-cruelty laws are already aimed at the problems that limit laws attempt to address. Local ordinances can be enacted to cover situations such as breeding of animals. Limit laws, however, are typically enacted in reaction to some incident, and fail to ensure good general policy.

We’ve seen household limits declared unconstitutional in Pennsylvania and Minnesota. Challenges are currently being mounted against them throughout the United States. More significantly, they are they ineffective in solving the problems they are enacted to address.

Relinquishment of cats, rabbits, and other pet animals attributable to the economic climate has already overburdened shelters. A limit law will increase that burden while simultaneously depriving these shelters of the foster homes on which they rely to help ease the space constraints.

Ultimately, enacting pet limits would mean Victoria will be viewed as an authority to be avoided, thus diminishing the likelihood that help will be sought in those situations where it is genuinely necessary.

Please take the time to confer with us before deliberating further on household limits. We recommend you to Dave Shishkoff, Canadian Correspondent for Friends of Animals, who lives in Victoria and can keep the animal-advocacy community and the Council in a beneficial communication loop. We also plan to reach out to the press so that the people of Victoria – including rescue advocates – can take part in discussion of issues surrounding enlightened policies for animal care.

Very truly yours,

Marie Ansari, Rescue Liaison for Lawyers in Defense of Animals
Website: www.njlida.org
E-mail: info@njlida.org
Headquarters: 98 Washington Street, Morristown, NJ 07960 U.S.

Lee Hall, Vice President - Legal Affairs
Friends of Animals
Website: friendsofanimals.org
E-mail: leehall@friendsofanimals.org
Headquarters: 777 Post Road, Suite 205, Darien CT 06820 U.S.
Please send in your own letters as well to mayor@victoria.ca and cthornton-joe@victoria.ca asking them to make more info on this issue available, to discuss and consult with the public and animal rescue organizations, and to ensure that these limits don't hinder those who work to rescue animal refugees.

As always, please feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.

Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent
Friends of Animals
Web Site: http://FriendsofAnimals.org
Victoria: http://TheVictoriaVegan.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2496490922
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/FoA_Victoria
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF: http://bit.ly/foa-vsg

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