Beloved viewers, welcome to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. On today’s program we speak with Ms. Alanna Devine, a vegetarian lawyer and Director of Animal Welfare at the Montreal branch of the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Ms. Devine has a law degree from McGill University in Quebec, Canada, and has clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada. While still a university student she founded the McGill Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, one of the many chapters of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which has been striving to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system for over 30 years.

As a director, Ms. Devine works on behalf of the animals, advocating improvements in animal welfare and anti-cruelty laws at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. Ms. Devine has been predominantly active in closing puppy mills, or places where dogs are intensively bred much like animals on factory farms and currently serves on a provincial government committee that is considering amendments to Quebec’s animal welfare legislation.

Let’s find out how Ms. Devine’s passion to help the animals came into being.

I think my interest in animals generally developed very young as a child, but it was more, what they brought to me, and that I enjoyed being around animals. And, I really think that my passion for animal advocacy and animal law developed in law school. And really it was through this idea of injustice and really reading a lot of philosophical texts and realizing that, I think, one of the major areas that really we need to look at and change for the sake of humanity and society in general is, how we treat animals and really how the law dictates that we treat animals.

So you're now the Director of Animal Welfare here at the Montreal branch of the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. What is it and what are its major achievements?

The Montreal branch of the SPCA does a variety of different things. One, we are predominantly an animal shelter. So we take in animals that are strays that are found on the street. We take in animals also as animal abandonments. We are an unlimited intake shelter, which means, as animals keep coming in, we keep on taking them.

We also have an inspection department where we enforce the cruelty provisions of the criminal code and shortly we will be also enforcing the Provincial Animal Welfare Legislation as well. We do some lobbying and advocacy work and that's where I come in. And again, it's on a federal, provincial and municipal level. There's a lot of work to be done, but, some of the things are on their way to being achieved, and in progress. There’s a lot of work with municipalities to try and really change the way that municipalities deal with their bylaws.

(We are) really trying to inform people about, spay/neuters, trying to put in place spay/neuter initiatives to really reduce overpopulation of animals; doing a lot of work with the provincial government to try and make some positive changes for our legislation. So there are, a lot of things that are en route to being achieved, but certainly we're nowhere near ultimate success. We've got a lot of work to do.

The Society is actively involved in working with local governments in a variety of areas concerning animal welfare to ensure our animal friends are respected and protected.

We like to see municipalities put in place anti-tethering legislation or anti-tethering bylaws. So that means that no dog can be left on a chain maybe at all or longer than two hours. If they are that there’s X, Y and Z, things that have to be put in place: they have to have access to a shelter; the chain can’t be heavier than one tenth of the dog’s body weight; they have to be on a swivel so that they can’t choke themselves. There’s a variety of things that they can put in place with respect to tethering.

We also like to see municipal bylaws that deal with spaying and neutering. So for example there are some municipalities where animals unless someone has a specific permit to breed, their animals have to be spayed or neutered; that they have to purchase licenses for their animals; and that there is different priced licenses for spayed and neutered animals verses un-spayed and neutered animals.

So there’s a whole variety of things that municipalities can do and actually the more I am learning about it the more that I feel that’s really where we can affect a lot of change. Things can happen quickly, it’s not the same complicated process as trying to change things that are provincial or federal level.

After this brief message we will hear more from the dedicated Alanna Devine on animal protection. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

And citizens need to realize also that they have so much power within their municipality. So if they see things that they are not happy about they need to speak to their municipal counselor, their municipal representative, speak their voice.

Welcome back to Animal World: Our Co-inhabitants featuring Ms. Alanna Devine, a vegetarian lawyer, and Director of Animal Welfare at the Montreal branch of the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Let’s now hear about Tommy, one of the sweet canines rescued by the Society.

And Tommy is a special case. He is a Pit Bull. He is about nine months old, came into the shelter completely paralyzed. So his back legs were not working at all, he had to be carried to go outside. We did X-rays, neurological exams, and nothing showed up. And luckily a veterinarian had suggested some really experimental anti-inflammatory medication, and by sheer luck it worked.

So he is still on the medication, and he is doing great, and I fell in love and figured because of his medical history it would be pretty difficult to place him. So he is now mine. I like it, he’s my little spokesperson for the breed and has a great attitude towards everybody and everything, and I think it can really help me. Sometimes a visual is the best thing.

One of the things that I am working very hard on is, working with municipalities, but also working with the public, to try and inform them about (dog) breed prejudice. So certainly there is a lot of hype going on right now about Pit Bulls. And one of the things that I really try and do is inform the public that, it isn’t about the breed, it’s also about how they’re raised, how they’re treated, and that blaming animals isn’t going to solve any problems. They’re such a sensitive, kind, loving, funny breed of dogs.

Ms. Devine has some wise words for us all about adopting an animal companion and the tremendous responsibilities that come with this honor.

I think people need to realize before they take on the commitment of taking in an animal that it’s for the life of that animal which, again, depending on the species, dogs and cats could be up to 15 years. People need to be prepared to, raise that animal, give them, the food, the love, the socialization and the training, and the veterinary care.

And it’s difficult in this province when you move, it’s very hard to find a place that accepts animals. So people have to be willing to make that commitment to find that place, and realize that taking on an animal is like taking on a new family member. They made a commitment and that should be for the life of that animal.

We asked Alanna Devine about conducting animal advocacy and how each of us can get involved in making a difference in the lives of the animals in our respective communities.

Petitions are really effective, writing to newspapers, letters to the editor, and making appointments (to see government officials); people don’t realize that they have a large voice, like I said municipal government is a very easy to approach. So people don’t realize the power that they have to effect change. And the other thing I think is really informing those around them. You’d be surprised unfortunately how many people still go and buy a dog from a pet store.

But hopefully all of the volunteers, and the volunteers who know other friends and who know friends and who know friends if they see someone saying they’re interested in getting a dog, they say, “Hey, why don’t you rescue a dog? There are “X” number of dogs that need homes. Try the rescue option. Do not go to a pet store.” So it’s really passing the message on. So I think through word of mouth and really citizens realizing how much power they have we will be able to affect a lot of change.

For her praiseworthy work Ms. Devine was conferred the International Fund for Animal Welfare Animal Advocate Award

It was really surprising and quite an honor. And as much it was given to me I think it’s a testament of, again, I’ve only been able to accomplish the things that I’ve accomplished because of I think citizens and society. I use the media a lot as a venue for change and I think that award, it wasn’t me that deserved that award. I think it was really the population of Quebec and Montreal that heard some messages that made sense and really spoke out and that’s why we’re starting to see some changes.

So it was very, very meaningful and certainly nice to be recognized in that way but I think that everyone who has written a letter to the editor, and has spoken out to a friend, has written to their municipal and provincial governments deserves part of that award and a tap on the back because it’s because of them that I think we’re seeing changes in our laws and in the attitudes of citizens towards animals.

Hi, I am Alanna Devine, animal welfare advocate and Director of Animal Welfare at the Montreal SPCA. I am letting you know Be Veg, Go Green 2 Save the Planet!

Ms. Devine, with absolute appreciation, we applaud your and the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ steadfast commitment in helping our animal friends. May your admirable work bring ever greater joy to humans and animals alike.

For more details on the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, please visit

Thank you for joining us today on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Enlightening Entertainment is next, following Noteworthy News. May the day soon arrive where humanity lovingly regards all beings as their brothers and sisters.