Dogs will no longer be allowed to be tethered for more than 12 hours at a time under draft standards of care released last week by Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell.
Part of the proposed changes are to add Animal Protection Act infractions to the list of summary offence tickets. This would allow the SPCA and other enforcement officials, including bylaw officers in municipalities, to issue tickets for certain infractions including tethering a dog for longer than 12 hours a day.
"I know animal protection is as important to Nova Scotians as it is to me," Colwell said. "I am committed to doing all I can as minister to make sure that we have the proper regulations in place so that animals in this province are properly cared for and protected."
Standards of care aim to prevent distress and cruelty and to strengthen the protection of companion animals in Nova Scotia. They also include regulation of animal restraints, outdoor care, shelters, pens and enclosures, abandonment as well as the transportation and sale of companion animals.
Several anti-tethering walks were held throughout the province last month, including one in New Glasgow, organized by Lori Lewis.
“It’s just disgusting,” she said in an earlier interview with The News. “If you don’t have the time (to properly care for a dog), just give it away.”
Colwell and department officials have been meeting with various animal protection groups since last fall. These consultations followed online feedback from Nova Scotians last summer. As a result, the draft standards of care were expanded to cover cats.
During the next month, the department will seek public input into the draft standards of care. Interested Nova Scotians are asked to fill out a feedback questionnaire on the department's website www.novascotia.ca/agri/ and either e-mail or mail their response no later than March 31.