We didn't fare quite so well with a recommendation put forward by our Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC). AWAC asked us to request that staff prepare a report checking into the feasibility of amending our Animal Care and Control By-law to allow duly licensed wildlife rehabilitators to operate with in the city limits.
At present this is prohibited because the animals that are in need of rescue when injured or orphaned, such as some birds, squirrels, raccoons and skunks, are lumped in with animals like lions and tigers and crocodiles as Class 7 animals which you are not allowed to keep anywhere in the city unless you are a zoo or a research facility. So if you rescue an orphaned or injured animal you have to take it to Salthaven in Mount Brydges. Once it is ready to be released, it has to be picked up and relocated no more than 1 km from where it was found. All of this makes it very difficult for people to treat injured and orphaned wildlife humanely.
A reasonably simple solution would be to subdivide Class 7 animal so that the kinds of situations described above could be dealt with by a properly trained and qualified Wildlife Rehabilitator. Ottawa is an example of one municipality that has made provision for Wildlife Rehabilitators.
Although half of council supported having staff investigate the possibility of doing likewise in London, some councillors made the argument that staff is far too busy to be bothered with something like this. However, the motion failed on a tie vote so we lost an opportunity to demonstrate our changing relationship to nature and the environment and to protect the wildlife in our midst.
Voting yes to the motion were Controller Barber and Councillors Winninger, Usher, Orser, Lonc, Eagle, Baechler, Branscombe and Bryant.
Voting no were Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco Best, Controllers Gosnell, Polhill and Hume, and Councillors VanMeerBergen, MacDonald, Miller, Caranci and Hubert.
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