Category Archives: animal rights

One Seat, One Fare…Many Victorious

The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected an application by Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz, and Westjet for permission to appeal the new policy imposed by the Canadian Transportation Agency in January of this year.  The CTA  had issued an order to the airlines to adopt a policy of ‘one person, one fare’. In the past, passengers with disabilities and those that are deemed disabled because of obesity, could sometimes be charged two  fares if they required extra space to accommodate their wheelchair, stretcher, or if they required two seats because of their size or if someone required an attendant.  The airlines argued that the CTA order would cause “undue hardship” (implementing this directive would be too costly…the CTA did not buy it and suggested that costs would be recouped by charging an additional 79 cents per ticket).  The airlines will no longer be allowed to charge a second fare to accommodate anyone who requires two seats because of a disability or obesity. This only applies to flights within Canada.

Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians president, Robin East, won a  victory complimentary to the “one seat, one fare” decision in a CTA ruling against Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz in June of 2008.  I know this man. He stands over 6 feet 2 inches tall. He travels a great deal…with his guide dog. He explained to me that sometimes, the airlines (Specifically Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz) would not provide him with adequate space for his guide dog when he traveled. (Airlines would  provide an extra seat (or bulkhead seating on Westjet) as a courtesy, only when the flight was not sold out. (I have flown at least once on all three airlines with Opal. Twice I got the extra seat, once I did not. The time I did not? Not too comfy for us…and I’m 5’2″)  Often, Robin would end up scrunched into a center section seat with his dog wedged between his legs, sometimes for hours. This is a horrendous hardship on the dog, the handler and the adjacent passengers don’t care for it much either).  As a result of the ruling, these airlines must now provide sufficient  floor space for registered service dogs who fly with their handlers (within Canada) on all aircraft that have over 30 seats.

Hey! Wise Advice For Buddy On Quinpool Road

I know you probably won’t be reading this yourself, not having a computer or even a place to call home or anything, but I need to ‘share’.  That’s right, homeless guy, I’m counting on someone to enlighten you on this. Here’s the thing, buddy. You may have time on your hands like warts and find that sitting outside a busy Quinpool road supermarket on a Saturday is a good way to kill a few hours and panhandle some bucks, but you really need to do something about your dogs. I’m talking specifically about the pit bull that ‘got away’ from you as we (me, Opal and my sweetie, LA) were walking down the sidewalk… the one that was gunning down the pavement, hackles raised and focused  on attacking my guide dog, Opal. Yeah, the one my sweetie blocked  (impulsively and foolishly) with two kneecaps and a big sac of groceries. I’m talking about the one you lost track of ’cause you were busy scoring change and fussing with your OTHER mangy  canine  at the time. I’m sure life’s a b..tch for you,  being homeless and all, eh? Too f..ng bad! Your dog  ‘pack’ may be all you have in life, but frankly I don’t give a rat’s ass about them. or the tale of woe that is your life…not when it comes to those out- of- control-canines which you insist on having with you on busy sidewalks filled with children, old people and  other dogs,  including MINE! If you really insist on owning dogs (that’s DOGS- plural), for which you can’t afford food or vet care, then  pack up and do your panhandling elsewhere, like maybe, Miami. The weather is better in the south, there are more shelters, and hey, you will  probably find some dog fighting rings in Florida that would employ the pit bull!

The fact that you were still squatting on the same damn spot on Quinpool road, 3 hours after I first went by,  (dogs still barking viciously at other dogs going by) leads me to believe that you really don’t give a flying f..k about anyone but your miserable self. Watch it, buddy, ’cause if I’m not the one that calls Animal Control, then rest assured,  someone else is bound to call.  Don’t be waiting ’till someone gets their dog’s or kid’s face ripped off before you  decide to move it along.  But then…. it’s not like you’re too worried about liability is it?

and ‘Joefun’? get off my case!

Run Opal, Run…and I REALLY Mean It This Time!!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, service dog handlers, dog lovers, friends and readers; I am pleased and proud to announce that HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality) has approved funding (via a recommendation from the HRM Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities) in the amount of $20,000. towards the creation of an off leash dog park which service dogs and their handlers will have priority use of.   What does this mean? Guide dogs, hearing dogs, special skills dogs, other service dogs and their mums and dads will have a safe, fenced place to go and exercise OFF LEASH. An existing site, already partially fenced has been secured.  The funding will allow for total fencing,  clearing of the area, addition of some seating and refuse bins and posting signs. The location is more than suitable, with bus and ferry service routes nearby. Service dog handlers who require parking will be accommodated as well. Use is not exclusive to service dogs, however signs will indicated that pet dog owners must vacate when a service dog handler wants to use it. A public awareness and education campaign will  hopefully ensure that this is a workable stipulation. The parks department will take care of maintenance.

I have worked on this proposal through its various incarnations over the last two years that I have been on the ACPD, and more so in recent months as the committee’s chairperson. When this dog park is finally established, it will be a first in Canada.  We are the city to watch. We will be the model for all other initiatives seeking  to establish similar facilities in Canadian cities.

When I finally pronounced the outcome of the motion today, Opal rose and stretched. Sure, I know that she was bored, but I like to think that she was showing a little interest. I KNOW she will when I take her to the dog park next year (hopefully fully functional by then) and let her free run. She will go foolish!

Psst, Taxi Driver….

Psst, taxi driver…yeah you, the guy working for Yellow Cab who picked me up the other day. Here’s a tip. Actually, it’s a caution. Don’t ever try to sneak on the additional charge to my fare because you’re counting my REGISTERED GUIDE DOG as an ‘extra passenger’ again. And by the way...my guide dog is NOT A CNIB DOG!!!! There’s no such thing! Nor is Opal a Seeing Eye dog…so stop referring to guide dogs by those very inaccurate names.

HEY!!! Wise Advice For the IDIOT with the Crazy Sausage Dog!

Hey! Yeah, I’m talking to you, babe… the idiot with the yappy wiener dog that jumped Opal today. I’ve had it with you. If you can’t control that nutty knackwurst, you had better stop walking the same sidewalks that  I’M  walking on with Opal. Maybe you think that you have some kind of god-given right to allow your fat, whiny bratwurst to do whatever the hell it pleases, but I’ve got news for you lady: Next time?, I’m tracking you and that jumbo sausage- on- legs down, and I PROMISE that I will report you to animal control. You are very lucky that I was too concerned about MY dog today, or else I would have whacked you upside-the-head on the spot! What were you thinking, allowing that horrible hot dog to attack Opal?????!!!!! You had to see us coming.  You’re the same pinhead who was at the Tim’s coffee shop last week, aren’t you? You left that little lump of liverwurst in the entry way, between the doors! … where it barked, frightened old ladies and would not allow ME AND MY REGISTERED GUIDE DOG to enter!! My wise advice? Keep that annoying and hazardous poor excuse for a pet dog out of our way!

Paul Watson–Eco-terrorist goes too far…again

 Canadian Green Party leader, Elizabeth May announced her resignation from the advisory committee of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society after Paul Watson is quoted as saying,  “the death of seals is an even greater tragedy than the death of four sealers”.  Mr. Watson, a self described Eco-terrorist, repeated this comment today. Conservationists and Environmentalists are dropping their support of Watson.  He made these comments as the funeral of three sealers in Cap-aux-Meulles, a small community in the Madlelaine Islands was taking place. A fourth sealer’s body is missing.  Mr. Watson has rammed, skuttled and sunk fishing vessels all over the world. The names of the ships he has sunk are painted onto the side of one the cement-hulled boats he uses to ram them.  His ships are also armed with high-powered water cannons and protected with barbed wire. He has used acid, explosives and other means to sink or disable “enemy” ships.  His goal to bring an end to the fishing industry has found him brandishing an AK 47.   a Watson was a co-founder of Greenpeace, but splintered off because of the groups ‘impassivity’.  While the world still grieved in the aftermath of 9/11, Watson announced “there is nothing wrong with terrorism, as long as you win”. The eco-terrorist goal is to return the earth to it’s pre-human condition by any means. Watson’s dogmatic and authoritarian ‘love’ of animals coupled with his hatred of humanity has led him to absurdly remark, “earthworms are far more valuable than people”.  His distorted stance of ‘animals first/humans last’ is bizarre and frightening. His claim that he owes no allegiance to humanity is incongruous with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s  (the group he founded) claim that they “are a vehicle to empower people”. I am disgusted and enraged by the words and actions of Paul Watson. I encourage all Canadians to withdraw support from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and any groups Mr. Watson is associated with, including the Sierra Club, until those organizations remove themselves from any association with Mr. Watson.   I think that Farley Mowat, the great Canadian writer and naturalist, should step forward and comment on this, given that Watson’s premiere ship is named the ‘Farley Mowat’.  For the record, the names of the three victims from the fishing vessel,  l’ Acadian II are: Gilles Leblanc, Bruno Bourque, and Marc-Andre Deraspe.  A fourth man is missing and presumed dead. His name is Carl Aucoin. 

Forgive me, Opal

There are times when I lose my mind for a moment. The consequences?  Usually, I say something, born straight out of anger or frustration, that I regret.  The ‘right thing to do’, would  be to pause, breathe, count, essentially anything… except yell at my girl, Opal.  Sure, dogs can frustrate you just as much as kids can. Similarly, it is not acceptable to yell at  (or god forbid, strike) them either. I’m not sure when ‘uman beans’ started running the Big Power Trip on every living creature other than their own species.  Maybe it all began with the post cave guys who had too much time on their hands and started domesticating animals.  In recent decades, our relationship with animals has gone OTT (over the top). Our children have no idea how that chicken nugget from mickey d’s came to be. They may see it move from a huge  box of similar frozen bits, and into the deep fryer (I feel sick already), where it remains until a ‘ding’ or ‘beep’ signals the pimply-faced teenage fry cook to dump them out into the warming table.  The portion controlled amount is scooped into a styro container and handed over to your kid with ample packets of ketchup to disguise the taste of this ‘treat’ you have just paid an obscene amount of money for.  Does your kid know how that ‘chiken’ got into the Mickey D’s food chain?  Do they have any idea how the original bird was kept confined en masse in a miniscule cage until it met its demise?  Do you?  Not likely.  This is a ‘clean blog’, so it suffices to say that it is not a pretty picture.  I believe that the western world’s love affair with meat (and the animals killed in acquiring it), has created a monster industry.  Of course, there are many who have pet animals and claim to love them immensely.  Maybe so, but some people are delusional in their thinking and rationalization of their treatment of pets.  Buying jeweled collars, funny outfits, paying for spa days, silver plated water bowls etc. is an extension of their collection of status accessories.  The urban dweller seems to have lost touch with nature and the respect and care of it.  We encroach on the habitat of many species and  turn their space into ours on our terms. We create fake forests (better known as parks) and justify killing the lost critter who wanders into the city limits, an area which was once their home.  Our relationship with nature is all out of whack.  Sure, we donate to ‘save’ whatever a marketing executive convinces us we should pay our guilt money for.   We listen to the news:  In the 70’s we learned that we experienced the collapse of the cod fishery in Atlantic Canada because of over fishing and bad management. We learn of global warming and climate change now,   but did not  pay attention to the scientists like David Suzuki who has been active in environmental action for decades.  We elect governments who cater to lobbyists with oil interests that do not want to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.  Then, we watch Paul McCartney and his estranged airhead wife, play with seal pups on an ice flow, as they pause for a photo op in their protest about the seal hunt.  The McCartney’s leave and so does the camera crew, but  the baby pup that Linda fondled is left to die by its mother, because now, it has  human stink on it.   While I do not endorse clubbing baby seals, I  am concerned that some Inuit Canadians should be included in the debate over banning the hunt entirely.  I’m sure that the McCartneys and even people like Al Gore pay for ‘carbon credits’ when the jet around the world in their busy schedules saving this or that. I’d rather they stop crapping up the planet with jet fuel, which no amount of trees planted with ‘carbon credit’ money will fix.  The only fix here, is their public image and personal guilt trip.   But I digress.   Back to Opal and why I need to be forgiven.  I often feel conflicted with Opal as my ‘guide’.  I know she loves her life, and her job. But is it fair? She has no say in it.  She was bred, raised, and trained with the ultimate aim of turning her into a Guide dog.   All I can do, is treat her with respect and kindness.  Therefore, yesterday as she was dawdled and sniffed when I gave her an opportunity to relieve before church, and I yelled, “GET BUSY NOW!!!”, out of frustration and fear that I might need to leave Easter service later if she decided that it was the time to relieve, I checked myself.  As always, when I insist too loudly, my sensitive girl simply sat down and stared at me.  I got down on my knees in the snow and apologized to her. I told her it was ok, that we could “try later” and I was sorry I had yelled.  I explained that her mum is a goof sometimes and we went to church where she had a long nap and did not ask to leave.