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Updated By-laws Now Some of the Best in Canada

Submitted by Christine Whelan

Photo by Christine Whelan

JUNE 24, 2021 VOL. 2 ISSUE 22

Jamielee Vail is excited with this next step that has been taken towards a system of animal care, control and protection that she can be proud to know is a part of her own community.

Vail began, “When the by-law was first written by Ms. Friedman, the animal rights lawyer the Town hired, and Mr. Heindrich, the veterinarian the Town hired, they wrote it from an animal rights’ and vet’s perspective, it was debated the first night it came to Council for a few hours because it’s a huge by-law and there was a lot to talk about.

“In the first reading, it was debated on, points were taken out from the original by-law, then there were new points put in.

“The one that was last Monday, on the 31st, was the second reading of the by-law. This time it came back to Council, written. All the Councillors, with exception of one, voted for it. The Mayor declared a conflict because of his connection to Safari Niagara so he didn’t vote.”

Brought Up To Modern Times

“There were so many changes. Ours were very outdated. And so, they brought them up to modern times,  and actually made them some of the best in Canada.”

Jamielee said its kind of like growing pains. “It’s going to take time now for people to navigate and learn because it’s new.”

With a smile, “To me, this is the good part. Yes, it’s good on the whole scale, that the by-laws were changed because they were so outdated. But to me, what the real goal is, not only did those change, but there were rules that changed that are going to go forward, in the new contract, for whomever gets it — because it will be put out to tender next year — will never get to do the things that were happening there before. There will be strict rules against them.”

One example of these rules is, as Jamielee explained, no longer can there be untrained staff expected to euthanize animals. It has to be administered by a certified vet tech or a veterinarian in good standing.

“So I think that’s huge.” Jamielee commented. “Because things don’t always go right. There were no written procedures on what has to be done.” Just instructions passed down from person to person to person. And like the telephone game, details and measurements were skewed.

“The change in by-laws are in place now. The staff at the SPCA have to follow them. But the rules that were changed in the contract will come into play once the new contractor takes over, whomever that will be.”

When discussing some of the good points in the changes, Vail shared, “There are by-laws about tethering and about dogs in hot cars now. A lot of these things never existed in by-laws before, when Fort Erie last addressed their own.”

The by-laws cover all animals now, including wildlife and exotic animals.

“It now also covers rescues. One of the things that was discussed was allowing people on agricultural property to open up rescues.” Originally, Jamielee said, permission had to be granted by the SPCA.

“I am excited about the by-laws but I am more excited about the new Animal Control Contract because that’s what’s going to define what people can and can’t do when they’re on contract with the Town. Now there are clearer guidelines for doing certain things, like how many feet you can tether a dog to. There is still more that has to be written for the animal control part.

Another change the volunteer shared, “Now, when you go onto the SPCA site, there’s an email where you can contact the Board of Directors. We had been asking for that for a long time.”

“It’s like anything. You have to have a base to go first, and when there’s no base to go off of, it becomes hard to build on. So, now there’s a base.”

Next step? “The Animal Control Contract can now be created. They needed the by-laws to create the contract.”

Vail expressed an opinion which provides a little perspective. “If there had been by-laws that were this good before, when I came to the Town with what was happening at the SPCA, the SPCA would have been in breach of the by-laws and things might have played out a little differently.”

Jamielee wants to acknowledge that the Mayor and Council put much time and energy into all that had to be done. “I know there were very late nights for them and they had to do a lot of research.” And for this, she is truly grateful.

For follow ups visit the Facebook page of Create Change at F.E. SPCA

Photos provided by Jamielee Vail

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