The Montreal SPCA To Challenge No-Pet Clauses in Court

The Montreal SPCA has filed a declaration of intervention with the Tribunal administratif du logement (TAL) to have its perspective heard in a dispute between a tenant and her landlord over the validity of the clause in her lease prohibiting animals in the unit.

For over a decade, the Montreal SPCA has been fighting relentlessly to ban no-pet clauses due to their devastating effects on both animals and Quebec families, more than half of which now include a companion animal. On May 25, in response to the SPCA’s sustained efforts over the past few years, Bill 494, An Act to amend the Civil Code to render without effect the clauses of a lease of a dwelling tending to prohibit companion animals, was introduced at the National Assembly.


This is a problem that does indeed impact residents of Côte Saint-Luc who are told they cannot have a dog or cat in their apartment. Only pet owners and animal lovers can understand the cruelty of this act. I could never move into a place  that would not allow me to bring my beloved cat.

I appreciate the MNAs for Québec Solidaire for bringing this motion forward. I am sure that our D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA Elisabeth Prass, who has always supported our CSL Cats Committee, will speak up on this as well.

“In addition to tackling the issue of animals in housing on the legislative front, by supporting this bill and encouraging the public to do the same, we also wish to submit to the courts several legal arguments challenging the validity of no-pet clauses," explainedSophie Gaillard, Director of Animal Advocacy and Legal and Government Affairs at the Montreal SPCA. "More specifically, we consider this type of clause to be abusive, unreasonable and contrary to certain fundamental rights set out in the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. 

“As an animal shelter directly affected by the problem of mass abandonment caused by no-pet clauses but also as the largest animal protection organization in Quebec, the Montreal SPCA would like to have its voice heard on this issue at the Tribunal administratif du logement.”

In its intervention, the Montreal SPCA will argue, among other things, that the clause prohibiting animals in the residential lease of the tenant involved in the dispute:

  • Violates the new status of animals as “sentient beings,” granted to them in the Civil Code of Québec in 2015, insofar as it forces the tenant to get rid of her animals—a dog and a cat—as if they were any other movable property, when in fact they are sentient beings to whom she has a deep emotional attachment and to whom she has obligations;
  • Violates the right to privacy set out in section 5 of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, which protects the right to make fundamentally personal and private decisions without undue external influence. The choice to live with an animal companion, often perceived as a family member in their own right, is an inherently personal decision that must be protected;
  • Is abusive and unreasonable, especially given the shortage of affordable housing, which seriously undermines the balance of power between landlords and tenants. Forcing a tenant to give up her animals in order to keep her residential unit is completely disproportionate to any hypothetical harm to the landlord or neighbours that such a clause is presumably intended to avoid.

“Every year, thousands of Quebecers are forced to make the heartbreaking decision to give up their animal, whom they consider a member of the family, in order to find affordable housing," points out Gaillard. "The current state of the Quebec rental market is exacerbating this already difficult situation, especially for low-income individuals,” . “Moving is one of the main reasons animals are abandoned in Quebec shelters. On average, more than one animal a day is abandoned at the Montreal SPCA for this very reason.”

Representing the Montreal SPCA in this case is Marie-Claude St-Amant, a partner at Melançon Marceau Grenier Cohen, LLP, who also chairs the SPCA’s board of directors.



Côte Saint-Luc ends assocation with SPCA; turns to Contrôle animalier Vaudreuil Soulanges

I wish to extend a huge thank you to the City of Côte Saint-Luc Public Safety Department for doing such an excellent job overseeing Animal Protection in our community. 

We have some news to share on this dossier, which represents one of my portfolios as a city councillor.  Let’s start off with  the Montreal SPCA and the city’s decision to terminate our longstanding contract with the organization.    After performing  due diligence, and surveying many of his public security colleagues, the city recommended that we switch to another supplier Contrôle animalier Vaudreuil Soulanges.


Director of Public Safety Philip Chateauvert reports that many of our neighbouring municipalities using this service are very content.  “We met with the managers of this company and chose to move forward with them for 2023,” he said. “It is a beautiful family business with fully bilingual staff, who have at heart the well-being of animals and are strongly focused on customer service.” 


How will this affect our public?   If anyone calls the Montreal SPCA, they will dispatched to  Contrôle animalier Vaudreuil. The latter does have regular patrols in the West End already.

The number to call  is    514-485-6960 (our dispatch center) to request this service.

As you probably know our Public Safety Department is responsible for animal control and offers some services directly with its staff while some other services are provided through contracts with suppliers. 

In terms of Animal Protection, our Public Safety Department oversees by-law enforcement, dog and cat licensing, the management of dog attack or dangerous dog files, the capture of lost or runaway dogs, the temporary housing of stray pets, management of abandoned or unclaimed animals and the  collection of non-hazardous injured wildlife (i.e.groundhogs, squirrels, raccoons). They do not handle birds of prey, coyotes, etc.. 

The other two branches of Animal Protection are the TNRM (trap-neuter-release-maintain)   overseen by our Volunteer Cats Committee  and dangerous animal management, for which we contract professional trappers to relocate animals that have found their way to CSL. 

A disturbing number of dangerous dog reports coincides with plans for CSL to toughen our by-law

When I was in my early teens I had an after school job delivering the old Montreal Star Newspaper. One of my homes had a dog named Blackie. He was a small thing, but vicious and no matter how many times I begged the owner she continually let him outside without a leash. When Blackie saw me with two bags over my shoulders to carry the papers (like a postman), he went right for my leg, trying to bite me. It got so bad I was prepared to drop the route. Finally, the owner made an extended leash and kept him on their front lawn.


Blackie was a dangerous dog. I had approached our city councillor at the time. But she did nothing.

Fast forward to 2023. I am in my 18th year as a city councillor. For the past three mandates I have been responsible for Animal Protection. We have a Dog Owners Committee and a Public Safety staff, notably Manager of Operations Jean-Marc Dubois (a dog owner himself), in our corner.

Over the last few months Manager Dubois has been working with me and the Dog Owners Committee, chaired by Jonathan Goldman and Anna Katz, on strengthening sections of our by-law dealing with dangerous dogs.

You can read our complete by-law here.

Beautiful Pika in a photo taken last summer.


Well, this cannot come soon enough. Just in the last week alone I have been alerted to some very disturbing incidents.

The owners of Pika were at the Dog Run on Mackle Road. Pika was attacked by another dog who rushed in and grabbed him by the neck and more. Pika needed surgery. The  woman and her teenage daughter who owned this dog, driving a white BMW, reportedly took off.  Thanks to some good old fashioned detective work, Anna Katz found out where the owner lives. The owners of Pika spoke to her. A police report has been filed. 

Pika shown here with multiple stitches.


“What kind of dog does this?” asked the owner of Pika. “What kind of woman runs from the scene? Pika is in excruciating pain. He can't lie down at all.  Our dog though stopped breathing in surgery and needed to be intubated and revived. He has been in hospital since. “

Article 5 of our present Dog Bylaw is already pretty severe.

For the purpose of the application of the present By-law, a dog can be declared dangerous or potentially dangerous if the dog:

a) has a propensity, potential or disposition to attack, bite, threaten, chase, or injure, with or without provocation, any Persons, property or other animals; or
b) with or without provocation or physical injury, attacks, bites, threatens, chases, or injures a Person, property, or other animal; or
c) has been trained for dog fighting or to attack upon a command

If you or your dog are the victims of a dangerous canine, please go to the police station on Westminster Avenue and file a report. Our Public Safety Department needs this to act. The by-law can even result in a dangerous dog being euthanized, which is not only very sad but almost always the fault of the owner who does not act when he or she sees the aggressive behavior being exhibited.

A constituent of mine just contacted me with another disturbing story. She says that her dog, a mini dachshund, was attacked by a French  bulldog mix in front of the  apartment building elevators. The dog, she said,   needed to be rushed to the vet and treated. “My dog is ok, “ the owner said, “but his ear will never fully heal back together and he is on 14 days of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and other topical treatments. The other dog is known to be violent and aggressive and should not be living in a condo building with children and other dogs. At the very least he needs to be muzzled when in public and living in a single home with a fence."

Friends of the owner of the dog that allegedly carried out this attack have a different viewpoint, which they said they wish to share with me.

There is a police report, so when our Public Safety Department carries out its investigation that person and any other witnesses will be able to give their side of the story.

Today, another  resident shared a story. She and her partner were confronted by a large black and tan dog of mixed breed. “ I was walking with my partner on that street when the dog, off leash, charged at us very fast from their front door onto the sidewalk while barking aggressively,” the resident shared with me. “The dog pushed us into the street and to the other sidewalk, as we tried to back away from the dog while it kept charging at us. We couldn't approach the house or speak to the owner because the dog was growling and guarding the property. The owner didn't come out and bring the dog back in for at least five minutes after the encounter, despite the loud barking.  It was very irresponsible of the owner to leave their dog out at night, off leash, especially one who is as aggressive to strangers as this one.”

Sadly, there are many more of these disturbing stories and to the credit of our Public Safety Department appropriate action has taken place in every case where we had the necessary information.

Be on the look out for anyone placing illegal animal traps

Just recently, a skunk was spotted  caught and suffering in an illegal trap on Castlewood Avenue in Côte Saint-Luc.

It seems the animal had walked quite the distance, attached to this trap. Someone came by,  released it and saved the animal’s life.

Now we may not be particularly fond of skunks, notably for the noxious smell of their spray. But they are living, breathing creatures.   An outdoor cat or a dog off leash could have easily been injured or killed from such a trap.


We never did find the perpetrator, but as the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection I am working with our Public Safety Department on the issue. Director Philip Chateauvert and Division Chief Jean-Marc Dubois have been very helpful.

If our agents happen to cross one of these illegal traps, they can apply By-Law 2470 (Nuisance), Article 8.2: Trapping, capturing, disturbing, injuring or killing wild animals, unless certified to do so by the Ministère des forêts, de la faune et des parcs du Québec. It carries a $100 fine for physical person and  $200 for a moral entity.

Had someone known the identity of the person who put out the trap, we could not only fine them, but have the  Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec assign an agent to investigate. The fines they issue are far higher.

I ask all citizens to be on the lookout for these traps and advise Public Safety at 514-485-6960.

District 2 resident opens new pet food, accessories and grooming store in NDG

Bravo  to District  2 resident  Hamidreza Sharif (Hamid Reza), who has opened  a new pet food, pet accessories  and grooming store at 6274 Somerled  Avenue in  NDG. It is called  Toutou Village  and opened  today.

Hamid and Gracie strike a pose with me.


Hamid  came to Canada from  Iran two years ago  with  his wife Neda, daughter  Adrina  and their gorgeous  now three  year  old golden retriever Gracie.

I dropped  by the store today and Gracie, who only understands Persian, was  the  first  to  greet me. Hamid is inviting everyone to the ceremonial  grand  opening  on  Saturday, July 24. The  store is located right across the  street from Subways and  Orange  Fitness.  Available  is a variety of pet food for dogs and cats, as well  as  leashes, toys, cages  and more.

Gracie relaxes.


Hamid took courses  on  how to groom dogs  so you can  make  an appointment by calling   514-357-4509 or by email at  [email protected].  It  is  open Monday to Friday ( 8:30 am to 7  pm) and Saturday and Sunday  (9am to 3 pm). You can also  log on  to


Hamid showcases part of the store.


Hamid  is a regular at our Côte Saint-Luc Dog Park, where he  and Gracie have made  many new friends.

Skunk problem arises near Nathan Shuster Park

There appears to be a skunk problem on Collins Avenue in District 8. I have received a number of calls in recent days.

So I asked our Public Works Director Beatrice Newman  for some guidance. She provided with a short summary of how we may coexist with wildlife that is sharing our city.

If residents are having issues on their own property with wildlife, it is their responsibility to respect the wildlife and ameliorate the protection for their property such as  securing trash cans and enclosing areas under balconies. The city tries to do the same with our public spaces.


We are very sorry for the inconvenience that may have occurred from a visiting skunk,  but these animals have inhabited our community for a few years now and they are here because their food sources are very accessible, as in many other cities. The city cannot kill or get rid of skunks. We will, however, survey nearby Nathan Shuster Park for any indication that skunks have dens there. 

Prevention of skunk problems through good property maintenance and management is the only permanent solution. The removal of individual animals, without taking steps to eliminate access to denning sites and food sources, will just leave a vacant territory for another skunk to inhabit. Please be respectful and patient with these animals when conflicts arise.

Below, we have also provided the list of names of contractors that can help protect home and properties. The first two organizations concentrate on forcing the animal out of the area and then focus on prevention work, like building up fencing, digging out trenches, etc.

1) Eviction Wildlife Solutions - Chuck (owner)


    Free estimate, guarantees his work

    Based in Montreal

2) Skedaddle - Human Wildlife Control

    514.395.4555 or 1.877.222.9453

    $65 initial estimate which is used towards the fee, once a contract is agreed upon

    Based in Ontario with Montreal office

3) Chaine d'extermination


    Price to be determined between resident and company

    Based in Montreal


4) Fondation de la faune du Quebec


This organization sets up a trap at the location where there is a problem. All creatures of this sort must be captured alive, they may not be killed/


Updated:Beware of mouse and rat poisoning in our parks and nearby

I wish to make pet owners aware that rat and mouse poisoning pellets  have  been found at and near  Rembrandt Park in recent days.  Dogs  often consume  things on the ground that look like food when you take them for a walk. Owners must watch them carefully.  Then there are outdoor cats. They have  nobody looking out for them.

One of my neighbours saw a torn package of green  pellets  on the ground and threw them in the garbage.  He also found a wrapper on the ground clearly labelled  as Wilsarin: Rat and Mouse Bait.

The packaging left on the ground.

Public Security officers from Côte Saint-Luc are investigating and we have reported  this to police.

Sadly, we  have had previous cases of people who clearly hate animals of doing such a horrible thing. Please  be mindful of this situation and let me know of any suspicious activity. This also can be occurring in other parts of Côte Saint-Luc.

A family member was walking her dog near Mackle Road and Marc Chagall last month. The pooch ingested something, fell very ill the next day and had to be rushed to the vet. He almost died. It cost her $5,000 to regain his health.


This is where the pellets were discovered.


On Saturday, July 25, Public Security officers found six  new packs of the  poisoning.  They have yellow taped the areal.  A member of our Dog Owners Committee also found some fresh pellets  in the grass. They are well into the ground and difficult for our Public Works cleanup team to even pick up. We are upping the urgency of this situation to the  police as  there is clearly someone out there who wants to harm animals. I repeat  the importance of reporting to us  any suspicious behavior. It is almost as if this person wants us to know what he or she is doing. Why else are they leaving their wrappers  on the ground?

The newly taped off area.



Coming soon: mandatory microchipping of dogs and cats in CSL

As the Côte Saint-Luc City Councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I gave notice to my colleagues last night that I intend to bring forward an amendment to our pet bylaws emulating the legislation adopted in Montreal that all cats and dogs over six months  be microchipped.

A microchip is an invaluable investment for a pet owner.

Today I was at the Côte Saint-Luc Hospital for Animals where they were inundated with calls from people asking if the Montreal bylaw applies in CSL. The answer officially is "no," but as noted it will become mandatory soon. When we adopted our present cat a decade ago we microchipped her immediately, even though  we never planned to let her go outside. But accidents do happen and heaven forbid a pet escapes, the microchip if the only way for a vet or the SPCA to  trace ownership.

If you have a cat or dog and they are not microchipped, please do so immediately. Do not wait for a by-law. The animal hospital had many bookings today, primarily from people in our community. I think the Montreal by-law and the accompanying media coverage served as a valuable wakeup call.

A microchip is a small electronic device the size of a grain of rice, which a veterinarian inserts under the animal’s skin, on the back near the shoulder blades. The process is relatively painless. "It’s comparable to having your ear pierced,” the SPCA's Anita Kapuscinska told The Gazette.

The chip remains with the animal for life, and is a direct link to its owner. I will be meeting with our Co-City Manager and Director of Public Safety this week to discuss this  further.

Autism Speaks Dog Walk a big succcess

As the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I was  thrilled to once again be part of the Autism Speaks Canada Promenade de chiens/Dog Walk on Sunday September 8. This was the second year for the event, both times occurring at our own Trudeau Park. Mother Nature cooperated and the sun was shining. A nice crowd  turned out - man, woman, child and of course many dogs of different shapes and sizes.

Aren't these dogs beautiful?

Krista Leitham worked tirelessly to make it all happen, seconded by ever-so charismatic ambassador Matthew Moses. Originally Matthew was looking forward to bringing his beloved Rookie along. Sadly, Rookie passed away a week earlier. While still very much in mourning, he needed to fill that gap in his love. He and his family adopted a large puppy they named Houston and the canine made his first public appearance at the walk.

With the Goldman family.


There were a number of kiosks set up,  including sponsor Nutrience. Greyhound Rescues were  on hand as was Cindy Davis from Inspirations Newspaper and Principal Nicholas Katalifos from the Wagar Adult Education Centre, where Matthew is a student. The Laval Rocket setup a booth as a tribute to Matthew, who is one of their most devoted fans.

With Matthew Moses and Houston.

The Dog Walk is a fundraising initiative for dog lovers and the autism community to celebrate the unconditional love of these fur-babies and the therapeutic benefits of dogs to families and individuals living with autism. "Together, we can increase awareness, understanding, acceptance and inclusion for the autism community," said Krista.

It was a wonderful sight to see so many people doing the walk together through the pathway at Trudeau Park.

Jonathan  Goldman, the chair of our CSL Dog Owners Committee, was on hand with his dog and members of the family. It was  nice to catch up with my old friends Mark Wineck and Warren Gornitsky, both there with their dogs. I hope we can help this event get bigger and bigger each year!

My report from the 2019 National Animal Welfare Conference in Montreal: City and Province Absent!

The 2019 National Animal Welfare Conference (NAWC), an annual professional development and community-building event, was held at the Bonaventure Hotel in Montreal April 14-16. As the Côte Saint-Luc city councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I was pleased to attend this conference.  I did so a few years ago in Vancouver. To be in a room with more than 400 animal lovers from across the country is empowering to say the least.

IMG_5012I really enjoyed this conference.

My biggest disappointment? Neither the City of Montreal nor any other municipality in the province was represented at the conference. How was this possible? Ditto for our new CAQ government, which is too busy focusing on religious symbols. The fact that our province gives animal protection minimal importance by tossing it into the Ministry of Agriculture says it all. This is the biggest and best-attended animal welfare conference in Canada.

The year 2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the humane movement in Canada and this country’s first SPCA: our Montreal SPCA. I was pleased to meet with Montreal SPCA Executive Director Elise Desaulniers and Director of Animal Advocacy Sophie Gaillard, as well as a number of other Montreal  animal advocates. It is too bad the conference did not organize any regional caucuses so we could get to know some of the people who do the same work in the province.

There were  more  than 70 conference sessions and activities, world-class speakers, daily networking opportunities, lightning sessions for quick takeaways, amazing exhibitors and prizes, shelter tours of  the Montreal SPCA, a brand-new delegate recharge station for fun and networking, and chances to converse and collaborate with thought leaders to gain insights into emerging animal welfare trends.  


This dog named Ophelia was registered for the conference. I kid you not!

 This two-day event takes place in a different major Canadian city each year and includes presentations, workshops, keynote addresses and panel discussions on new animal welfare initiatives, emerging animal welfare research, best practices in animal sheltering, leadership practices in an animal welfare context, animal welfare community engagement, advocacy and stakeholder relations techniques. This year there was more content on animal sheltering, humane education and leadership best practices than ever before.

The event welcomes students in any discipline, veterinarians and vet techs, academics, researchers and scientists, animal enforcement personnel, animal care professionals who work with companion animals, farm animals or wildlife, staff from humane societies, SPCAs and animal rescues, animal welfare advocates, policy experts, humane education professionals and members of the general public who want to advance their work for animals.

Jackson was on another "Galaxy."

I must say that the opening keynote speaker, Jackson Galaxy, was a major disappointment. The well-known “cat daddy,” and TV show host for Animal  Planet took to the stage for less than a half hour and was completely  uninspiring. He responded to pre-written questions and offered me absolutely nothing new. With that in mind I won’t waste any more space on him.

The Montreal SPCA’s Fight Against Breed-Specific Legislation

Sophie Gaillard gave an excellent presentation on a compelling subject. In June 2016, a Montreal woman was tragically mauled and killed by a dog identified in the media as a “pit bull.”  Shortly thereafter, then Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre announced his intention to ban “pit bulls” and did in fact adopt breed-specific legislation (BSL) a few months later. The following year, the Quebec government followed suit and introduced a bill aiming to implement province-wide BSL, which would have sentenced tens of thousands of adoptable shelter dogs to death. Fortunately, thanks to efforts led by the Montreal SPCA, including a high-profile lawsuit challenging BSL, Coderre’s municipal bylaw was ultimately repealed, and the provincial bill defeated. This talk will provide an inside look into the Montreal SPCA’s successful fight against BSL. Sophie explained why and how BSL was adopted in Montreal and nearly adopted province-wide, what legal, political and communications strategies were used by the Montreal SPCA to successfully fight BSL at both levels of government and what lessons were learned along the way.


With Sophie Gaillard.

Sophie joined the Montreal SPCA in 2013, after having graduated from McGill University’s Faculty of Law and articling at the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions office in Montreal. In her role as director of animal advocacy, she supervises the SPCA’s inspectors, as well as acting as a liaison with prosecutors and other law enforcement. Me. Gaillard also works on initiatives to strengthen animal protection legislation at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. She is namely one of the instigators of the Animals Are Not Things manifesto, which led to the adoption of a new disposition in the Civil Code of Quebec recognizing animals as sentient beings.

Ending Declawing in North America: Past, Present, and Future

This interactive lecture, which was followed by Q&A period, examined the current state of the practice of declawing in Canada and the US, including some of the key issues, trends and challenges associated with professional and public education. The session concluded by looking at future possibilities for continuing education for the veterinary profession and the public. The speakers offered tools and scripts for motivating veterinary teams to stop offering "partial digital amputation" (as the CVMA describes declawing) and offer suggestions for using the right words and arguments to convince clients and veterinary teams that declawing is not the best solution.

Key learning included  what is declawing, and what are the known physical and behavioral complications of the procedure, including how to recognize subtle, and less subtle, signs of pain in the short and long term,  what is the current position of the CVMA, AVMA and other veterinary organizations on declawing (partial digital amputation),why declawing does not prevent or reduce abandonment, relinquishment and euthanasia, and how humane organizations are leading grass-roots efforts to discourage and end declawing, recent decisions in Canada to stop declawing for ethical reasons, and the progress of legislative and other efforts in the US to end declawing, how declawing has been shown, in recent studies, to cause behavioral problems in cats, and why human medical authorities say declawing is not an effective means of protecting human health and finally what are the reasons motivating veterinary teams to offer this procedure now, and what can be done to motivate teams to stop practicing it and client to stop requesting?

THE RISE OF THE ANIMAL PROFESSIONAL: Supporting Growth and Change in the Animal Welfare Sector

Animal welfare is a complex, multi-faceted and evolving field. Even though it is one of the oldest social institutions in our country, the sector’s drive for professionalization has never been higher than it is today. Professionalization is the social process by which a group of workers transforms itself into an occupation of the highest integrity and competence. The natural trend in all professions is toward greater specialization and recognition, but in animal welfare, the career path is not always clear, it can be challenging to enter the field and, while we apply standards for others, we don’t have industry wide standards for ourselves. This plenary explored concepts of professionalization both for individuals and for organizations in the animal welfare sector. The panel of experts discussed the path to an animal welfare profession and the role of codes of conduct or ethics, education and training, standards and accreditation and certificates and certifications.

An award-winning executive leader in animal welfare, conservation and education. Humane Canada CEO Barbara Cartwright headed the panel. She is one dynamic lady with a terrific stage presence. Her work has spanned five continents and 25 years.  .

Cat Behaviour: What People Don't Know, But Should

 I really enjoyed this session in which well-known cat educator Daniel Filion (L’Éduchateur), covered two interesting subjects. He gave tips and tricks on how to deal with fearful cats but also demystified and offered some explanations on their behavior in general. If cats are the most popular domestic animal sin the world, why are we so oblivious to their behaviors and needs? Even professionals and people dealing with cats everyday will often, involuntarily, contribute to all the myths surrounding them. Why don’t we know? What should we know? What should we stop saying?  Filion, who resides in Laval, offered some explanations that helped us better understand our cat’s behavior and raised their value.

IMG_4997Key learnings included how to modify cat behavior. There were some tips of how to deal with fearful cats. He then asked the question:   why is the most popular domestic animal the one we know the least?   Finally, he focused on how to raise knowledge about cats’ needs and behaviors and therefore raise their "value."

EduCATor is recognized as the most important feline behavior company in Canada and in Europe. For the past 12 years, Filion (pictured here) has been seen as an author and TV and radio commentator, but it's through his famous conferences, combining humor and popularization, that he has built his reputation. His firm does more than 350 private consultations per year and holds the most important Facebook page on feline behavior throughout all French speaking countries where they answer, free of charge, more than 5,000 messages per year to help cat owners. Cat EduCATor is referred by more than 100 veterinary clinics and, through its shelter aid program, also volunteers to help shelters. Cat EduCATor's mission is to decrease the number of cats abandoned and euthanized because of something lile simple urine on the carpet problem. 

Filion told us how he trained his cat Wookie to go for a walk with a leash. He asked questions like whether cats are territorial (he said no) and if the colour of a cat changes their behavior (only for Garfield). He told us that cats are the most popular house pet the world. And he gave us a trick of how to teach your cat to give a high five.

No Place Like Home: Intake Diversion Works

Karen Reichheld, Manager, Animal Care and Adoptions, Hamilton/Burlington SPCA, gave one of the lightning sessions (15 minutes long). All too often, cats are surrendered to shelters because their owners are no longer able to care for them for a variety of reasons. However, there are instances where cats in safe and loving homes      have very treatable conditions and yet for whom treatment by a community veterinarian is not affordable for the pet family. The No Place like Home program at the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA treats cats at risk of surrender on an ambulatory basis where the best option for the cats is to live out their lives with their owners – healthy, safe and wanted – in their own homes. The Forever Home Fund was generously seeded by a donor family who continue to fund the program directly. Reichheld listed a range of ambulatory conditions treated to date in the program. She provided three case scenarios and outcomes. Their program is not advertised.  She shared stories of cats which were going to get euthanized and because of the anonymous donor their lives were saved.

Planning an Easy and Effective Event with Limited Resources

Leah Johnson and Maja Krol from the Calgary Humane Society asked the question: Have you ever wanted to plan a simple yet effective fundraising event, but you lack the time and resources? The Calgary Humane Society has developed a simple, effective and donor-centric fundraising event that is sure to leave you with money in your pocket and time on your hands.   During this presentation everyone received a blueprint to build an event with the potential to grow exponentially year after year while engaging your supporters. We were told how to host a fundraiser with little to no resources, engage your donors in a new and innovative way and provided with keys to successful fundraising. This one should have been much longer.

Raising Super Cats: The Importance of Kitten Socialization

Bravo to Rebecca Lohnes, MS CDBC, ACCBC, Behaviour and Training Manager, Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester. She was a fantastic speaker, with great slides and videos.  By providing proper socialization to the kittens in your care, you will create well-adjusted feline citizens who are less likely to be rehomed later in life. She discussed the science behind socialization, different types of socialization and how to accomplish them in your shelter or foster home, how to engage in low-stress handling and cooperative care, and even some basic manners training! She also talked about the special needs of fearful or unsocialized kittens, singletons and bottle babies. Our CSL Cats Committee is very big on socialization. Lohnes has been the Behaviour and Training Manager at Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester, since 2011. She believes in using positive reinforcement and force-free methods to enhance the human-animal bond. She has degrees from Yale University (BSc 2005) and Cornell University (MSc 2010) and she is certified through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

Youth, Animals, Action! The Power of Kids and Teens Today

Colleen Ovenden and Emelie Luciani are the co-directors of, ENGAGE: Animal Welfare Education. I am proud to be working with them at the English Montreal School Board.  Running an animal welfare education program for youth in a shelter is often thought of as an investment in the future of animal welfare. It is perhaps because of this focus on youth programming’s distant benefits that animal welfare education is not treated as a priority in many shelters, as other priorities are often more pressing.


Colleen Ovenden and Emelie Luciani

This presentation demonstrated how kids and teens in fact have the power to affect real change – today, in the present. The two speakers argued that youth can play a part in advancing animal welfare not only in the future, but right now. The effects and possibilities of kids and teens getting involved in animal shelters was demonstrated through an exploration of the Montreal SPCA’s youth program; the only shelter in Quebec to offer animal welfare education. Three youth who are using their experiences at the Montreal SPCA as a springboard for further action   shared what they are doing to improve not only the welfare of animals, but the community as a whole.  

The speakers emphasized the importance of youth programming in animal shelters both in the short-term and long-term, how youth are a necessity to advancing animal welfare – not just for the next generation but for right now and the power of youth to affect change.

Ovenden   was previously the Director of Education and Community Outreach at the Montreal SPCA. She holds an MA in Cultural Studies and a PhD (ABD) in Communication Studies. Luciani worked as the Animal Welfare Educator at the Montreal SPCA. She was also the organization’s Adoption and Foster Program Coordinator with more than seven years of experience. Her involvement in animal welfare education integrates her two passions: animals and working with youth. She holds a BA in Sociology.

I am happy I attended this conference. The 2020 edition will be in Victoria, BC.