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

Share on Social Media