Career woman and mayoral candidate Caroline Sheppard (Amanda Langille) is determined to find her family's stolen dog, Dinah. Given a lead by an animal welfare activist, Caroline risks her safety and reputation and alienates her family as she searches for Dinah in the underground hell of puppy breeding mills and research laboratories. But when she confronts a brutal dog-fighting ring her courage inspires her family to reunite and help her rescue their pet. 

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It’s a Dog’s Life for Stray Cats

Published on August 30, 2012 by in Blog

There’s a colony of cats outside my building.  Neighbours want them culled.  I’m against this.  It’s not their fault.  An unneutered male got an unspayed female pregnant.  Now there are four little black kittens and a black mother, about six months old.  Black cats are the hardest to place.

Letting indoor cats out has consequences, many unknown to those who let their cats roam.  In Guelph, hundreds sit on stoops, wander streets, cross streets.  Some without name tags, some declawed so they can’t defend themselves against other cats, dogs or predatory wildlife, some without  inoculation against fatal diseases (feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, rabies, distemper).

Outdoor cats get hit by cars, suffer severe weather conditions, get lost, stolen, trapped, poisoned dehydrate or starve.  Those who aren’t spayed or neutered contribute to overpopulation.

Many stray and feral cats will never find homes, ending their days on death row or dying in some other disastrous way.   Think of it, the average cat can give birth twice annually with litters of up to six; kittens as young as six months can get pregnant.  No wonder there’s overpopulation.

Preventing overpopulation isn’t the only reason to keep domestic cats indoors. Outdoor domestic and feral cats kill hundreds of millions of birds every year.   A report by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI-Canada) found one million birds are killed daily by outdoor cats.

Scientific studies indicate that Canada’s 5 to 6 million house cats kill 300 million small mammals annually; the average outdoor cat can kill up to 50 every year.  According to Nature Canada, declawing and bells on collars will not prevent them from killing.

It’s reasonable to ask people to keep their cats in doors.  It’s the kindest and most responsible thing to do.

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Las Vegas Dog Survives Dog Fighting Ring

Published on August 29, 2012 by in Blog
You are about to meet Ferdinand, a bluenose pit bull who refused to fight.   The story was written by Sheryl Greenblatt of CBS Las Vegas and published at
Life is good!

Many people view the victims of dog fighting as irreparable monsters who should be immediately destroyed for the safety of humanity. But before you grab your pitch fork, meet Ferdinand.

Ferdinand is a 3 year old Bluenose Pit weighing in at approximately 60 pounds. This sweet boy was found by Animal Network volunteers in Silverado Ranch having been used as a bait dog in a local dog fighting ring for some time. But unlike most bait dogs, he survived to share his story. For those who don’t understand the process of dog fighting, bait dogs are animals that refuse to fight. Instead, they are used to taunt the fighters, teach them to attack, and give them confidence for the fight. Their lives are tragic episodes of violence and cruelty, ending in painful deaths.

Yet, somehow Ferdinand did not become the evil, vengeful creature one might expect. Instead, this cutie became a lap dog. His only method of assault… licking. One look into his hazel eyes and you can tell that he is loving, gentle, sweet and friendly (even to other dogs). “He should have been named Romeo,” says volunteer handler Christine. Ferdinand takes treats like a proper pup, enjoys stopping to smell the flowers and rolling around in the grass to satisfy that unreachable itch. The only remnants of his old life are the scars on his face and ears.

He's a lover, not a fighter!
He’s a lover, not a fighter!
Photo credit:
Animal Network

Ferdinand is currently living at an animal hospital in the valley that supports local rescues while he awaits his forever family. He’s neutered, micro-chipped, up to date on all vaccinations and eager to take up residence in someone’s heart. A meet and great (including existing pets) will be required to ensure that Ferdinand goes to the home he deserves. If you would like a big smoosh in your life, Ferdinand can be found on Petfinder.

If you ever need to re-home an animal, please don’t list them on Craigslist. Companion animals are not outdated electronics. Instead, find a rescue to work with who can perform yard-checks and meet with potential adopters.

Dog fighting is a disgusting, despicable crime whose victims can’t speak for themselves. If you ever suspect a dog fighting ring in your neighborhood (or anyone else’s), please don’t hesitate to call the police. The dogs would, if they could.

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I want my Karma

Published on August 24, 2012 by in Blog

I am in Toronto working on another campaign: Animal Alliance’s campaign to end Canada’s commercial seal hunt.  It’s a campaign that requires me to travel and spend several nights to several weeks away from home, away from my dog, Karma.  I usually enjoy the travel.  I visit new cities, meet new people, and imagine what it would be like to actually live where there are more restaurants, more theatres and more art galleries than there are in Guelph.

This time, I have been away two nights, and already I am feeling homesick.  And while I miss my condo and my life with its tidy, and sometimes not so tidy, routines and the special people I love and who love me, what I am feeling most is that I miss Karma.

When I think of home, it’s not about the furniture or the colour of the walls or the clothes in my closets, I think of that deep, rich burgundy, heart-to-heart, taffy pull connection that I have with Karma.  I think about all his antics, all the things he does that make him such a character: his laying stretched out on the couch after his walk with that “don’t bother me until dinnertime” look on his face, playing up the fact that he’s just too exhausted to lift his head, even when my partner, Murray, one of his most important people, comes knocking at the door.

I miss the way he leans against the wall of the hallway outside my condo and slides himself along toward the elevators as we head out to the car or the way he plops down with a “harumpf!” in a neighbour’s yard and refuses to move.   “Time to watch the world go by,” he says in that wordless way of his.  I usually try to hurry him along, because I have work to do, or errands or an appointment.  But I realize, sitting alone on the hotel room bed writing this blog, that sometimes it is more important to plop down and watch the world go by.  Karma’s just reminding me of what is essential to life and so easily forgotten.  And, now that Karma’s getting older, there’ll come a day when he won’t be around, so I better do it now while there’s still a chance.

These are just a few of the things I miss, the things I will always miss, about Karma.  I wish I could let him know that I miss him, that I will be back.  I’ve tried having Murray put the phone to Karma’s ear so I can talk to him, but I don’t think he gets that it’s me.  Murray says Karma just looks strangely at the phone and gives his head a shake, then walks away.   Maybe he just doesn’t like phones, but I guess, like me, he doesn’t like speaking into them.  I’ve never been able to say what I really want to on a phone anyway.  It always leaves me feeling empty, like the hand that is trying to pull me to shore has suddenly let go.

What I want is to reach inside the hotel phone line and hug him, but I can’t.   I want to let him know how much I love him and how hard it is to be away from him.  I wish I could let him know that I will always love him and will always come back for him if I have any say.

Tomorrow I will be home and I will hug him and tell him how much I love him and have missed him.  And maybe he will understand the depth and breadth of my feelings and maybe it won’t matter because I’m home and it will be like I’ve never been away and he won’t remember that I was gone or that sometimes I have to leave him behind…until the next time I have to go.

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