For those that are reading this and are not familiar with “Moving Day” I will try to briefly explain the whole point of it. Not being born in Quebec makes me think of this day as a bit silly and unnecessary. On July 1, a majority of the residents throughout the province of Quebec end their apartment leasing contract and take on the “adventure” of finding a new place where to reside. According to Hydro-Québec, more than 700,000 Quebec households moved in 2009, including 225,000 on the island of Montreal. Nomadic humans come to the unfortunate reality that many living spaces in our province are not animal friendly. When the time comes to move out the old furniture to the sidewalk for the trash truck to pick up, for some it may also be the time to dispose of the not-welcomed animal to the closest shelter or sometimes even abandon them with the hope that someone else will come to their aid and take them into their homes.
Therefore, in my opinion, animal advocates fear “the ides of June.” Animals start appearing out of thin air and they surely need a hand from a compassionate human being that sadly is not their first companion guardian. Each year I write about one of the many stories that I hear about close to the date of “Moving Day.”
Unfortunately, I have heard of sad stories of abandonment since the start of the year. As hard as we try to educate others and give people options before abandoning their companion animals, it seems the message is not getting across.
There are always different motives for trying to find a solution to place our dogs or cats or any other animal. There are people that try to do the right thing. There are people that either don’t try for a solution or are so desperate that they will abandon an animal.
I will tell you the story of two dogs and two cats that are victims of abandonment.
Gypsy: too friendly to be a guard dog
A friend of mine gave me a call to tell me about a dog that needed a home. Her name is Gypsy. She is a sweet and loving, year and a half old, female Doberman. She was meant to be a guard dog at an auto shop…but she was too nice and friendly and therefore she could not stay at the shop. My friend and her family took Gypsy in…but sadly they could not give her a home. Gypsy was very sweet around the family and around other dogs.
I told her that I would try my best to help find a shelter for Gypsy. The situation is so difficult for animal shelters in our province, that I completely understand when rescues tell me that they have no place for another pup or cat. Thanks to social media and great friends, Gypsy was able to go to Forever Homes Rescue with Sarah Saintsbury! From there, Doberman Rescue in Ontario took in Gypsy. Gypsy was adopted in a heartbeat.
The story of an abandoned dog in a Montreal Park
A few months ago, a Husky dog was found at the Centennial Dog Park DDO tied up to a post with a note attached to him. The note read that he had his shots up to date. It also mentioned the reason why he was being abandoned was because he had no place at the new location where his owners were moving.
Concerned visitors of the dog park came together in aid of the dog and decided to take him to a Montreal shelter hoping for a solution to the situation. The story of the dog was posted on the Facebook page of the Centennial Dog Park DDO. The main administrator of the page had hands in the situation and had been taking steps to try to help the dog that she named Malik.
There had been several exchanges between the shelter staff and those that were trying to help out Malik to find a humane solution. It is even claimed that a West Island no kill shelter was willing to take the dog in order to rehabilitate him and have a chance to a successful adoption.
In a tragic development, Malik was killed six days after his arrival to the shelter. It is claimed that the staff made the decision of labelling him as dangerous because he had bit a person trying to put a leash on him. Malik did not cooperate when he needed to be examined by a vet.
According to pictures and video of Malik taken by the members of the dog park, the dog was friendly. Due to the atmosphere of being at an unfamiliar place, anxiety and fear, Malik was prompted to behave differently and was never given sufficient time to be properly evaluated after settling into his new environment.
In the end, the life of Malik was put to an end due to lack of time, lack of communication and because people abandon animals with no remorse of what fate the animal may encounter. Animal abandonment is not something that is considered something to be concerned about in the island of Montreal. Under Canadian Federal Law, it is considered a crime if an animal suffers at the hand of a human.
It seems that in Montreal and in the province there is no common sense of what is cruel. Animals are sentient beings. They suffer once their environment changes and when presented to unfamiliar situations.
Animal abandonment is something that is not punished. Due to bureaucracy and human protocols Malik was given the death penalty. The human that he trusted abandoned him. That was his only crime. He thought of them as their family, and he was betrayed. How was he to react to other humans after being betrayed by his human that had abandoned him? No wonder Malik tried to bite another human…Rest in Peace Malik.
Abandoned cats transform people into animal rescuers
Jihane has two rescue cats. She became the only hope for a neighbouring cat in her apartment complex. Her second cat had just been found last year during moving season. The kitten was found abandoned in a public restroom of a fast food restaurant. This year, her neighbour was moving out during the month of June. She wanted to put her cat to sleep due to her moving. The cat is two years old, vaccinated, sterilized, and she even had the poor cat declawed.
Just because the person had not taken the time to find a humane place for her cat, she thought the only solution was to kill the feline. Jihane realizes that she has two cats, but her conscience and heart led her to step up and offer the cat a home.
Jihane wishes she could give her a permanent home. Without any warning, life has made Jihane a foster parent. She knows it is not the time to find the cat a home. She will patiently wait till dumping season slows down a bit in order to find her an adequate home.
In the outer area of Montreal, a rescued female cat has been waiting for 21 months for dumping season to slow down and hopefully find a home. The cat was dumped in an area where almost no people live. She was abandoned to her luck to fend for herself.
She was lucky to cross paths with a kind man that believes in animal adoption and rescue. He took her to a vet and had her spayed and vaccinated. He has been looking for a forever- home for her because the cat seems to not get along with his dog.
He knows that the right thing to do is to find her a place where she will be comfortable. But he has no luck in finding a no-kill rescue to take her…nor a rescue that is willing to guide him to the process of placing the cat for adoption.
These two individuals are taking care of abandoned cats by irresponsible people. They are trying to help cats that are victims of lack of common sense by their first humans. In this province, there is no repercussion for abandoning animals or for wanting to kill healthy adoptable animals.
Only 4 examples out of so many
The stories of these animals are just four examples that show that our society needs to do more for animals. This week, while reading the Metro free newspaper, I came across an ad for the city of Montreal that says, “We care for animals.”
So far, the city of Montreal has done nothing that shows that they so dearly care for animals. They promised a new city animal pound where animals will be placed for adoption. They continue saying “no” to the idea of banning the sale of animals in Montreal. There seems to be no response to the thousands of signatures on the great petition started by the Montreal SPCA: ending the “no pets allowed” clause in apartment buildings.
I dare Montreal’s Mayor Denis Coderre
Montreal’s Mayor Coderre seems to be very proud of his post and of the city. Just as he is proud to wear a hockey jersey of the Montreal Canadians, I dare him to wear a shirt that says “adopt don’t shop” and on the back that reads “Montreal ending animal abandonment.” He loves city public stunts that look good in the media. I dare him to wear that shirt and go and volunteer to help clean animals at the shelter.
Will Mayor Coderre be remembered as the one responsible for a positive change that improves the situation for animals? It is up to the people of Montreal to demand a change. If Montrealers do not continue to ask for change…then those in charge of the city will not care. If they don’t care…then we will continue hearing stories of more and more abandoned animals.