Emaciated, wearing a collar that was too tight and with 2.25 kilograms in weights tied around her neck with a weathered rope, it may have seemed like the end for Queen Waldorf when she was abandoned near Marineland in Niagara Falls last spring.
But really, it was just the beginning for the German shepherd, whose story sparked an outcry for tougher animal cruelty laws.
Five months after a petition was started in Queen Waldorf’s honour, 8,600 signatures have been collected from Canadians calling on Ottawa to give penalties for animal abuse some teeth.
Queen Waldorf has since made a strong recovery and was adopted by Claudia Belson of St. Catharines. Her former owner was charged with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal by failing to provide veterinary treatment, failing to provide suitable and adequate care for an animal and abandoning an animal in distress.
“She puts a face to the suffering,” petition organizer Sherry Nath said about the dog. Suffering that Nath, a psychiatric nurse from Stoney Creek, said often doesn’t stop with animals. Animal abuse, she explained, can be a warning sign of more severe criminal behaviour to come in abusers. “Everyone knows by now there’s a human link,” Nath said. “It’s been well-documented for many years. It’s quite surprising Canada is so progressive a country and yet we have these laws (that are lax).”
Nath said Canada’s animal cruelty laws were first drafted in 1892 and have remained virtually unchanged since.
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