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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Humane Society surveys municipal candidates

by Adam Gault

With Ontario’s municipal elections less than one week away, the Windsor-Essex County Humane Society (WECHS) has released the results of a survey that was sent to candidates, running for any position, in every municipality within the region.

  This is the second municipal election that the Humane Society has sent out its survey, seeking responses from candidates on a wide-variety of animal welfare issues, such as tethering time limits and the number of animals allowed to be owned by an individual.

  “Animal lovers are often curious about candidates’ positions on animal welfare issues. Those positions are often not included in campaign materials or candidate debates, which can make it hard for voters to learn where candidates stand,” explained a statement on the WECHS website.  “So, for the second municipal election in a row, the Humane Society distributed a survey to all candidates asking for their views on animal issues.”

  A total of 77 candidates from across Windsor-Essex responded to the voluntary survey, with responses from Essex, including Mayoral candidates Ron Rogers and Katie McGuire-Blais, Deputy Mayoral candidate Richard Meloche, Ward 1 candidates Fred Groves and Morley Bowman, and Ward 4 candidate Sherry Bondy.

  Regarding the issue of dogs being left outdoors tethered, candidates were asked whether they supported municipal bylaws limiting the time animals could be left outside. All answered yes, except for McGuire-Blais who chose the response that she needed more information to answer. In a comment section below, she said she supported bylaws, but not the ones currently in place by the Town of Essex.

  A following question asked if municipalities should impose limits on the number of animals people can own, of which McGuire-Blais, Rogers, Meloche, Bjorkman, and Bondy agreed the town should have bylaws for the number for pets, cats, and small pets.

  The topic of pet shops selling dogs and cats has been an issue for a number of municipalities in recent years, with some already outright banning the sale of dogs from pet stores. WECHS survey respondents were asked if municipal bylaws should prohibit the sale of dogs and cats, requiring stores to work with shelters and rescues to rehome adoptable animals. In what was a more divisive question, Rogers, Groves, and Bondy answered that yes, they want the prohibition of dog and cat sales and see stores have to rehome adoptable animals. McGuire-Blais, Meloche, and Bjorkman answered no to the prohibition of dog and cat sales, and Bowman said he needed more information to answer.

  On the question of allowing residents in urban areas to raise backyard chickens, McGuire-Blais, Groves, and Bondy said yes, Meloche and Bowman said no, and Rogers and Bjorkman stated that they needed more information to answer the question.

  For a full list of candidate responses to the WECHS survey, visit


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