Thursday, October 18, 2012

Help a Dog Find a Loving Home this October!

We've all become pretty used to being very full with cats.  It surprises me when we have so many dogs, though.  At the moment, we even have dogs in “the back” who have been medically and temperament- assessed, and are just awaiting a spot in our very full Adoption Centre—just that one more stop on their way to a forever home.  Usually when great dogs are available, they only stay a few days before being snapped up by an eager adopter! It's ironic that we have so many waiting in October, this month being “Adopt a Shelter Dog Month”.

So, why not help us mark this month by taking one of these great dogs into your life?  Visit to see the dogs available for adoption right now.  If it’s not the time for you, please pass the information onto your friends and family.  If you have some free time, why not drop by our new West Hunt Club location and visit the dogs, the cats and all our other animal friends. While you are here, you can learn about the OHS and all of our exciting new programs.
Just look at some of the faces of the dogs hoping you and I will help them find a second chance in a forever home.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

Meet a dog as sweet as Honey!
Jewel will stand by your side!

Target would love a home with another canine friend!
Teddie loves long walks!

Colt would make a loyal friend!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Love us or hate us, but please make sure it’s us!

No one likes to be criticized.  But when you work at a humane society, your skin starts to thicken as you begin to realize that you can’t please everyone. Some think we are too harsh or too lax, too quick to respond, or too slow to act. Why aren't we strictly vegan in everything we do? Or why are we even concerned about “that nonsense”?  You realize after a while, that it is more important that people care about the same things you do, than that they agree with you all the time.

I will admit it is tougher to be criticized for something that you didn't do, something you actually have nothing to do with.  Close to a decade ago, in the same week, the OHS was criticized for spending money to rescue a terrier trapped on a boat off the coast of Hawaii (We didn't, it was the Humane Society of Maui), and I was congratulated for adopting a dog from the meat market in Vietnam (I didn't, and wouldn't.)   It is great that when people think of a humane society, they think of us, but it’s hard to explain yourself when it wasn't even you.

Lately, the OHS has been taking some flack for the case of the Lyndhurst dog breeder who was served a warrant for one of her dogs requiring dentistry.  Only thing is, it wasn't us.  It was the OSPCA—the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.  To be fair, I had to go to Google maps myself to find out where Lyndhurst is.  (It’s about half way between Smith’s Falls and Gananoque, by the way.)  One way or another, it is well outside the jurisdiction of the Ottawa Humane Society—the City of Ottawa. 

The OHS is an independent affiliate of the OSPCA, meaning we have our own board, our own management, our own policies, and our own staff to investigate animal cruelty and neglect.  As the named organization in the Act, the OSPCA, essentially, licenses us.  We don’t agree with the OSPCA all the time, as I am sure they don’t agree with us, and that is fine. We all learn from both criticism and praise we receive.  Of course, this is true only if they go to the right place.

Please send your criticism and praise to the Ottawa Humane Society at

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

Friday, October 5, 2012

Our Investigation's Work

Most Humane Societies and SPCAs in Ontario not only care for animals, but as independent affiliates of the OSPCA, also have police powers under the OPSCA Act to investigate animal cruelty and neglect, This  puts us in a unique position among our local colleagues.  When other groups go wrong and run afoul of the law, it is the Ottawa Humane Society that is responsible for investigating and intervening.   It is a difficult situation to be in, but it is a responsibility we take very seriously.

At the OHS, when it comes to our investigatory role, our philosophy is to take the least intrusive measure possible in order to achieve a lasting and satisfactory outcome.  In the vast majority of cases, this means we are educating and advising. We can and do issue orders and remove animals to relieve their distress. We can and do charge people under the OSPCA Act and the Criminal Code. But orders, removals and charges are very much the exception, reserved for the few that will not comply with the law or are so serious in nature that a legal action is demanded. In fact, so successful are our educational interventions that of the more than 1,000 investigations we undertake every year, only a dozen or two require charges. 

When we take the exceptional step of laying charges, and when it is the painful exception of another group that is charged, it is a reminder that not all animal organizations are the same.  Of course, some are outstanding. Many produce much good with few resources.  Some know what to do, but cannot, as they have taken on too much.  Some are misguided, and believe that leaving an animal in illness and in pain is an acceptable alternative to euthanasia.  Some are animal hoarders under a different guise. Some will not change with education, advice, or any of the less severe interventions open to us.  And so to protect animals we are left with the only remaining option of charges.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director
Ottawa Humane Society

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