Volume 12 Week 5

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(Posted 8:30 a.m., Sept. 30)
Animal rescue shelter owner to fight inadequate care allegations
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Navan Animal Rescue Corporation owner Michelle Mayer is surrounded by supporters days after being charged with failing to provide adequate care for her animals by the Ottawa Humane Society. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The owner of an animal rescue shelter on Navan Road says she plans to fight allegations that she failed to provide adequate care to the animals she's rescued from death's door.

Michelle Mayer says the allegations, which include three charges of failure to provide an adequate standard of care and one charge of failure to provide adequate water, are without merit and she palns to fight them in court.

Mayer founded the Navan Animal Rescue Corporation, or NARC, in 2007 to rescue dogs that had been earmarked for euthanasia by area SPCAs in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. She cares for the animals for various lengths of time until she can find a good home for them with area families.

Since 2007, she has rescued and found homes for over 1,000 dogs, all of which would have been killed if she hadn't intervened.

On average she takes in between six and 10 dogs a week although she has taken in as many as 15 dogs on a busy weekend. The centre is run entirely through donations. Mayer doesn't receive any government funding of any kind.

Mayer is particular upset about media reports that the dogs under her care seldom, if ever, see a vet. When asked to answer the allegation, she produces a pile of vet bills two inches thick. In the past year alone, she has spent over $60,000 on veterinarian services. The money is raised entirely through donations from NARC supporters, many of whom have adopted dogs from the centre.

"If the dogs never saw a vet and they were that unhealthy, no one would ever adopt them," says Mayer.

Blackburn Animal Hospital owner, Dr. Sabah Mobarak, says Mayer brings her dogs into the clinic on a regular basis at least once a week, if not more.

"She brings them to me for every single problem they have. She is doing all she can to help those animals," says Dr. Mobarak.

As for the specific allegation that she failed to provide adequate water for the dogs, Mayer says it's a matter of timing.

"The dogs don't have a water bowl in front of them all the time, because they move around and they tip them over a lot especially when they're in their pens and them their bedding gets wet," explains Mayer. "But they get water on a regular basis all the time."

During the day the dogs are kept on leashes in the open or in large pens that are about four feet by eight feet in demension, much bigger than the cages dogs are kept in at the Ottawa Humane Society, and at night they stay in a moblue trailer turned into an animal shelter.

Mayer says she does the best she can with what she has and the proof is in the hundreds of dogs who she has given a second life to and the hundreds of people who have adopted animals from the centre, many of whom are already sending letters of support to her.

Ironically, Mayer could have easily closed the rescue shelter when a fire destroyed her house on New Year's Eve in 2009, but instead of closing down she moved into the trailed with the dogs for two years while she waited for her house to get rebuilt. She made it through that ordeal thanks to the outpouring of support from friends, clients and even some complete strangers who have become friends since, and she plans to make it through this latest challenge with the same network of support.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

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Posted Jan. 12

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