The effects of holidays on our animal companions

This article discusses the impact that holidays can have on our animal companions.  According to animal behaviouralist Dr. Dr Sarah Millsopp, the change in routine can prove extremely stressful for dogs in particular.  Those of us who have animal companions can attest to how stressed our friends can become when we travel, or have new people in our homes. Animals can become aggressive if their routines change.  Some of my former feline companions would get depressed when I travelled, and would ignore me for a day or two when I got home, then would stick to me like glue.  Bringing new people into your homes can be very traumatic for our animal friends.  In my case, for example, my cats are used to a very quiet, calm, orderly home, where routines are followed, for all our sakes.  When someone new comes into our home, my cats are skittish and hide; some of my previous cats would simply see this as an excuse for more attention, but Atticus and Calpurnia are shy around strangers.  The worst thing I can do is to try to force them to come out; it’s a shame, of course, because people always want to see these two black beauties, but I respect the cats’ wishes to be left alone.

The article concludes by saying: People don’t always realise how serious aggression in pets is. When an animal is aggressive, it is a last resort. Aggression risks injury so that means an aggressive animal is at the end of their tether, and responsible owners must act to resolve those issues. It’s so important to not punish your animal companion for aggressive behaviour, as I think this will lead to further aggression, but to determine the root cause of the aggression.

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2015 Canadian Animal Protection Laws Rankings

A new in-depth study released by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (A U.S. agency) shows confirms the wide disparity that exists across Canada in terms of provincial and territorial animal protection legislation, as summarized in the graphic below:

2015-canadian-rankings-map-web-1000pxThe full report can be found here. I am pleased to see that my home province (Ontario) and my province of residence (Nova Scotia) are in the top tier.  According to the report:

Nova Scotia shows the most significant improvement, moving from fourth to second position. Nova Scotia’s  improved ranking is attributable to its enactment of stiffer maximum penalties, with animal abusers now facing  fines up to 75,000$ and imprisonment for up to two years for a third or subsequent offence. The province also  broadened the range of protections benefitting animals, including protection against being kept in unsanitary  conditions and protection from abandonment that is likely to cause distress. Additionally, Nova Scotia’s  amended legislation now explicitly recognizes animals’ ability to suffer psychologically.

The graphic below, taken from the report, shows a summary of animal-welfare legislation enacted in our provinces and territories since the report was first published in 2008:

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