Awareness walk on Feb. 1 in Amherst
Raising awareness about animal abuse it the theme of a walk in Amherst on Feb. 1
Raising awareness about animal abuse it the theme of a walk in Amherst on Feb. 1. The walk has been named in honour of Buddy the dog and will be one of several awareness walks around the province on that day.
AMHERST – Terri and Patti McCormick are unapologetic about their fondness for our furry friends and they’re hoping to raise awareness of their plight – especially in light of a number of highly-publicized incidents of animal abuse.
The sisters and other volunteers are coming together Feb. 1 to organize an anti-tethering and penning awareness walk in memory of Buddy, a dog that had to be euthanized in December after spending seven years chained to a doghouse in Joggins.
“No dog or animal should be forced to live in the conditions Buddy had to endure,” Terri said. “The minister has talked about making the legislation tougher. We just want to remind him of that commitment.”
The walk begins at 11 a.m. and continues until around noon with the event beginning at Dickey Park and moving down Church Street to Victoria Square.
There will be several speakers at the square and the walk will coincide with other walks across Nova Scotia. There will be walks in Bridgewater, Halifax, Shelburne and Kentville.
A walk is planned for New Glasgow on Feb. 8.
A petition will also be circulated that will be presented to Amherst town council and the Municipality of Cumberland.
The goal is to raise awareness of the 24/7 epidemic across the province and to give a voice to all the chained and penned dogs.
“Buddy seems to have become a catalyst for change,” Patti said. “It seems his plight has become the rallying cry for those individuals and organizations who are fighting to raise awareness and change attitudes when it comes to tethering or tying dogs out 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
One of the issues in Buddy’s case is both SPCA and police said there was little they could do because the dog had shelter, food and water. Eventually, Buddy was liberated from his tether after a cash payment was made to a relative of his owner. The dog’s health was found to be so poor that it had to be euthanized soon after being freed from his tether.
A second case of animal abuse was discovered in Preston in which a dog had frozen to the ground and had to be removed with the help of an icepick. Charges have been laid against two individuals by the SPCA.
“Tying an animal to a doghouse and then forgetting about it is just unforgiveable,” Terri said. “We’re hoping this walk will help shine a light on what’s taking place and chance some attitudes regarding dog ownership. The minister has promised to make changes to the legislation to increase the penalties on those owners who abuse their dogs. We want to hold him to that promise.”
Joan Sinden of No Chains, All Love says it’s important to hold walks across the province in support of government’s plan to strengthen the legislation.
“This is not a negative thing or a protest. It’s a positive event in support of government in that they’re doing something about it,” Sinden said.
Sinden said the government has indicated it plans to have draft regulations in the hands of organizations such as hers by the end of February.
She said it’s important that the memory of Buddy and other dogs that have died because of abuse never be forgotten. She is hopeful the walk will keep animal abuse in the public spotlight and prevent other incidents.