Change the Ajax Bylaw for Fostering/Rescuing Dogs and Cats
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Foster Exemption Amendment to the Town of Ajax Cat and Dog Bylaw
We seek the Town of Ajax to amend the current by-law to provide a foster pet exemption for registered volunteer organizations.
Volunteer foster organizations in our community invariably provide what a municipal shelter cannot by offering a safe and quite domestic home environment to animals who have been neglected, physically abused and psychologically traumatized.
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The town of Ajax by-law, (number 48- 2017), does not currently provide any support of exemption for volunteer rescue organizations whose members temporarily foster cats and dogs. These organizations use foster homes to support and rehabilitate dogs and cats who are all too often in dire need. Currently the bylaw allows for 3 dogs &/or cats at any given time in one dwelling. In relation to animal rescues, this arbitrary limit has 3 significant implications:
1 – It is a love of animals that leads most of us to volunteer and foster. This dedication often develops from the love of our own animal(s). Many volunteer foster families thus end up over the “legal” limit. These families only want to support animals and do not set out to intentionally defy the law. Without an exemption to support foster families, these dedicated volunteers find themselves at odds with the current town by-law that is otherwise geared to regulating permanent household pets and not pets who are in temporary foster care.
2 – Significantly, many of the animals taken in by rescues have been poorly treated. Many have been physically abused and neglected. A shelter is a loud and scary environment to any animal, but especially for these who have already been traumatized and are fearful. It is commonly accepted that the place to rehabilitate these animals is in a quite loving home environment, with other stable animals offering friendships and support to the traumatized animal.
3 – Limiting the number of animals in foster care with volunteer organizations increases the number of animals in already overcrowded municipally funded shelters, further limiting available space for strays and other animals in need. Comparatively, shelters are very expensive to run (rent, heat, hydro, staffing), these are all coming out of the tax payers pocket.
After almost a decade of fostering dogs with physical handicaps and fear issues (abuse, neglect), we could potentially have to stop fostering because we, at times, could be over the 3 dog/cat limit. Each dog is well cared for, fed, loved, and receives appropriate vet care and each progresses towards physical and psychological health.
Unfortunately, the sad fact is that according to the current bylaw, enforcement can have the unintended effect of negating the health, well-being or emotional welfare of the animal in foster settings. It can force foster carers to relocate the animal prematurely and significantly compromise their level of recovery. It can also undermine the references offered by a rescue or vet knowing that the outcome in Ajax could be uncertain.
Being forced to move dogs out before they are ready and when it is clearly not in their best interest is devastating to those whom foster.
In 2013, with the assistance of Animal Justice, the city of Toronto amended their bylaw to add an exemption for animals in foster care.http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/municode/1184_349.pdf
Amendment 349-5C states that the limit of 3 dogs/cats “shall not apply to individual members of a rescue group who are keeping dogs or cats for or on behalf of that rescue group.
NOTE-within this document a rescue group is defined as follows “A not for profit or charitable organization, registered with Toronto Animal Services, whose mandate and practices are predominately the rescue and placement of animals, and facilitating the spaying or neutering of animals, for animal welfare purposes”.
This common sense approach supports the animals, rescue organizations as well as tax payers.
We are asking the town of Ajax to advocate for these vulnerable animals in need. Support these volunteer rescue organizations by incorporating a similar amendment into the town of Ajax Dog and Cat Bylaw.
In essence we feel the unwavering work and dedication we provide should be viewed as nothing less than an asset to our community and aligns with the overall municipal intent of ensuring that the cats and dogs within the town of Ajax are healthy and well-adjusted pet companions.
A sample of some municipalities that have no limits or have otherwise established foster care exemptions:
Hamilton – exemption for animals in foster care
Kawartha Lakes - no animal limit
Kingston – no animal limit
London – exemption for animals in foster care
Markham - exemption for animals in foster care
Toronto – exemption for animals in foster care
Oshawa - exemption for animals in foster care
Ottawa – exemption for animals in foster care
We therefore seek the town to amend the current by-law to provide a foster pet exemption for registered volunteer organizations.
Town of Ajax Cat and Dog By-law 48-2017
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