Winnipeg could develop its capacity to take away pets from harmful conditions

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James Snell Dr.  Jonas Watson keeps St. Bernard puppies.  Handout photo Dr. Jonas Watson keeps St. Bernard puppies. Handout photo Photo by handout /Winnipeg sun

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A local veterinarian is concerned about pet overpopulation in Winnipeg and is calling on the city to develop new pet ownership regulations.

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On Monday, the city’s protection committee voted to amend a section of the Responsible Pet Ownership (RPO) statute that allows animal services to detain any animal that is in need of protection for any reason, including the owner’s mental or physical illness , Imprisonment or death. Currently, the RPO bylaws allow animal services to only place dogs under protection, which limits the city’s ability to help other endangered animals.

According to the conversation about the statutes on Monday, Dr. Jonas Watson, chairman of the Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS), the committee that pet overpopulation is a never-ending burden on animal shelters and rescue organizations.

“The city and province are being overrun by backyard breeders with no authorization or knowledge who are pumping the animals into an overloaded system,” he said. “The Winnipeg Humane Society, Winnipeg Animal Services and other groups need to clean up the mess.”

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Watson wants a law that requires dogs and cats older than six months to be neutered or neutered, with exceptions. He suggested that the city require a license to breed animals based on specific guidelines and responsible animal husbandry.

“Trust me when I tell you from the trenches that we need all the help we can get,” he said. “The Winnipeg Humane Society’s emergency response team works tirelessly around the clock to address and resolve dog and cat hoarding situations as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

Keeping exotic species can be another problem, Watson explained. In the fall of 2019, over 150 macaws and other large parrots were confiscated from a house in western Winnipeg. Watson said the birds had been forced to live their entire lives in dirty, cramped metal cages that “could never escape the deafening cacophony of their own screams.”

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“The worst part was that the scenario was perfectly legal under Winnipeg’s responsible pet ownership laws,” he said. “Efforts to resolve this situation required substantial resources from both the WHS and the province. The whole mess could perhaps have been prevented if there had been stricter legislation. “

Leland Gordon of Winnipeg’s Animal Services Agency told the committee Monday that the department is being very careful about how it uses responsible pet ownership regulations in relation to the placement of animals in protective custody.

“This is not a situation where we just happen to go out and take someone’s dog with us,” he said. “That will not happen. (These are) very rare scenarios in which, despite the training of my officers in the community, multiple contact with someone or police or fire incidents are very rare scenarios in which this section would be applied. “

The application to amend the relevant pet husbandry statutes must be approved by the council before ratification.

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Twitter @JamesWestgateSn

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