City wagging dog on animal cruelty
By Bonnie Lilley, North Shore News May 18, 2011 Dear Editor:
I am responding to Mayor Darrell Mussatto's comments in your May 6 story, City Ducks Animal Welfare Costs .
I am not sure from where the mayor got the 99 per cent success rate for city animal control. Perhaps he was referring to the city's efforts at shirking its reponsibility to look after unwanted and disadvantaged pets in the community, while bullying our neighbouring municipalities to accept the physical and financial burden of protecting these creatures.
On April 23, Mayor Mussatto eulogized the awful deaths of 100 dogs in Whistler. He called for this day to be a day of memory. We do not need our mayor to memorialize 100 dead dogs; we need him instead to live up to his duty to provide adequate protection and shelter to ensure a similar atrocity does not happen again. His response is just political rhetoric.
Shelters are charging horrendous "surrender fees" for pets, especially those from the city. This puts off those people who are less likely to want to pay, or who do not have the money to do so. The result is abandoned pets -- or worse, abused and dead ones.
It is my understanding that the Barbara Sharp administration had $130,000 put aside for a shelter. I would like to ask Mayor Mussatto where this money is now.
Where is all the money for mandatory dog licensing fees going? Certainly not for city animal control.
I know first hand that the animal control officer is seldom available when needed and does not have the authority to deal with cruelty issues. I am regularly called out at all hours by the public and the RCMP for strays and other animal related issues. The city officer keeps government hours, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and takes weekends off. No one replaces him.
It is rumoured that there are auxillary officers, but other than one conversaion on the telephone, I have not actually met one. Unfortunately, the animals don't understand all of this political two-stepping.
For more than 25 years I have provided a free service to the North Shore for the aid of injured wildlife and problems arising with our pet population. It is a privilege to help the animals and my community, but I cannot do this alone.
With ingenuity and partnerships we could have, at the very least, a partially self-funding animal welfare shelter. We could strive for a faciltiy the community would be proud of.
It is time the city took responsibilty to move ahead and get it done.
Fur & Feathers Rescue