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October 2011

Encouraging signs from animal welfare conference

As the official liaison city council to the Côte Saint-Luc Cat Committee (CSLCC), I have had the opportunity in the past year to work and communicate with animal rights activists from across the province. This includes the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the Companion Animal Adoption Centres of Quebec (caacQ).

On October 28 I represented Côte Saint-Luc at a one day conference at the Novotel Dorval presented by the CaacQ  and attended by some 100 people from more than 60 municipalities in the province. The focus was on improving the state of animal welfare in our communities and very much in line with the CaacQ’s mission of reducing the number of companion pets killed in the province of Québec.

Here is the CTV Montreal report:

 

A year and a half ago, when cat lovers began lobbying Côte Saint-Luc to adopt a Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR) program, I decided to step forward.  I did so with the support of the mayor and council and after the first public meeting I called attracted an overwhelming crowd and significant media attention, I knew we were on to something.

City council agreed to provide some financial support for the program and the CSLCC was born.   While TNR, which humanely traps, sterilizes and then releases feral cats back into their original territory, has been the main focus of the CSLCC, efforts have also been made to educate the public about the importance of this exercise. In the coming months we hope to   arrange visits to local schools, set up information booths within the community and continue, via  our Facebook page and a new hotline (514-485-6800 ext. CATS), to provide the tools  for people to report feral cats in their neighbourhood.

We have a small group of volunteers, including expert Shelley Schecter who had lobbied us for so long to get on board. Both the  SPCA and the Côte Saint-Luc Hospital for Animals have been solid partners. We have trapped close to 40 cats.  A female cat can reproduce four times a year, beginning from six months old, and can give birth to from one to eight kittens each time. By sterilizing the cats, their numbers are brought down through attrition. 

The CaacQ Conference

At the CaacQ conference it was encouraging to see 10 representatives from the City of Montreal in attendance. The borough of Verdun, which has taken a leadership role on the island for its aggressive TNR program. It is one I can proudly say Côte Saint-Luc has tried to emulate in our CSLCC’s first year in operation.

Greg McBain was there from the City of Westmount. As the assistant director of Public Security, he is aware of issues that come about related to companion pets. I am anxious to see other members of the Association of Suburban Municipalities move into the TNR business. Westmount Mayor Peter Trent heads that body and I am confident Greg will give him a good report. Carl Mainville, head of Public Works in Dorval, sat next to me and took studious notes.

I take my hat off to Johanne Tassé and her team from the CaacQ for taking such an important leadership role in this area. This was a marvelous conference, with a number of outstanding guest speakers. Last spring Johanne had invited me to a much smaller gathering  at St. Laurent Borough Hall to meet Bill Bruce, the director of Animal Services for the City of Calgary. Thanks to Bill, Calgary is on the cutting edge when it comes to animal welfare and on this day we not only had the occasion to hear three presentations from him, but he was also available in between talks to chat with us personally.  Jane Hoffman, the founder of the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals, was another keynote speaker and shared with us some inspiring words.

The Quebec government takes notice

Perhaps most encouraging was the partial sponsorship of the Quebec Ministries of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Products  (Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation) and of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Territories (Ministère des Affairs municipals, des Régions et de l’Occupation du territoire). Guy Auclair (pictured with me below), a representative of Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Products Pierre Corbeil told me that the present-day government is very much committed to adhering to the laws governing animal welfare. Last summer his Ministry accepted submissions from the public in regard to proposed animal welfare regulations. 

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The creation of regulations, which establish standards for the keeping of dogs and cats under The Animal Health Protection Act Division IV.1., (R.S.Q. P-42),  is an opportunity for the province   to become a leader in animal welfare in Canada.  One of the many recommendations that came their way was to enforce a requirement for mandatory the spaying or neutering for animals adopted from shelters, pounds or purchased at pet stores. Penalties must include jail time and increased fines in order to have a deterrent effect. Mr. Auclair told the conference that more than 1,900 submissions were received. “This is being taken very seriously,” he told me later. “We are going through each submission one-by-one and this takes time. Every single recommendation will be looked at. I  can assure you that Minister Corbeil, Municipal Affairs Minister Laurent Lessard and Premier Jean Charest are very committed to the issue of animal welfare.”

Calgary program is the ultimate model for animal welfare 

For animal lovers, Bill Bruce is the ultimate hero. If only we could clone him in Quebec. I am glad that Mr. Auclair was on hand to take in his wonderful presentations.

In Calgary, Animal & Bylaw Services provides important animal-related services, such as licensing cats and dogs, sheltering cats and dogs impounded under the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw and adoptions to find new homes for impounded cats and dogs that have not been claimed by their owners. All animal-related services result from the mandate provided by the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw, which allows Animal & Bylaw Services to work with Calgarians to ensure that cats, dogs, their owners and neighbours live together in safety and harmony. Under the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw, at three months of age all cats and dogs residing in the City of Calgary must have a City of Calgary licence. Licensing fees, not tax dollars, fund the following programs and services: reuniting lost cats and dogs with their owners;  licensing cats and dogs residing in Calgary; enforcing the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw (23M2006); investigating  citizen complaints regarding animals including cats, dogs, coyotes and other wildlife; helping neighbours resolve animal-related issues; sheltering and caring for cats and dogs impounded under the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw in their vet-operated facility; providing adoption services to find new homes for cats and dogs impounded under the bylaw that have not been claimed by their owners;  and providing funding to veterinary clinics to cover emergency medical care for injured stray cats and dogs.

Bruce’s service provides school and public education programs to teach children and adults about responsible pet ownership and responsible citizenship. They coordinate a volunteer animal socialization program – PAWS Pal – to help socialize the cats and dogs awaiting adoption at the Animal Services Centre and they operate a No Cost Spay/Neuter program for the cats and dogs of financially eligible Calgarians. The “I Heart My Pet”  rewards program offers pet owners discounts from various partnering vendors.

As Bruce explained, Animal & Bylaw Services does not advocate breed specific legislation, nor limiting the number of pets in one household. This is because they believe that poor animal behaviour results from a failed relationship between pet and owner. Therefore, Animal & Bylaw Services advocates responsible pet ownership for cats and dogs based on the following four principles:  license and provide permanent identification for  cats and dogs; spay or neuter pets; provide training, physical care, socialization and medical attention for pets; and do not allow pets to become a threat or nuisance in the community.

In Calgary, the census even provides statistics on how many dogs and cats exist. The most recent figures list 123,000 dogs and 91,000 cats.

Permanent identification of your pet

The importance and value of microchipping your pet dog or cat was underlined by Dany Ménard and Isabelle Robitaille, owners of a black Labrador-cross named Pollux. If the name sounds familiar, this is the dog that went missing from Ménard and Robitaille in June 2010 and miraculously surfaced 4,500 km away in Kamloops, BC a year later. Because of the chip, Pollux was returned home. We all got to meet Pollux. My cat had a chip implanted when we adopted her. She is a house cat and we never ever let her outside. Heaven forbid though if she did escape and someone found her, such a chip would be essential. Representatives from a company called M4S ID (www.microchipsolutions.com) took us through and exercise and gave people at each table scanners to try them out.

Sterilization of Dogs and Cats

Veterinarian Dr. Joel Bergeron took us through the process of sterilization, emphasizing the importance of spaying or neutering dogs and cats (specifically the latter).

From the standpoint of effectively controlling pet populations, the best time for sterilizing dogs and cats is prior to puberty, which eliminates any possibility of the animal producing offspring. Animal shelters and humane organizations which adopt young animals have long had policies that call for the adopting owners agree to have the animal neutered as soon as possible, but rates of compliance are typically low and, though a majority of such animals eventually are sterilized, many first have the opportunity to reproduce. Acceptances of early spay-neuter programs allow such organizations to effectively implement "neuter at adoption" programs.  The traditional approach to surgical sterilization of dogs and cats is to wait until the animal is at least six months of age before castration of spaying, but problems such as those described above have led many to advocate performing these procedures at a much earlier age.

The Verdun Model

Pascale Tremblay from the Borough of Verdun was joined by urbanist Dany Tremblay to showcase a program that really works. Verdun, Pascale told us, allocates $40,000 a year to animal welfare.   

Verdun has become proactive and progressive in the way that they look at animal services.  They became the first borough in Montreal to truly take all the necessary steps to reduce overpopulation, encourage responsible pet ownership and proactively work with citizens to better the community for people and animals. Verdun revised their animal services contract and now works in partnership with the SPCA. They have a bylaw that requires citizens to be responsible about their animals and includes mandatory sterilization for all animals sold, adopted or given, limitation on the number of unsterilized animals per household; differential licensing for unsterilized animals; and the prohibition of  owners to permit unsterilized/non-vaccinated cats to roam outside and a charter of good behavior for pet owners.

Verdun has spay/neuter initiatives to counter overpopulation including a borough funded Trap-Neuter-Release-Maintain program for feral cats. The borough partakes in citizen education by having public information sessions, door-to-door handouts with flyers including information about the by-law project and responsible pet ownership. 

New York City’s Story

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Take the New York City Feral Cat Initiative. This is a joint program of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals and Neighborhood Cats. Its mission is to solve the feral cat overpopulation crisis in New York City through the humane, non-lethal method of Trap-Neuter-Return . Tens of thousands of street cats live in the alleyways, backyards, and outdoor spaces of New York City. They are the offspring of lost or abandoned pet cats and, unneutered, they go on to spawn new generations. The cats group themselves together in packs called colonies. Many of their nuisance behaviors can be attributed to mating behaviors that would likely cease if they were sterilized. These behaviors include noise from fighting and mating, and the smell from the spraying of pheromone-laced urine.

Because these cats are not socialized to humans, they are not candidates for adoption. The breeding of these street cats results in more kittens entering the shelters — taking away homes that would otherwise go to the adult cats already there. Most adult feral cats taken in at city shelters are euthanized (killed) because they are not adoptable as house pets. As a result, the city must shoulder higher costs for municipal animal control. The New York City Feral Cat Database shows that in neighborhoods throughout New York City, TNR is proving effective in humanely managing feral cat colonies and reducing their numbers over time.  

Hoffman told us that a staggering 2.7 million cats roam free in New York City and 87 million in the USA.

This conference was an unqualified success and I believe it is a major step in the right direction to ensure that our province, cities and towns take the matter of animal welfare very seriously!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


CSL Senior Men's Club makes history with gala evening at ACC

History was made October 30 at the brand new Aquatic and Community Centre (ACC) as the Côte Saint-Luc Senior Men’s Club became the first organization to hold a formal dinner and dance there. Some 300 people were on hand for a gala evening featuring plenty of delicious hors d’oeuvres (catered by Adam), good music, dancing, speeches from dignitaries and some awards.

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Sidney Margles, the charismatic president of the Men’s Club (pictured here with his wife Merle), and his committee did a wonderful job. What a pleasure it was to drive five minutes from our homes to celebrate in this magnificent facility.  I am sure that we will be very successful in booking all kinds of parties here.


Mayor Anthony Housefather, members of city council and  D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA Lawrence Bergman were on hand.  Mayor Housefather, just off a plane after vacationing for a week in Brazil, was in splendid form on the microphone. He expressed his delight of holding such an affair at the ACC and once again thanked Mr. Bergman for the key role he played in securing one-third of the financing for us from the Quebec government.  Mr.  Bergman admitted that there was a lot of competition for those funds, but he told members of his cabinet that  Côte Saint-Luc would deliver a first class facility on time and on budget. “And that is what you did!’ he remarked.

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This year’s Man of the Year was Jack Frank (pictured with me at the right), who does such an impressive job editing the Men’s Club Bulletin.  After accepting his plaque, Jack remained at the front of the room as Jacob Posel stepped to the microphone and announced a special tribute. Thirty members of the club are 90 years of age or over.  Each of these men were called up and presented with a plaque as well.  Mr. Frank was among this group.

How I admire these gentleman, who remain in such tip-top condition!

Congratulations to Sid and his team for another classy affair!


Maisons Fleuries contest features District 2 winners

The annual Maisons Fleuries Contest Awards presentation took place at City Hall on October 24, showcasing some of the beautiful work being done by our homeowners , be it in single family dwellings, town houses, duplexes or highrises.

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Councillors Sam Goldbloom, Allan J. Levine (left) and former councillor Harold Greenspon co-chaired the event, with our Parks and Recreation Department doing their usual excellent job coordinating a classy  affair. Noted classical  pianist Edwin Brownell was back to entertain the audience with his excellent background music. Edwin provides a certain “zip” to this event, especially as the winners walk towards the stage.

Some of the District 2 winners included:


In the apartment/condominium category, Le Hermitage (5700 Rembrandt Ave.) and Le MikeMartinRothFleuries Rothchild I (6500 Mackle Road) came in third and second place respectively (see photo at the right) while Le Bristol (6030 Cavendish Blvd) from District 8 (see the bottom) came in first; in the single family and semi-detached homes for District 2, Daniel Cohen (below) of 5786 Ilan Ramon came in third place; in the elite category for duplexes and town houses, Angeline Lawrence of 5681 Merrimac Road came in third position.

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Edwin Brownell in action.

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Le Bristel was represented by Marcia   Reim at the ceremony.


 


Chazin brothers make history as Bell Centre Habs flag bearers

Two brothers from Côte Saint-Luc have now both enjoyed the thrill of skating around the Bell Centre ice as flag bearers for the Montreal Canadiens. Ethan Chazin (on the ice below) did so when the Anaheim Ducks faced  the Habs on October 25, 2008.  On Thursday, October 13, 2011, for the Habs home opener vs. Calgary, younger brother Ariel got the opportunity.
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'The chances of being selected for the honour are rare in the number of Canadiens Fan Club members who sign up for the contest 'Skate with the team,' " says Neil Chazin, the proud dad. "Essentially the chances are a little better than winning the 6/49. There is no statistic for siblings to have completed this duty because it has never happened before."
 
Ariel is a nine year old Canadiens fan who plays hockey for the Atom A Canucks in Côte Saint-Luc and is  trying out for the Royal Vale School hockey team this year. Ethan (pictured below) plays hockey for the Hampstead/CSL/Mo-West Pee Wee CC Kings and will be trying out for the Royal West Academy hockey team.
 
So how do you distinguish two same sized hockey players  as flag bearers who are dressed identifcally without any identifiable markings like a name or number? Bright green almost floresenent laces!" explains Neil. " I found our later on that was not necessary because Ariel plays forward and the other lucky winner was a goalie DSC01169sm
 
"The experience was sureal. The Canadiens were nice enough to have my wife Perla and Ethan in attendance while Ariel prepared for the ritual. I  think this is a story that touches many at home, those children who dream about the opportunity and what it would be like as a flag bearer."



Les Cours Marc Chagall more than half sold

Anita Benabou Rozenblat, one of Côte Saint-Luc’s most prominent real estate agents, reported to city council on October 17 that sales for the new town house complex known as Les Cours Marc Chagall have been going well.  In fact more than half of the 21 units have now been sold, which could lead to a groundbreaking ceremony by the end of the month.


At the council meeting, Anita commended Mayor Anthony Housefather and our council for promoting our city as a wonderful place for young families to settle down. Working in the sales office on Marc Chagall Avenue, Anita told us that she has met with many people who are new to Côte Saint-Luc. “Please keep sending the message out to young families,” Anita urged the mayor. “It is getting through.”


Mayor Housefather noted his appreciation for new developments like Les Cours Marc Chagall, which does offer affordable housing.

 
Let’s hope that once people see the actual shovel in the ground, developers Gerald Issenman and David Brown will  sell all of the available units and Les Cours Marc Chagall  residents can formally become the newest constituents of  Côte Saint-Luc District 2.


Côte Saint-Luc a leader in social media among municipalities

Hats off to Darryl Levine, the City of Côte Saint-Luc’s Director of Public Affairs and Communications, for his fabulous work in the area of social media.

Statistics unveiled from September related to social media, videos and our website show that we broke several records.

Here’s a summary:

-Our website attracted 12,031 visits, which is the highest 30‐day total ever;
-The number of post views on Facebook was our highest ever at 14,680;
-The number of video plays at Vimeo was 1,180, the highest number since launching CSL‐TV in December 2009.

The high number of video plays at Vimeo in September was the result of two new videos related to the Aquatic and Community Centre: ACC Open House (472 plays), Play, Train, Excel (549 plays), and the French version Jouer, s'entrainer, et exceller (69 plays). These videos were embedded on the front page of CoteSaintLuc.org and posted to the Facebook page. The Department of Public Affairs and Communications produced the former video. Silas Creations produced the latter videos.

For the first time since launching the Côte Saint‐Luc Facebook page in November 2009, our posts in September were viewed in newsfeeds more times (14,680 post views) than the number of visits to CoteSaintLuc.org (12,031). 

Following a request from the Department of Human Resources, we also created a Côte Saint‐ Luc page on LinkedIn. No other city on the island of Montreal uses video and social media to the extent that Côte Saint‐Luc does. We are by far the leader in this area with a presence onFacebook (social media), Twitter (social medial), Vimeo (video hosting), Flicker (photo hosting), and LinkedIn (social media). In other words, not only does Côte Saint‐Luc connect with residents using more tools than other city on the island, the number of people who saw items published using those tools was at an all‐time high.


Remembering Morris Krantzberg and Manny Gotlieb

Two Côte Saint-Luc icons passed away in recent days. Morris Krantzberg, 95, was best known as the owner of the Kiddie Kobbler shoe stores, originally on Queen  Mary Road and for  many years at the Cavendish Mall. Manny Gotlieb, a devoted member of the Canadian Legion Brigadier Kisch Branch #97, was also one of the community’s longstanding plumbers. Morris Krantzberg

Morris (pictured at the right) will always have a special place in the heart of my family. As my mom and dad reminded me today, they bought the first shoes for myself, my brother and sister at Kiddie Kobbler. I vividly recall the days when I was in my early teens.  At that time my friends and classmates wore Kodiak boots to school. These were, I suppose, the male Uggs of our generation. I would save up money from my Montreal Star paper route and go to Kiddie Kobbler. I recall one time coming up just a few dollars short. Morris took what I had and told me to enjoy them.  He had a gift dealing with children and as a result we all looked forward to shopping there.  Morris was ably assisted by his charming wife Gerry.  I played hockey for many years with their son Leon, today a prominent chartered accountant. Their other son, Eli, is  a gifted musician.

Morris was a proud veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force. of World War II. Contributions in Morris’s memory may be made to the Montreal Chapter of Dysautonomia (514) 685-0101, or to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, (514) 744-5537.

As for Manny, I grew up hearing his name. Whenever we had a plumbing problem, my dad would shout out “call Manny Gotlieb!”  And my parents did so even in recent years, when Manny was retired. He was the kind of guy you call at home in an emergency. He would grab his plunger and race over whenever you needed him. You could not help but like him. He had a wonderful disposition. Manny was very involved with the Beth Zion  Congregation and the Legion. I saw him last at a council meeting. He accompanied his son Bernard, whom we had given recognition for his wonderful volunteer work. My mom saw Manny just a few short weeks ago. He greeted her with a hug and even though he was clearly not well, he wanted to know how she was doing. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, (514) 849-7591.

Rest in peace Morris and  Manny!


Banning sales of pets in stores?

I have been contacted by activists on this file  and am looking into the issue. We only have one pet store in Côte Saint-Luc at Decarie Square and its sells fish. I am told there have been some cats for sale there recently, which I will investigate,
Here is a story which appeared in the West Island Gazette:
 

Activists want towns to ban sales of pets in stores

 

Move attempt to thwart puppy mills; West Island communities are being asked to join a trend that's growing across continent

 
BY ALBERT KRAMBERGER, FREELANCE OCTOBER 5, 2011
 
 

Animal-welfare activists from Beaconsfield are hoping to persuade local municipalities to ban the sale of dogs and cats at pet stores within their respective territories.

 

Karen Messier, a former city councillor, and Johanne Tassé, who heads the Companion Animal Adoption Centres of Quebec, presented their proposal to Beaconsfield council last week and have since written other West Island cities asking them to ban the sale of dogs and cats in retail stores and to only permit the adoption of animals from non-profit animal rescue groups, like the SPCA.

They cite Toronto, and Richmond, B.C., as two municipalities that have taken up the charge to curtail dog and cat sales.

Messier said their motivation is fuelled by puppy mills, breeding facilities where profits are considered above animal welfare. She said Quebec has the reputation as the puppy mill capital of Canada.

"A lot of these pet stores get their dogs from puppy mills," Messier said. "A reputable breeder does not sell to stores. A respected breeder wants to make sure their dogs will be well cared for. Pet stores are more impulse buys."

Tassé said her network has taken more than 700 rescued animals from Quebec to Toronto for pet adoption options since 2008.

Tassé said potential pet owners here should consider adoptions.

"We have so many homeless pets," she said. "If you buy from a store, you are part of the problem. If you adopt, you are part of the solution. If Quebecers made an ethical choice, we wouldn't hear any more about puppy mills."

Messier pointed out they are asking cities to adopt a ban even if they don't have a pet store in their area. They believe cities can play an important role in helping to shut down industrial breeders of dogs and cats who supply animals to pet stores and classified Internet sites, pointing out it is unethical to continue to breed dogs and cats without limitations when so many are homeless and many others are being euthanized.

Hilarie Harubin, owner of Boutique Woof ! Meow! in Beaurepaire Village, thinks the banning of dog and cat sales at stores is a great idea.

"I can't understand why it's still going on. People should choose adoption," she said.

Harubin, whose store only sells pet supplies, has been collecting donations of materials to care for the 527 dogs and puppies that were seized a few weeks ago from a breeding facility in the Outaouais region. She is still collecting donated supplies.

"It took something of this magnitude to get the public's attention. But for local rescue groups, it's a sad reality they deal with every day," Harubin said.

She said there is a growing trend in North America toward promoting pet adoptions and away from selling them at retail stores.

"I think people are becoming more aware and they want better food and nutrition for their pets," she added.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette



 


Steve Coplan's view of Côte Saint-Luc's beautiful greenery

The fall season is now upon us and sadly that means we must say goodbye to the beautiful greenery within our midst. Coplan

Longtime Côte Saint-Luc resident Steve Coplan  (left), a prominent chartered accountant and partner with the West End firm of Levy Pilotte, also has some hidden talents in photography. He provides us with these beautiful pictures which will be nice to look at as we prepare for another wicked winter of snow and slush.

 

 

 

 

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