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Please help

Help is desperately needed. PLEASE CROSS POST ASAP.

To save money, Toronto planners have recommended that Toronto Animal Services (TAS) stop accepting surrendered animals and no longer respond to calls about sick and injured wild animals.

Combined, these service cuts would save $543,500 annually ONLY -- out of a total budget of $7.6 Billion -- with a "B"!

This is short-sighted for 2 main reasons:

* Rescue groups and charitable shelters are full. If people cannot surrender their animals to City TAS shelters, they will simply dump them on the streets and those animals will become 'strays' -- and the City will still be responsible for picking them up and holding them.
* Those animals will produce more and more offspring, which will create more strays and ferals - which the City will still be responsible for. The City website admits: "The City of Toronto has a serious pet over-population problem". To address this intelligently, the City should INCREASE funding to create more spay-neuter clinics and require every animal adopted from the City's TAS to be sterilized.

PLEASE FAX OR E-MAIL AND PHONE YOUR CITY COUNCILLOR'S OFFICE AND EXPRESS YOUR DEEP CONCERN AND OUTRAGE (AND COPY THE MAYOR mayor_miller@toronto.ca).

You can find your Councillor by typing in your address here: http://app.toronto.ca/im/council/councillors.jsp

Please also copy the City Clerk's office at clerk@toronto.ca and ask them to e-mail all City Councillors.

FEEL FREE TO USE THE SAMPLE MESSAGE BELOW, OR CREATE YOUR OWN.

The city reversed their decision on hockey rink fees and community centre closures because people complained. YOUR VOICE COUNTS

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Dear David Miller and _______________________,

I was shocked to learn about the request by Toronto Animal Services to increase their 2008 Dog and Cat Licensing Budget to nearly $2 million (an increase of $833,000 from the 2007 expenditures). I am especially alarmed to learn about the request of 26 new enforcement officers to go door to door to fine citizens who have not registered their animals and the request of $678,000 for Marketing, Public Education and Promotion of dog and cat licensing. http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2008/hl/bgrd/backgroundfile-9850.pdf

I strongly believe Toronto Taxpayers' money can be much better spent. A better use of the money at the moment would be to do something about the overpopulation of cats living on the streets of Toronto. It is a problem that rescue groups like Toronto Cat Rescue are struggling to tackle with their very limited manpower and funds. Volunteers generously give their time and money to these people who feel 'they have no one else to turn to', in order to trap one stray or feral kitty at a time, get it sterilized and either adopted or released back outside before the population of cats grows even more. People in Toronto are very compassionate and it breaks their hearts to see colonies of cats growing and growing. When there is such a need for the city to humanely control the overpopulation of cats, I am baffled by the thought of the city choosing to beef up their enforcement in order to fine pet owners.

The only sensible solution to controlling the overpopulation of cats in the city is to have a Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) program combined with an affordable spay/neuter clinic and a by-law that every owned cat must be sterilized. It is important to first tackle the problem of overpopulation and get the number under control before increasing the program of licensing house cats. For much less than the planned increases for the dog and cat licensing, a low-cost spay/neuter program could be a reality.

Please consider diverting some of these funds towards providing this type of service for Toronto. The city desperately needs to have a low-cost spay/neuter clinic to help control the overpopulation of cats in the city. The result would be fewer litters of kittens being born on the streets. Each feral kitty who is sterilized not only prevents litters, it provides a much better life for the adult cat: freedom from ear mites and fleas, a reduced tendency to fight, and no weakening of the females from having endless litters.

I was also shocked and appalled to learn about the proposal that TAS no longer accept surrendered animals and that TAS officers no longer respond to calls for sick and injured wildlife. This is an unbelievably cruel way to save $543,000 - a COST SAVINGS YOU WILL NOT REALIZE for the following reasons:

1. The rescues and charitable shelters are at capacity in the GTA. If people cannot surrender their animals to TAS shelters, they will simply dump them on the street and become 'strays', which TAS will still be responsible for picking up and holding.

2. As more people dump their animals on the street, the likelihood of these strays producing offspring increases, which will create more strays and feral cat colonies - which TAS will still be responsible for. Your website states: "The City of Toronto has a serious pet over-population problem". To address this, the City should actually INCREASE the budget to create more spay-neuter clinics and implement a policy whereby every animal adopted from TAS is sterilized.

Regarding wildlife: People in this city do not want to see injured wildlife left to suffer and die in the streets. TAS and the Toronto Wildlife Centre have worked for years to develop an efficient system whereby TAS picks up injured animals and delivers them to TWC - who are better equipped to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife. This type of inter-agency collaboration should be rewarded rather than penalized. Please allow TAS to continue working with the TWC and consider supporting the TWC by funding the care and rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wildlife in Toronto.

Thank you for your consideration, and please contact me directly if you wish to discuss this further.

name, address, phone number, email

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