Although it is safe to say that the vast majority of citizens are not abusers of animals  there exist, nevertheless, people who are and who too often receive meaningless penalties for these heinous acts.  This situation has pertained for centuries and it is only since the turn of the current one that we are witnessing  some tiny steps of improvement along the road to higher standards of animal welfare and care.

In Canada, federal penalties have become much more severe monetarily for animal abuse.  Provincially, Ontario and BC have raised their penalties as well but it is Quebec that is leading the pack with its proposed legislation that will classify animals in legal terms as the sentient beings that they are in fact.  Such classification greatly enables the prosecution process.

Recently,  animal welfare-related news coming from Tennessee in the United States gives reason for further optimism.  On January 1, 2016, a statewide Animal Abuse Registry will come into effect, similar to the one that exists in New York City.  The registry will be a public, online listing of anyone convicted of animal abuse in the state.  First time offenders will remain on the Registry for two years after their conviction and that will go up to five years for subsequent convictions.  The Registry will be a public record so that any shelter, rescue group or any member of the general public can look through the list on the website before finalizing an adoption or rehoming a pet.  By naming abusers it is hoped that their access to animals will be curtailed, while this public shaming will further serve as a disincentive.

Some other jurisdictions have expressed interest to replicate this Registry; awareness is such a crucial factor in change of this kind.  Please take a minute and email your MPP and MP about the Animal Abuse Registry.  Deterrents like this should be nationwide.

Sandra Pady, Founder




mule shelterThat time of year has arrived when thoughts turn to the coming winter months.  In spite of the forecasts circling around that El Nina’s effect will be causing a mild winter, no chances will be taken with preparations for the animals’ care.

In September, we built a new large shelter for the mules(pictured above),  complete with heat lamps for when it is very cold.  Thanks to a generous bequest from the estate of one of our donors, we were able to carry out this construction.   Although the mules are often seen standing outside on the coldest of days, we appreciate that they are an aging population in need of a warmer place at times.  Molly, our little hinny, is 25 years old, now, and  Reno, Jimmy and Gertie are in their twenties.  Danny Boy is the oldest, however, at almost 30 years old.  He passes his time in the barnyard these days and is on a special diet that helps him to keep on weight.

Last Sunday, several volunteers gave generously of their time with other winter preparations.  Snow fences were erected on the west side of the driveway, some signs were taken down, benches and tables were stacked in the forest, the gardens were raked and trimmed and still  others worked with a wood chipper to rid areas of fallen wood.

Along with the mule’s shelter, much of the south ‘porch’ of the Donkey House has been enclosed recently.  That area, which has access to a large field, is now the home of many of our Miniature donkeys.  They are living together so that their diets can be monitored and adjusted as needed.  Weight goes on their little bodies very easily and it is always a challenge to keep them in healthy trim.

Our laneway is over 1/2 a kilometer long and in winters past we have used an old snow blower, as well as a ‘pusher’ attachment for one of our tractors to clear a track so that cars can come in.   Both were just moderately effective and so we are relieved to have been able to purchase recently an ancient  pick up  truck with a plow on its front which should work well on the lane.

While all of this has been going on, the donkeys and mules, have been preparing in their own way for the coming cold by growing winter coats that are nice and thick. Their appetites have increased as well and, of course, winter blankets for our older donkeys are out and ready for use.

Blow, blow, winter winds: it’s good to be well-prepared.

Sandra Pady, Founder