Safer communities

Appalled by the knee-jerk legislation being proposed by a number of municipalities throughout Quebec. With municipalities throughout the province looking to update their local bylaws, Velvet Hearts felt the need to research solutions that have been successful in creating safer communities via responsible canine-human interactions.

Velvet Hearts supports and promotes the use of municipal animal control models that have been proven to be effective in increasing community safety.

CALGARY MODEL

A Canadian city where aggressive dog incidents decreased 78% between 1986 to 2006— despite large increases in the city's human and pet population. Key factors in this was achieving a 90% licensing rate — city officials estimate Montreal’s licensing rate at 14% — strict laws, huge public education efforts towards proper dog training and ownership, and even a subsidized spay and neuter program. “The bottom line is, we believe all dogs are capable of biting…It’s not about controlling pets, it’s about holding people responsible for their pets” -according says Calgary’s expert Bill Bruce

Calgary’s mission statement is a perfect example of a safe community’s goal: "To encourage a safe, healthy, vibrant community for people and their pets, through the development, education and compliance of bylaws that reflect community values". This is because the ex-director of animal services of Calgary believes that people “have a right to have pets and we want to ensure they're properly cared for, so we don't end up with more unwanted pets”.

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CALGARY'S VISION

  • To provide animal services to citizens and not to punish them for owning a pet;

  • Protect the well-being of citizens and animals;

  • Implement a curriculum to educate children and adults about the available animal services and about responsible pet ownership;

  • Motivate pet owners to abide by the law by making the benefits of the money spent apparent (money received from license fees pays for animal services staff salaries, the educational programs and emergency medical care);

  • Offer affordable fees to achieve a high percentage of registration (as well as financial incentives e.g. gift cards to various stores with license purchase), neutering and microchipping

LEGISLATION

The laws are simple and straight‐forward, making compliance as easy as possible. To achieve a safe environment for people as well as animals, a successful legislation includes the following obligations for pet owners:

  • mandatory licensing for every dog and cat over three months of age (zero tolerance policy for licensing - fines on the spot starting at $250) made as convenient as possible - can be done by phone, online, at a vet’s office or through special kiosks and many other convenient ways as well. Non-renewals are followed up on every year;

  • providing permanent identification;

  • training;

  • physical care;

  • socialization;

  • medical attention;

  • not allowing pets to become a threat or nuisance in the community;

  • public education; and

  • enforcement, with supporting agencies all working together to achieve the same goals.