No Help for
Friday August 29, 2003 Kanata Kourier Standard
Written by: Donna DuBreuil
A Kanata resident
found to her great dismay the other evening that there was no help available for
an injured baby raccoon that had been hit by a car. Calls to the Ottawa Humane
Society, the City of Ottawa and a veterinary clinic told her it was an “offence”
to try to help the animal – all they could do was euthanize it regardless of its
injuries because of new regulations by the Ontario Ministry of Natural
It is sad enough that the Tory
Government and its Ministry of Natural Resources have created such an inhumane
environment in this province but is worse still that the City and organizations
supposedly concerned about animal welfare have not challenged the absurd
regulations and fear-mongering that the MNR uses to support its bloated budget
in the name of rabies control. Particularly when such inhumane regulations
are unprecedented in North
If, as the saying goes, “you
can judge a society by the way it treats its animals”, Ottawa has fallen
very short of the mark.
Re: Fawn hit by car
renews calls for Wildlife Centre
Thursday July 31, 2003 Nepean This Week
Written by: Linda Steele
I was heartbroken to read Derek Dunn's story on July
18th regarding the
poor fawn that was struck by a car and the fact that
there was no
facility to take it to in Ottawa for treatment and
is yet another example of why we need our Ottawa
Centre reopened as soon as possible.
In the Ottawa
exists a number of dedicated wildlife rehabilitators and
would be ready and willing to once again work at the
The Centre was a wonderful model to other cities and its
resulted in the deaths of many orphaned and injured
The public has never been given a satisfactory answer as
to why the animals at the Centre were seized by the
Ministry of Natural Resources last fall and the Centre
subsequently closed down.
I think that it is disgraceful that a city, such as
Ottawa, blessed with an abundance of beautiful green spaces
and wildlife does not have a place to care for its injured
We need the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre
25th June 2003.
To: Ottawa City Councillors and our MPP Norm Sterling
From: Christine Lowrie
On Monday 23rd June we found a squirrel in our backyard. Not an uncommon
occurrence. This time though, the squirrel was in distress, appearing to have a
seizure, possibly close to death, we weren't sure.
It was terrible. We felt helpless. In the past we would have phoned
the wildlife centre and be given advice by competent and confident
I called the City Information Line and received a voicemail message
me that all staff were busy with so much work to do, and that I should
again in an off-peak period. Not too helpful!
There are a lot of people who care about our wildlife. What can they
do? A sorry state of affairs.
There is a website. It is not enough. Totally inadequate.
I found on the web that you (the city) have a 'Keen to be Green' program.
"As the City of Ottawa grows, habitat for urban wildlife diminishes.
This development can lead to human wildlife discord but the impact can
be diminished if certain practices are followed."
Surely one of the 'practices' should be support of the 'wildlife
centre'. They played such an important role in rescuing animals and
also in educating the public so helping to reduce the 'discord'.
Who is doing it now? Noone. As I've already mentioned, even your
information line is overloaded.
To quote Alex Munter- "This is a basic matter of common
sense," says Coun. Alex Munter.
"There was a need that generated
the service and the need has not
I gather that we had one of the best wildlife response services in
North America until the Ministry of Natural Resources decided to take
Why are we giving in to this dictatorial provincial government?
There is a lot of information around the MNR interference- Richard Patten sums
Ottawa Centre MPP Richard
Patten says the ministry's actions
are based on "dubious and shaky
research assumptions" that have
left the city void of a crucial
Last year the centre rescued 1000 animals. I don't know how many phone calls
they took giving information. Is the city now going to deal with this? It
doesn't sound like a very efficient use of funds.
Did I hear today that the city is giving somewhere up in the millions of
dollars for the Congress Centre?
Please do all you can to re-instate the Ottawa/Carleton Wildlife Centre.
The squirrel died.
Huge budget for war
on rabies is unjustified
Thursday, May 29, 2003,
The Ottawa Citizen
Written by: Donna DuBreuil
Re: Ontario goes to war on rabies, May 25.
This Citizen article tries to justify the Ontario Ministry
of Natural Resources' faltering campaign to depict raccoon
rabies as a "killer" disease.
The facts tell a very different story. In spite of the
prevalence of this disease as it has moved up the eastern
seaboard of the United States for the past 30 years, no human
has ever died of raccoon rabies.
Given the thousands of positive-tested animal cases in very
densely human-populated areas, some now believe this indicates
that humans may not even contract raccoon rabies.
Ontario has had fewer than 120 positive animal cases of
raccoon rabies since the disease entered the province three
years ago. And taxpayers have every right to expect this
disease to be under control, given the millions of tax dollars
spent annually in this province since the early 1990s to do
Ohio has had better success using an oral rabies vaccine:
It cost less and did not require the killing thousands of
healthy animals as in Ontario.
The MNR's fear-mongering is all about the major threat to
its $2-million annual budget for its raccoon rabies program in
the face of declining cases of raccoon rabies and increasing
competition for government funds from serious human-risk
diseases such as West Nile virus, SARS and Mad Cow disease.
Since no one has ever died of raccoon rabies, we need to
insist that the Ontario government re-evaluate its tactics and
its spending to control it.
Donna DuBreuil, Ottawa
Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre
International Fund for
Animal Welfare letter to Premier Eves
May 8 2003
The Honourable Ernie Eves
Premier of Ontario
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
Dear Premier Eves,
On behalf of the 50,000 members of the International Fund
for Animal Welfare, I am writing to you with great concern
regarding the mishandling of the 34 raccoons, 4 skunks and 1
fox seized from the Ottawa Carleton Wildlife Centre last
September. We demand that you do a full investigation into
this case that has resulted in two of the animals dying, one
being relocated to a zoo and, most shockingly, the rest of the
animals being released in a “rabies hot zone” tens of
kilometres away from the initial sites where they were found.
In July 2002
the Ministry of Natural Resources instituted a new
Ontario-wide 1km restriction on the release of all
rehabilitated animals in Ontario. However, in a press
release dated May 2 2003 the Ministry admits that the
surviving animals taken from Ottawa “have
been released in suitable, natural habitat on
Crown land in southeastern Ontario”.
The Ministry seems incapable of following their own
regulations and restrictions. If any other wildlife
rehabilitator in Ontario broke this restriction it would
result in the immediate confiscation of their permit.
Furthermore, how can the Ministry possibly defend the long
distance relocation of animals initially from a county with no
record of rabies to a county with several reported cases of
rabies and an active depopulation program?
Prior to the
animals being released an Ottawa judge commented that it would
be in the best interest of the animals to be returned for a
brief four-week period of rehabilitation at the OCWC. Experts
were worried that these animals would be unable to survive in
the wild as the raccoons were housed separately and in cages
one-third the size required under international standards for
wildlife rehabilitation. Without proper caging and
environmental enrichment the musculature and skeletal
development of an animal could be compromised and jeopardize
its ability to survive in the wild. Furthermore, no
responsible wildlife rehabilitator would allow an animal to
become so tame that it would be unreleasable. It is obvious
that the Ministry does not understand that fundamentals of
wildlife rehabilitation. To release the animals as they
were was both inhumane and irresponsible
The Ontario Government must provide a humane example of the
treatment of wildlife in Ontario. MNR staff are making a
mockery of their own rules and regulations and are an
embarrassment to the Ontario Government.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is a
non-profit, global animal welfare organisation. We are
staffed by more than 200 experienced campaigners, educators,
legal and communications experts, and internationally
acclaimed scientists working from offices in 13 countries
around the world, with a solid base of two million supporters.
Emergency Relief Representative
Note: A copy of the letter with a cover page
requesting parties to follow-up with the Tory government was
sent to all Ontario party leaders, MNR critics as well as the
Liberal party candidates for the OCWC riding.
bureaucrats rob us of our natural treasures
May 21, 2003, The Ottawa Citizen
Written by: Peter Joyce
Re: ‘Animal lover’ worries sick squirrel will die if no
one steps in to help, May 15.
Could there be a reader in Ottawa who picked up the Citizen
and did not shed a tear for the sight of a dying squirrel in a
young girl’s arms?
Have we sunk to such depths of degradation that we can
allow petty bureaucracy to rob us of our most treasured
resource? What Ottawa resident has not revelled in the
sight of a fellow creature, albeit more furred than we are,
bounding about our fair city?
We have known since last autumn that our protector of
animals, the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre, has been closed
down by needless red tape.
I intend to lobby my politicians to take action. It
is incumbent upon every resident to do the same thing.
Written: May 8, 2003 by Adele Brand, Surrey, U.K.
I wish to voice my outrage at the appalling treatment of
vulnerable animals unjustly seized by the MNR.
If it was inexplicable to suddenly remove vaccinated
raccoons from an area without rabies, it was heinous to keep
sentient creatures in cages so small and lacking in
stimulation that most zoos would not have tolerated them. But
even that has been overshadowed by the release of these
animals into an area where rabies is present and the MNR is
currently killing all raccoons. Why? What was the motive
behind releasing the raccoons there?
Here in Europe, rabies has been largely eliminated through
oral vaccine baits. The Texas Department of Health announced
in January this year it would drop over one million oral
vaccines. There are ways to control this disease without
alienating yourselves from the public and flagrantly
disregarding animal welfare.
The MNR would appear to have been misleading the public
over the whole issue. How can I therefore trust the MNR on any
topic? From assurances that the wolf population is
stable without scientific proof, to the unquestionable bias
towards sport hunting in the management of Ontario's wildlife,
your department is simply losing its credibility.
I strongly urge you to rediscover compassion in your
treatment of wildlife. In the short-term, a public inquiry
into the MNR's handling on this situation must take place. In
the long-term, measures that ensure this tragedy is never
repeated must be created and heeded. You have seriously
tainted my opinion of your province.
I look forward to your response.
Chaldon, Surrey, U.K.
Written: April 29, 2003 by Eric Snyder
I was very pleased to hear that you made an appearance on
CFRA yesterday morning, April 28th, and commited publically to
resolving the situation concerning the rehab of the animals
seized from the Ottawa Carleton Wildlife Centre
last year. But, I was just a little surprised to hear that
you said that this was the first that you've heard about this
issue, since, in response to an earlier email I had sent to
your attention, you personally signed a letter to me on April
11, 2003 in which you stated "...I appreciate having this
matter brought to my personal attention."
Although you had forwarded my e-mail on to Minister Jerry
J. Ouellette, the Ministry still has these animals in
captivity at the Codrington Research Centre in substandard
cages. I am quite honestly baffled by the wide latitude
given to the bureaucrats in MNR by your government to
seemingly do as they please. They seem to have an
endless budget of taxpayers money for legal expenses to
aggressively defend their actions in court. Last
week, Ontario Court Justice Jolicoeur, in his deliberation on
this case, stated that returning the animals to the OCWC for a
brief period of rehabilitation "would be in the best interest
of the animals". He also questioned why the MNR was so opposed
to having these animals receive rehabilitation before their
release. But, although he verbally expressed these views, he
was unable, legally, to have the animals returned to the
Wildlife Centre. It seems that a political solution will
I do hope you will quickly get all the facts on this issue
before you, do the right thing, and insist that the animals
unnecessarily seized by OMNR be returned to the
Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre for a brief period of rehab so
they can be returned to the wild.
With due respect, MNR's actions continue to be an issue
that will not go away here in Eastern Ontario. There is
no cost to having these animals returned, rehabbed and
responsibly released. But there could be a big benefit
in terms of public opinion and restoring public trust in
government in our region. With a provincial
election growing closer, voters in this region will look more
kindly on your party if you step in, take control of a
bureaucracy seemingly without control, and have these animals
Please don't just sit
back and do nothing...
Thursday March 27, 2003 Nepean This Week
Written by: Eric Snyder
Please don't just sit back and do nothing...
The 40 animals seized from the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife
Centre last year have been caged separately in the OMNR
Peterborough Codrington Research facility for the past seven
months. This is cruel and inhumane treatment for
sociable animals. It is crucial to get them back into the
hands of experienced rehabilitators as soon as possible before
they can be released into the wild.
The staff of the OCWC want them back now, but the decision
to return the animals now is a political one. The courts
have been sympathetic, but there just isn't time to wait for
the wheels of justice to move the next step!
used the law to save its budget, jobs
Monday March 10, 2003 The Ottawa Citizen
Written by: Donna DuBreuil
Re: Animal 'foster parents' fined $700, Feb. 28.
The statement by Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
spokeswoman Jol-anta Kowalsk that "the law was upheld" needs a
Laws are simply policies: If they are based on
misrepresented facts, they need to be challenged. The
story on charges laid against the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife
Centre by the Ministry of Natural Resources demonstrates that.
The MNR expanded the raccoon rabies high-risk zone to
include Ottawa on misrepresented facts. It then abused the
process by filing an Environmental Bill of Rights to support
the expansion that eliminated any public discussion on the
basis that a delay “would result in a danger to the health or
safety of the public by increasing the risk of contracting
rabies”. How discreditable and insulting given that no one in
North America has ever died of raccoon rabies and the few
remaining cases at the time of the expansion had moved even
further away from Ottawa.
The thousands of positive-tested animals in densely
populated areas in the U.S. prompted some, even within the MNR,
to question whether humans can contract raccoon rabies.
The real story here is not about protecting public health.
It is about the MNR trying to save its jobs and $2-million
annual budget in the face of dramatically declining rabies
cases and increasing competition for government funds from
serious human-risk diseases like West Nile. Using the law and
animals as pawns to achieve this is simply unacceptable.
Editor's note: Ms. DuBreuil, president of the
Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre, was fined for refussing to
surrender animals to the MNR officers last summer.
Wednesday March 05, 2003 The Ottawa Citizen
Written by: Brian Newman
Re: Animal 'foster parents' fined $700, Feb. 28.
The fine issued to two animal protectors who did their best
to save some innocent lives is a shameful mark on our
so-called justice system. I suggest that some group or
business set up collection boxes so the public can donate to
pay the $700 fine these two good people received. I think
donations in pennies should be requested as this terrible
judgment should be paid in our most trivial currency. The
pennies would also signify just how many people object to the
While this letter can be considered my two cents worth, I
will be more than happy to donate pennies to the fund.
Any injustice needs a strong public outcry. If not,
injustice tends to become a habit of those who think they can
get away with it.
Letter of the Day
Monday, March 3, 2003 The Ottawa Sun
Written by: Peter Joyce
I CORRESPOND with people throughout the length and breadth
of our glorious country. One of my greatest prides is telling
them about the wide variety of wildlife that live within our
city limits. They envy us for the natural blessing that has
been bestowed upon us. They think that Ottawa is truly a
special place in which to live. So do I.
I was very worried when the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre
was forced to close down at the end of last year due to
bureaucratic meddling by the Ministry of Natural Resources and
lack of support by municipal politicians. I am even more
worried now that mating season has begun, and spring birthing
will follow close at hand. The centre performed a vital role
in our region. To whom will our furred friends turn now when
they need assistance?
Shame on the bureaucrats and politicians for terminating an
essential service. Shame on us for allowing it to happen. It
is not too late to reverse the situation, though. We need the
centre to reopen, and the sooner the better. I for one plan to
write to my municipal councillor, my MPP and the Ministry of
Editor Comment: (A sad example of politics taking over--and
not just on the government side)
Wildlife Centre's warning
Monday March 03, 2003 The
Written by: Kim Elmslie
Re: We're about to become 'killing municipality', Feb. 26.
The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has done a
spectacularly pitiful job of taking care of Ottawa's wildlife.
This article raises the threat of exactly the result advocates
for the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre warned us about when
they were forced to shut their doors: Because there is no
authority on safely and effectively dealing with wildlife in
the city, thousands of animals will suffer needlessly.
Should Ottawa citizens stumble upon a surprise litter of
squirrels in the attic, or a nightly visit from raccoons
rifling through the garbage, there is almost nothing they can
do but trap and release the nuisance animal, leaving its
newborn babies to die.
They could enlist the help of a for-profit animal-removal
service. Since they are in the business of charging for the
removal of nuisance animals, few of these operations have the
animal's interest as their first priority. Removing the animal
can result in a painful, slow death for it.
The Ottawa Wildlife Centre was considered among the most
progressive centres of its kind in North America. A 24-hour
hotline was available to answer any kind of question relating
to wildlife in and around the city. This stellar service was
quashed along with the centre.
Instead of taking draconian measures to contain a
hypothetical rabies situation and leaving an aftermath of
rubble, the MNR could have taken advantage of having within
its jurisdiction a team of caring and able experts who
monitored and dealt with the ever-perplexing issue of living
International Fund for Animal Welfare
care for the orphaned and injured wildlife ?
Friday February 14, 2003 The Weekly Journal & The
Written by: Yasmin Jackson
The loss of the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre(OCWC) will
have a major impact on this community. The Centre has helped
thousands of residents deal with wildlife problems caused by
development, and I myself have called upon them for assistance
many times over the last 15 years. Most of the problems arise
during spring, and as we get closer to that time, I am
wondering, where will I go now when I find orphaned and
injured wildlife ?
This vital volunteer service has been lost as a result of
the senseless regulations - unique in North America - and
gestapo-like tactics of the Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resources (OMNR). Concerned organizations have refuted the
Ministry's rationale for the expansion of the high-risk zone
to include Ottawa, using the MNR's own web-site map to show
that the cases it portrayed in an attempt to justify the
expansion, simply did not exist. The Canadian Federation of
Humane Societies has exposed the MNR's inhumane and costly
"depopulation" program, which has slaughtered 8,000-10,000
animals over the last three years, almost all of them (99.8%)
Expanding the risk zone will create a multitude of problems
and costs for our community, and the new OMNR regulations will
not curtail wildlife rehabilitation. They will simply drive it
underground, and the lack of control will result in
significant public health risks.
The unjustified actions taken by the OMNR in confiscating
the OCWC animals are appalling. These animals were rescued as
small babies well before the bogus expansion of the high-risk
zone; they were fully vaccinated and had been in care for
months beyond any disease incubation period. Even more
sickening, they are currently in a government research
facility and have been isolated from one another in
contravention of basic humane rehabilitation standards.
For many of us, the OMNR's abuse of power and arrogant
disregard of public opinion has rocked our confidence in this
Ministry, in fact, in the entire provincial government. Brian
Coburn needs to collaborate with his Tory colleagues to
resolve this disgraceful situation and return the animals to
the Centre for proper care. This would be the first step in
rebuilding the trust that has been lost. If the OMNR is so out
of control that even our elected members cannot persuade the
bureaucrats to do this very simple thing, then obviously we
have a decision to make at the upcoming election.
Bring back the raccoons
Monday Feb. 10, 2003 The Ottawa Citizen
Written by: Ernie Parsons, Liberal MPP for Prince
On Sept. 12, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources staff
raided the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre, confiscated
animals and frightened the staff.
It appeared that the ministry's agenda was to create a
crisis using rabies as a pretext to extend the high-risk area
into the Ottawa region. This was clearly an overreaction,
given there were only six cases of raccoon rabies in the
province last year.
It is incomprehensible that, even today, the government
continues to hold the animals at its Codrington research
facility, 240 kilometres southwest of Ottawa. It is
particularly disturbing that it was confirmed the healthy
raccoons are being caged separately, a practice that is
indirect contravention of the standards of care prescribed by
Wildlife experts from Canada and the United States are
appalled that the healthy raccoons, social animals by nature,
are not being wintered in groups. Experts tell me what the MNR
is doing is unthinkable and will likely result in the animals
perishing following their release into the wild.
All of the confiscated animals were healthy and had been
vaccinated against rabies. The vaccine had been supplied by
the ministry. It is difficult to understand, given that the
minister of natural resources recently stated that the animals
are in good health, why the Eves government refuses to return
the animals to the wildlife centre in Ottawa.
The seized animals have been in quarantine for three times
the recognized incubation period for raccoon rabies to
develop. If the MNR were really concerned with wildlife
rehabilitation and the welfare of the animals, it would
immediately release these animals to the care of the wildlife
Liberal MPP for Prince Edward-Hastings
Wildlife Crisis Looming
Thursday Feb. 6, 2003 Nepean This Week
Derek Dunn - Editor
Written by: Eric Snyder
As Nepean This Week points out, the loss of the
Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre will have a major impact on
our community. The Centre helped thousands of residents deal
with wildlife problems caused by development in a humane way.
With spring rapidly approaching, people will be looking for
help for orphaned and injured wildlife. Where will they go?
Concerned local organizations and residents, including
Liberal MPP, Richard Patten, recently told the City of
Ottawa’s Health Committee that the Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resources (MNR) and its senseless regulations and bully-boy
tactics are responsible for the loss of this important
Organizations refuted the Ministry’s rationale for the
expansion of the high-risk zone to include Ottawa, using the
MNR’s own web-site map to show that the cases it portrayed in
an attempt to justify the expansion, simply did not exist. The
Canadian Federation of Humane Societies exposed the MNR’s
“depopulation” program in killing 8,000-10,000 animals over
the last three years – almost all (99.8%) of them healthy – as
an inhumane, costly and unprecedented slaughter.
Most concerning is that MNR’s inhumane regulations, not
imposed elsewhere in North America, will disallow responsible
rehabilitation in this area, forcing compassionate but
ill-equipped residents to care for wildlife, creating more
risks for animals and people in the process.
Is this the best the Ontario Government can do?
Conservative MPP, John Baird, should do more than wring his
hands and acknowledge the problem. He needs to get his
Conservative caucus colleagues to get this fixed! Remember
these words of Gandhi Mr. Baird --
“You can judge a society by the way it treats its animals
Return the seized animals
Wednesday, January 29, 2003 The Ottawa Citizen
Written by: Yasmin Jackson
I was shocked to learn that the Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resources still has the animals it seized from the
Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre last summer. As the centre has
pointed out, there was absolutely no justification for these
animals to be taken in the first place. They were rescued as
small babies from within Ottawa where there has never been a
case of raccoon rabies; they had been received well before the
bogus expansion of the high-risk zone; they were fully
vaccinated and had been in care for months beyond any disease
It was particularly distressing to hear that these animals
are being kept in a government research facility and that they
have been separated from one another in contravention of basic
humane rehabilitation standards. What a disgrace.
I call on Tory MPPs in this area to do the decent thing and
ensure that these animals are returned to the area wildlife
rehabilitators for proper care.
Wildlife Chasing Can
Thursday, January 23, 2003 The Ottawa Citizen
Written by: Sandra Bauer
It is heartening that the Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resources (MNR) is considering adjusting its regulations so
that the Ottawa Carleton Wildlife Centre may be able to
re-open its doors to all species in need before the spring
onslaught (Wildlife centre hopes to rise 'from ashes', January
17, 2003). A significant component of the "due diligence" to
which Chris Davies refers in his desire to rid the province of
rabies, however, remains overdue. Under Ontario's Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Act (FWCA) the MNR permits people to
chase wildlife across the landscape for "sport": wildlife that
includes species that carry rabies and other diseases. Packs
of excited radio-collared dogs may be used to pursue animals
across considerable distances, well beyond the 1km that
wildlife rehabilitation centres are confined to when they need
to transport and release injured or rehabilitated wildlife.
If the Ministry is serious about due diligence, they must
amend the FWCA to disallow the recreational chasing of
wildlife. If they refuse, then they must reinstate wildlife
rehabilitation centres' ability to humanely relocate their
animals. The Ministry of Natural Resources simply can't have
it both ways.
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