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Monday, May 20, 2024
Letter of the Week: Let’s demand a better animal welfare system
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

I followed the story of Zeus, the family cat that was trapped by a neighbour in St. Catharines on March 4 and dropped off across the Welland canal in rural Niagara-on-the-Lake “because the neighbour didn’t like cats urinating on his tires and windows.”

Fortunately, Zeus was found last Thursday, April 18, six weeks after he was scooped up.

What the neighbour did should be considered animal abuse, theft of property and malicious intent. Niagara Regional Police have since launched an investigation but why weren’t they involved earlier?

This case was forwarded to Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS), an agency of the Ministry of the Solicitor General.

Why is this service under the solicitor general’s ministry, which oversees criminal offences, if PAWS cannot investigate and charge the offender, given his admission of the offence and his threat to other families that own cats in the neighbourhood?

I called the PAWS line. After listening to an unpleasant, somewhat intimidating voice message, there was no help there — they could only take a message and forward the concern on.

“Sheila,” the answering service employee, appeared just as shocked and upset by this event as I was. She encouraged me to write an email to the solicitor general’s ministry (solgen.correspondence@ontario.ca) detailing our concerns and requesting some action.

I would encourage others to do the same with a copy to MPP Wayne Gates (wgates-co@ndp.on.ca), MP Tony Baldinelli (Tony.Baldinelli@parl.gc.ca) and Niagara Regional Police Service media relations (Stephanie.sabourin@niagarapolice.ca).

I am appalled but not surprised that there are people like this in our communities. We need to stand up to them and ensure their illegal activities have consequences.

Pets are beloved family members and they rely on us to keep them safe. Cats are permitted to roam —  as are wild animals such as skunks, raccoons, possums, squirrels etc.

I understand the irritation that some feel regarding others’ pets but trapping, stealing and harming an animal is against the law.

Deal with the owner, not the pet.

Megan Wood

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