Former SPCA boss Jim Sykes steps down

News Sep 17, 2009 Ancaster News

If dogs are truly man’s best friend, then Jim Sykes has certainly returned the favour.

Mr. Sykes has helped thousands of dogs, cats and other animals find new homes during his time with the SPCA of Hamilton-Burlington.

After more than five years as the agency’s president and chief executive officer, the Ancaster resident has stepped down to pursue his own private consulting business.

Mr. Sykes said he felt the time was right to start his own independent business, which will also focus on animal welfare.

A former community development coordinato for theYMCA of Hamilton-Burlington, Mr. Sykes said children who are raised with an appreciation for animal welfare tend to achieve positive relationships in their personal and professional lives.

The SPCA’s behaviour-based adoption service, called Meet Your Match, is perhaps Mr. Sykes’ most notable achievement. In just five years the agency’s adoption numbers have doubled, from about 1,600 to 3,200.

The SPCA of Hamilton-Burlington was the first in Canada to adopt the behavior based program designed to link pets to prospective owners based on personality traits.

“That’s one of the biggest things we’ve innovated,” said Mr. Sykes.

In addition to potentially saving hundreds of pets’ lives, the Meet Your Match program is also ensuring dogs -and especially cats – are spayed or neutered to control population growth.

The SPCA’s mandate includes enforcement action against individuals suspected of committing animal cruelty. The organization investigates reports of dog fighting or puppy mill operations, animal neglect or animal hoarding.

Mr. Sykes has four Dachshund dogs at his Ancaster home. He also had a cat which recently passed away at age 15. Mr. Sykes had another Dachshund named Sophie, who passed away last year. Sophie was surrendered to a shelter by her owner, who explained the dog was already spayed. When Sophie went in heat two weeks later, Mr. Sykes knew that was a lie. It was later determined that Sophie came from a puppy mill, where she was likely bred eight or nine times. She was also described as “food aggressive.” She devoured each meal as if it were her last, meaning she was likely denied adequate nourishment by her previous owner. During her latest birth, Sophie required a Csection, which would have made future pregnancies problematic. That’s when her owner finally decided to give her up.

“At least they surrendered her to a shelter,” Mr. Sykes said.

While only licensed breeders are permitted to sell purebred dogs, Mr. Sykes points out dog breeding is not illegal, as long as owners ensure the proper care standards are met.

All too often, he explained, puppy mill dogs are kept in cages their entire lives where they are denied proper exercise, food, water and veterinary care.

Controlling the cat population remains a key focus for the local SPCA, following its declaration of Year of the Cat, 2008.

Mr. Sykes said several media outlets called to question an SPCA news release that stated a single female and male cat can produce up to 421,000 kittens in an eight-year span.

“They thought that was a typo,” said Mr. Sykes.

With help from Dr. Liz O’Brien at the Village Cat Clinic in Ancaster, the SPCA has also instituted a program for feral cats. Over the last four years, about 200 cats born in the wild have been trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and released. Mr. Sykes said the catch and release program is actually more effective than euthanizing wild cats.

If the cats were simply euthanized other wild cat colonies would move into the area, filling the void left by the previous colony.

City of Hamilton bylaws currently limit homeowners to two pets in the city-proper and four pets in Ancaster.

“Personally, I would see that as restrictive,” said Mr. Sykes, who is himself within the limits only by virtue of his residency in Ancaster.

While he expects the city to draft a harmonized pet bylaw that could increase the limit, Mr. Sykes is also a huge supporter of cat licensing, a proposal thathas already been shelved in Hamilton. Mr. Sykes said cat licensing would help more lost felines reconnect with their owners. Only three to four per cent of sheltered cats are claimed by their owners, said Mr. Sykes, while up to 75 per cent of lost dogs are reunited, due largely to licensing standards. By the end of this year, Mr. Sykes hopes to see the Hamilton-Burlington SPCA expand its East Mountain facility on Dartnall Road to include a small animal hospital facility.

The project received a $172,000 grant from the provincial government. The proposed hospital would care for animals surrendered by owners or rescued from abuse or neglect. The SPCA hopes to staff the facility with two part-time veterinarians.

The Hamilton-Burlington SPCA continues to provide adoption services for cats and dogs. Prices start at $200 for a cat six months and older, which includes six weeks of free pet plan insurance, registration and lifetime membership in the Pet Lynx pet identification system, spaying or neutering and up to date vaccinations.

Contact the Hamilton-Burlington SPCA at 905-574-7722 or visit www.hamiltonspca.com

Former SPCA boss Jim Sykes steps down

News Sep 17, 2009 Ancaster News

If dogs are truly man’s best friend, then Jim Sykes has certainly returned the favour.

Mr. Sykes has helped thousands of dogs, cats and other animals find new homes during his time with the SPCA of Hamilton-Burlington.

After more than five years as the agency’s president and chief executive officer, the Ancaster resident has stepped down to pursue his own private consulting business.

Mr. Sykes said he felt the time was right to start his own independent business, which will also focus on animal welfare.

A former community development coordinato for theYMCA of Hamilton-Burlington, Mr. Sykes said children who are raised with an appreciation for animal welfare tend to achieve positive relationships in their personal and professional lives.

The SPCA’s behaviour-based adoption service, called Meet Your Match, is perhaps Mr. Sykes’ most notable achievement. In just five years the agency’s adoption numbers have doubled, from about 1,600 to 3,200.

The SPCA of Hamilton-Burlington was the first in Canada to adopt the behavior based program designed to link pets to prospective owners based on personality traits.

“That’s one of the biggest things we’ve innovated,” said Mr. Sykes.

In addition to potentially saving hundreds of pets’ lives, the Meet Your Match program is also ensuring dogs -and especially cats – are spayed or neutered to control population growth.

The SPCA’s mandate includes enforcement action against individuals suspected of committing animal cruelty. The organization investigates reports of dog fighting or puppy mill operations, animal neglect or animal hoarding.

Mr. Sykes has four Dachshund dogs at his Ancaster home. He also had a cat which recently passed away at age 15. Mr. Sykes had another Dachshund named Sophie, who passed away last year. Sophie was surrendered to a shelter by her owner, who explained the dog was already spayed. When Sophie went in heat two weeks later, Mr. Sykes knew that was a lie. It was later determined that Sophie came from a puppy mill, where she was likely bred eight or nine times. She was also described as “food aggressive.” She devoured each meal as if it were her last, meaning she was likely denied adequate nourishment by her previous owner. During her latest birth, Sophie required a Csection, which would have made future pregnancies problematic. That’s when her owner finally decided to give her up.

“At least they surrendered her to a shelter,” Mr. Sykes said.

While only licensed breeders are permitted to sell purebred dogs, Mr. Sykes points out dog breeding is not illegal, as long as owners ensure the proper care standards are met.

All too often, he explained, puppy mill dogs are kept in cages their entire lives where they are denied proper exercise, food, water and veterinary care.

Controlling the cat population remains a key focus for the local SPCA, following its declaration of Year of the Cat, 2008.

Mr. Sykes said several media outlets called to question an SPCA news release that stated a single female and male cat can produce up to 421,000 kittens in an eight-year span.

“They thought that was a typo,” said Mr. Sykes.

With help from Dr. Liz O’Brien at the Village Cat Clinic in Ancaster, the SPCA has also instituted a program for feral cats. Over the last four years, about 200 cats born in the wild have been trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and released. Mr. Sykes said the catch and release program is actually more effective than euthanizing wild cats.

If the cats were simply euthanized other wild cat colonies would move into the area, filling the void left by the previous colony.

City of Hamilton bylaws currently limit homeowners to two pets in the city-proper and four pets in Ancaster.

“Personally, I would see that as restrictive,” said Mr. Sykes, who is himself within the limits only by virtue of his residency in Ancaster.

While he expects the city to draft a harmonized pet bylaw that could increase the limit, Mr. Sykes is also a huge supporter of cat licensing, a proposal thathas already been shelved in Hamilton. Mr. Sykes said cat licensing would help more lost felines reconnect with their owners. Only three to four per cent of sheltered cats are claimed by their owners, said Mr. Sykes, while up to 75 per cent of lost dogs are reunited, due largely to licensing standards. By the end of this year, Mr. Sykes hopes to see the Hamilton-Burlington SPCA expand its East Mountain facility on Dartnall Road to include a small animal hospital facility.

The project received a $172,000 grant from the provincial government. The proposed hospital would care for animals surrendered by owners or rescued from abuse or neglect. The SPCA hopes to staff the facility with two part-time veterinarians.

The Hamilton-Burlington SPCA continues to provide adoption services for cats and dogs. Prices start at $200 for a cat six months and older, which includes six weeks of free pet plan insurance, registration and lifetime membership in the Pet Lynx pet identification system, spaying or neutering and up to date vaccinations.

Contact the Hamilton-Burlington SPCA at 905-574-7722 or visit www.hamiltonspca.com

Former SPCA boss Jim Sykes steps down

News Sep 17, 2009 Ancaster News

If dogs are truly man’s best friend, then Jim Sykes has certainly returned the favour.

Mr. Sykes has helped thousands of dogs, cats and other animals find new homes during his time with the SPCA of Hamilton-Burlington.

After more than five years as the agency’s president and chief executive officer, the Ancaster resident has stepped down to pursue his own private consulting business.

Mr. Sykes said he felt the time was right to start his own independent business, which will also focus on animal welfare.

A former community development coordinato for theYMCA of Hamilton-Burlington, Mr. Sykes said children who are raised with an appreciation for animal welfare tend to achieve positive relationships in their personal and professional lives.

The SPCA’s behaviour-based adoption service, called Meet Your Match, is perhaps Mr. Sykes’ most notable achievement. In just five years the agency’s adoption numbers have doubled, from about 1,600 to 3,200.

The SPCA of Hamilton-Burlington was the first in Canada to adopt the behavior based program designed to link pets to prospective owners based on personality traits.

“That’s one of the biggest things we’ve innovated,” said Mr. Sykes.

In addition to potentially saving hundreds of pets’ lives, the Meet Your Match program is also ensuring dogs -and especially cats – are spayed or neutered to control population growth.

The SPCA’s mandate includes enforcement action against individuals suspected of committing animal cruelty. The organization investigates reports of dog fighting or puppy mill operations, animal neglect or animal hoarding.

Mr. Sykes has four Dachshund dogs at his Ancaster home. He also had a cat which recently passed away at age 15. Mr. Sykes had another Dachshund named Sophie, who passed away last year. Sophie was surrendered to a shelter by her owner, who explained the dog was already spayed. When Sophie went in heat two weeks later, Mr. Sykes knew that was a lie. It was later determined that Sophie came from a puppy mill, where she was likely bred eight or nine times. She was also described as “food aggressive.” She devoured each meal as if it were her last, meaning she was likely denied adequate nourishment by her previous owner. During her latest birth, Sophie required a Csection, which would have made future pregnancies problematic. That’s when her owner finally decided to give her up.

“At least they surrendered her to a shelter,” Mr. Sykes said.

While only licensed breeders are permitted to sell purebred dogs, Mr. Sykes points out dog breeding is not illegal, as long as owners ensure the proper care standards are met.

All too often, he explained, puppy mill dogs are kept in cages their entire lives where they are denied proper exercise, food, water and veterinary care.

Controlling the cat population remains a key focus for the local SPCA, following its declaration of Year of the Cat, 2008.

Mr. Sykes said several media outlets called to question an SPCA news release that stated a single female and male cat can produce up to 421,000 kittens in an eight-year span.

“They thought that was a typo,” said Mr. Sykes.

With help from Dr. Liz O’Brien at the Village Cat Clinic in Ancaster, the SPCA has also instituted a program for feral cats. Over the last four years, about 200 cats born in the wild have been trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and released. Mr. Sykes said the catch and release program is actually more effective than euthanizing wild cats.

If the cats were simply euthanized other wild cat colonies would move into the area, filling the void left by the previous colony.

City of Hamilton bylaws currently limit homeowners to two pets in the city-proper and four pets in Ancaster.

“Personally, I would see that as restrictive,” said Mr. Sykes, who is himself within the limits only by virtue of his residency in Ancaster.

While he expects the city to draft a harmonized pet bylaw that could increase the limit, Mr. Sykes is also a huge supporter of cat licensing, a proposal thathas already been shelved in Hamilton. Mr. Sykes said cat licensing would help more lost felines reconnect with their owners. Only three to four per cent of sheltered cats are claimed by their owners, said Mr. Sykes, while up to 75 per cent of lost dogs are reunited, due largely to licensing standards. By the end of this year, Mr. Sykes hopes to see the Hamilton-Burlington SPCA expand its East Mountain facility on Dartnall Road to include a small animal hospital facility.

The project received a $172,000 grant from the provincial government. The proposed hospital would care for animals surrendered by owners or rescued from abuse or neglect. The SPCA hopes to staff the facility with two part-time veterinarians.

The Hamilton-Burlington SPCA continues to provide adoption services for cats and dogs. Prices start at $200 for a cat six months and older, which includes six weeks of free pet plan insurance, registration and lifetime membership in the Pet Lynx pet identification system, spaying or neutering and up to date vaccinations.

Contact the Hamilton-Burlington SPCA at 905-574-7722 or visit www.hamiltonspca.com