“No dog should run free in any area where wildlife may be found,” said Ms. Towers. “Regulations and bylaws are in place to protect pets and to prevent even normally docile dogs from chasing wildlife or inadvertently disturbing nests, dens or other wildlife habitat.” Owners who allow pets to travel out of sight and who do not have control of their pets are subject to fines under the Wildlife Act. Municipal bylaws often call for similar care. People are encouraged to call the local Department of Natural Resources office with sightings of raccoons or other wildlife exhibiting unusual behaviour. With an increase in the raccoon population, officials are reminding Nova Scotians to take precautions with domestic pets. Department of Natural Resources offices have received a record number of calls, particularly in Halifax Regional Municipality, about raccoons and distemper disease. Although the disease is not harmful to humans, unvaccinated pets can contract the disease. “When the raccoon population increases, distemper becomes more prominent,” said Julie Towers, Natural Resources director of wildlife. “To protect domestic pets against many diseases and prevent illness or fatalities, it is extremely important to ensure they are properly vaccinated.” Distemper is a viral disease that affects the respiratory and central nervous system. Raccoons, or other animals who have contracted the disease, generally are not aggressive. In most cases, the disease will cause the animal to become lethargic and it may suffer seizures. To discourage nuisance raccoons, people should: refrain from intentionally or unintentionally feeding raccoons; ensure garbage and compost bins are properly secured; do not feed pets outdoors; and keep pets indoors or on a leash.
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“The operating environment in Afghanistan is getting worse by the day,” spokesman Hasan Ferdous told reporters in Islamabad. “This is a country with 6 million people in need of aid. They are not getting anywhere near the aid they need.”Reporting on several mine-related incidents, Mr. Ferdous said five children living in a camp for internally displaced persons had died recently as a result of landmine explosions. “Apparently the children were looking for firewood as the distribution of fuel for heating and cooking purposes had been stopped in the camp,” he said, adding that the UN-supported Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan estimated that each week between 40 to 100 people were injured by mines.The World Food Programme (WFP), meanwhile, said it had regained control of its Kabul warehouse seized earlier by the Taliban. “The armed Taliban have left the warehouse,” WFP spokesman Khaled Mansour told the Islamabad briefing. “We urge the Taliban to return the control of the other warehouse in Kandahar to WFP.”In another development, High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers, in remarks to the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, said that refugees and asylum-seekers were already the object of considerable mistrust in many countries and that the war on terrorism must not become a war on Afghans nor a war on Islam.