The best thing that can ever happen to a dog is to find itself in the care of a loving owner who understands what a dog needs.
When I saw the headlines about one of Manitoba’s newest Members of the Legislative Assembly creating a bill concerning the welfare of pets left in a car, I thought that it was a nice start for a politician. People really do need to be careful about leaving pets outside or in a car, summer or winter, where heat/dehydration or frozen paws, ears or tails can occur.
However, on closer examination, and giving it my own second thought, I say ‘was this really necessary?’ and ‘what about the unintended consequences?’
Take a look at the information about the Animal Care Amendment Act by MLA Obby Khan:
After being introduced Nov. 28, Fort Whyte MLA Obby Khan has successfully passed the Animal Care Amendment Act with unanimous support. This bill bans leaving a pet in a vehicle without climate control running in temperatures 22 degrees or higher, or below minus 10 degrees.
Kahn said, “Officers of the law can now act province-wide to save animals from suffering during extreme temperatures. This is an all-around win.”
However, there already was an animal welfare law against abuse or neglect. So, police had the power to take action where a dog is freezing or roasting in a vehicle. And citizens could call police.
With this amendment, supposing a person wants to take their husky (or any thick coated dog) along for a ride and needs to leave the dog in the car for 10 minutes or even an hour while the weather is -15, that would be illegal. Never mind that the dog may happily live outside with a doghouse shelter. On a plus 20 summer day, that same dog would be far too hot in the car if the sun was shining, but the amendment wouldn’t cover that.
I’m not saying that a thin coated dog should be left to freeze in a car. Not at all! But now this law means idling the car, polluting the air and burning fuel. (Hope the exhaust system is working properly.)
Maybe you should leave your dog home alone and not include your companion in the car ride.
Laws are inflexible. That’s why the process to write and pass a law usually takes more than 15 days.
I would have been more impressed and I think it would have helped our canine friends at least as much, to have the former football star turned Fort Whyte MLA visit schools to share with children the importance of animal care, or to have a pamphlet available at every vet clinic, pet store and animal rescue about the needs and perspectives of life - from a dog’s point of view of course.
MLA Obby Kahn, I don't for a moment doubt that your heart is in the right place and your intentions are good, and thank you for that. While this new amendment does draw attention to the needs of our animals, and to our responsibility, it may have unintended consequences in the real world where we need fewer laws and more kindness and wisdom among humans.