Anyone who reads this column knows I'm passionate about two things: animal rights and Russell Crowe.
But since Russell keeps ignoring my advances, I've decided to focus mainly on animal rights; the tethering of dogs 24/7, to be exact. And I'm not alone. There are so many brave and wonderful people in this area who love dogs and want to see currentanimal cruelty laws change, and they are willing to do something about it.
That's why Amherst is joining seven other communities in the province with a march tomorrow to take a stand and advocate laws that will protect permanently tethered and penned dogs.
Our walk is called Buddy's Walk, in memory of Buddy the dog, a victim of long-term tethering. We will meet at Dickey Park at 10:45 a.m. and begin the walk at 11, which will coincide with marches in Halifax, Bridgewater, Shelburne, Yarmouth, New Glasgow, Sydney and New Minas.
This dog-friendly event will see us head down Church Street to Victoria Square, where we will hear a few words from Cumberland North MLA Terry Farrell, a representative from the Lillian Allbon Animal Shelter and from a dog owner who adopted a rescued former tethered dog.
Town councillor Robert Bird will also be there to accept our on-line anti-tethering petition, which garnered over 6,000 signatures. Mr. Bird is proposing the town come up its own by-law regarding tethered dogs, should the province not follow through on its promise of tougher laws and enforcement.
Hopefully, this peaceful and positive march will send a message that long-term tethering won't be tolerated, and will encourage our
government to act quickly on proposed amendments that will make 24/7 tethering and penning illegal.
For me, the issue of tethered dogs really intensified with the Buddy the dog case in December. It was so close to home, in Joggins, and so heartbreaking. Buddy was tied out for seven years but couldn't be seized by authorities because current laws say it's not illegal for an owner to tie out a dog in all types of weather, 24 hours a day as long as he has food, water and some type of shelter.
Buddy was finally saved but he had to be put down because he was so ill. This not only broke people's hearts, but it created a bit of a media frenzy and caught the attention of Agricultural Minister Keith Colwell, who took another look at long-term tethering.
Another sad case before Christmas in North Preston, where a dog was found starved and frozen in a pen, kept the issue in the media, and the result is a real push to eliminate long-term tethering. If the animal cruelty act is amended to protect chained and penned dogs, then Nova Scotia will become a leader in animal rights. And that means dogs like Buddy won't have to suffer any longer. It also means owners who do this will be held accountable.
If you love dogs and think long-term chaining or penning is wrong, please join us tomorrow and make a difference in an animal's life. And don't forget your poop bags!
Terri McCormick’s column appears bi-weekly in the Amherst News.