Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Reader Mail: Kill The Geese

- March 14th, 2014

A mother goose and her baby gosling enjoy a free snack near Dows Lake in this file picture taken May 22, 2011. TONY CALDWELL/OTTAWA SUN/QMI AGENCY

Here’s the thing: When you shoo geese from the beach, they go somewhere else.

I asked Orléans Coun. Bob Monette this week if he has received any complaints about the Goosebuster drone, which was deployed at Petrie Island Beach last year. Monette said the only complaints came from people upset that the geese were escaping to farmers’ fields.

With that in mind, I received the following email today from a reader:

It really upsets me that my tax dollars are going to pay someone to chase geese off our beaches and onto my farmland.  The real problem is that there are way too many geese and when they move into an area they can do a lot of damage to our wheat, hay, and corn crops. I have to chase them off  our farmland on my dime and them the city turns around and chase them off the beaches on my dime to. There needs to be a cull on these pests, like a spring goose hunt, and increase the number of birds a hunter can take at a time. The Americans have been rounding them up in places like New York and Chicago on their parkland and gassed them and gave the meat to the food banks. Makes more sense to me. Come on Council , deal with the real problem  Too many geese.

I wasn’t familiar with goose gassing, but indeed, it’s something that has been done in New York. However, in these cases it’s to prevent bird strikes by airplanes, especially after the “Miracle on the Hudson”.

I can’t imagine “too much goose poop” and “not enough beach time” would be accepted reasons for a Canada Goose cull here. Even if there was more hunting, it looks like the birds know where to go to avoid bullets. Places like Petrie Island.

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

Draft Wildlife Policy Under Fire

- May 13th, 2013

The Ontario Wildlife Coalition really doesn’t like how the city has handled the task of building a new wildlife strategy.

Ottawa’s Continued War on Wildlife

What is really behind the decision to turn the Wildlife
Strategy over to the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee?

Community members just window dressing
in a wildlife strategy shadow-boxing exercise

May 13, 2013: For over two years community members of the Wildlife Strategy Working Group believed that they were following Council’s direction to develop a progressive and comprehensive wildlife strategy for Ottawa. As it turned out they were wrong – they were just window dressing.

“It appears that the Eastern Ontario Deer Advisory Committee (EODAC) who was not even a member of the Working Group had more pull,” said Donna DuBreuil, President, Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre and spokesperson for the Ontario Wildlife Coalition. “EODAC, an advocacy group for hunting interests, submitted an “alternative strategy” described by a city staff person as your “basic trappers’ manifesto” and bingo, Mayor Jim Watson decides to hand off the City’s entire Wildlife Strategy to the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee (ARAC). This is the same Committee whose Chair has made it abundantly clear that lethal management is a front and centre option. The Mayor did this despite the fact that Council’s direction was to hold a joint meeting of the Planning and Environment Committee (PEC) and ARAC.

“We obtained correspondence through Freedom of Information that shows the Wildlife Strategy was on track to be placed on the agendas of the Environment and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees. A briefing note was sent out by the City Manager’s office at 4:11 p.m. on December 2, 2011 that laid out a detailed schedule of when the Strategy would be reviewed by the Working Group and internal staff before going to these committees,” said Liz White, Director, Animal Alliance of Canada and spokesperson, Ontario Wildlife Coalition. “Then, less than an hour later the mayor’s Senior Policy Advisor put the brakes on the plan, saying ‘I would like to chat about the timings on Monday…..also would like to know who has been consulted so far. There were some very reasonable input during the deluge and some balanced offers to help develop the strategy’. It is telling that there have been no further meetings of the Working Group since then.”

“We believe the decision taken in the mayor’s office is connected to the EODAC proposal submitted through the Rural Affairs Office. This proposal which has never been made public, although the Coalition has obtained a copy through FOI, is completely contradictory to the intent of the Working Group’s Wildlife Strategy in that it categorizes all urban wildlife as ‘nuisances’ and fair game for lethal removal”, said Donna DuBreuil, President of the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre and a spokesperson for the Coalition.

In a letter responding to the Coalition last week, Mayor Watson defended his decision to hand over the Wildlife Strategy to ARAC, stating it has the mandate for wildlife, as approved by City Council in early 2011. See attached link (see 8.g)http://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/your-city-government/standing-committees/agriculture-and-rural-affairs-committee.

“There is nothing in these terms of reference nor in the discussion or council minutes to support the Mayor’s claim that this authority would encompass general city-wide wildlife concerns” said DuBreuil. “It is, in fact, explicit that ARAC will ‘be responsible directly to Council for those items outside the urban boundary’. The Mayor should implement Council’s motion for a joint meeting and not try to justify what is simply a wrong-headed decision.”

“The Council motion reflected the fact that the vast majority of wildlife issues are urban/suburban concerns, as they are in all large cities. It would be entirely inappropriate that urban wildlife issues be determined by agricultural circumstances and the very different response used in agricultural areas. Imagine the huge and rightful uproar if urban and suburban councillors were to dictate a wildlife response for the agricultural community”, said Anita Utas, a Stittsville resident.

“Many Ottawa residents are concerned because the Wildlife Strategy has a major bias in its flawed reporting lines and little in the way of projects that go beyond window dressing. The creation of a Wildlife Biologist position reporting to ARAC and costing $100,000 a year will not solve urban wildlife concerns and is an unacceptable waste of tax dollars”, said Utas.

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City Hall Vs. Rats

- August 30th, 2011

Rats are now under siege at City Hall!

The city has placed some bait boxes around the bushes and garbage cans where the rodents have been spotted.

Coun. Diane Holmes’s office overlooks the area and has been like a hawk trying to spot the rats. She even went down with her staff to get a closer look, but alas, couldn’t find any critters.

Maybe those bait boxes are doing the job.

The city now might want to take a look at this door leading out to the area.

It seems to have a problem closing and I would hate to write on a rat infestation moving into City Hall. Just hate it.

Little Appetite For Pet Ban In Stores

- April 21st, 2011

This story about a dog biting a woman’s nose at a Home Depot has received a lot of attention, even from the international press.

I read some of the comments on the Sun story and wondered, as some people recommended, if there’s any appetite at City Hall to ban animals from retail stores (there is already a prohibition at restaurants).

The community and protective services (CPS) committee oversees animal bylaw issues, so I asked a few councillors on the committee what they think.

Fair to say there’s not much appetite.

Somerset Coun. Diane Holmes, who also chairs the new public health board, didn’t think the city needs to clamp down based on one incident.

“I don’t think we need to jump,” Holmes said.

Bay Coun. Mark Taylor, who chairs the CPS committee, agreed that writing more regulations isn’t the answer to making sure people control their pets.

Pretty much the same sentiment from Kitchissippi Coun. Katherine Hobbs.

Dog bite stories like these always ignite heated debates on our website. The attention on this incident is compounded by another story just days earlier about a pit bull killing a Shih Tzu.

For the latest on the Home Depot bite, check out Sun reporter Jamie Long’s story today.