Friday, November 30, 2012

The Animal Group that tried to Stop a Killer

A Fifth Estate report to be aired tonight has documented  that early warnings had gone to both Toronto and Montreal police that alleged killer Luka Magnotta was danger to the community.  The documentary delves into the cat-and-mouse game Magnotta played with a group of 11 amateur online sleuths — dubbed the Animal Beta Project—beginning in 2010, and continuing over a period of 18 months leading up to the murder of student Jun Lin.
The group had been tracking Magnotta on-line since he allegedly began posting gruesome videos of himself torturing and killing cats.  The sleuths, some of whom chose to remain anonymous in the documentary, believed if Magnotta was, indeed a cat killer, it wasn't a stretch to imagine him killing humans.  They tracked his identity and whereabouts on-line and first warned Toronto police, and later the Montreal force when Magnotta relocated there.  

The humane movement has long-documented and warned about the connection between violence against animals and violence against humans.  We believe our efforts to build compassion and empathy by bringing together animals and children can achieve a less violent community over time.

For more information about the Ottawa Humane Society’s education and other programs for children, please visit

Bruce Roney, 
Executive Director

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

An Invitation

It's nice to have people drop by this time of year.  It's true at home and here at the Ottawa Humane Society.  It's great to at last have the kind of place that we can welcome our community to visit.

Our old Champagne Avenue shelter was too small, and frankly too depressing to invite people over.  Of course, we were grateful when people came over to find their forever friend, but it wasn't really the kind of place just to visit. 

The West Hunt Club shelter is very different. It was designed for people to drop by. It's bright and spacious and the animals are happy and accessible.  There is plenty to see, and a lot going on.   If you haven't yet visited, I think you will like it. And there is no better time to visit than the holidays.  We've decorated and are waiting to roll out the red carpet for you.

I really hope that you and your family will join us for our holiday open house on Saturday December 1 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM.  There will be refreshments, holiday crafts for the kids, Santa will be here, and of course, the animals are waiting to see you.

If you can't make it on December the 1st, please do drop by over the holidays.  We are pretty proud of our new shelter, and look forward to telling you about all it has allowed us to do for the animals in our care today, and how we are building a brighter future for tomorrow’s animals.

Bruce Roney, 
Executive Director

Friday, November 16, 2012

A pet is for life, not just for Christmas.

Of all the messages that humane societies in North America have tried to lodge in people’s brains, the most successful is this: "Don’t adopt a pet at Christmas".  Unfortunately, although that is what many people heard, it generally wasn't the intended message.  The real message—and it’s pretty catchy—is this:  "A pet is for life, not just for Christmas."   

Years ago, seeing abandonment and relinquishment of hundreds of thousands of pets given as gifts, the humane movement wanted people to stop and think about their commitment and readiness before bringing a pet into their family. Too often parents were buying dogs and cats for their children like disposable Barbies or Hot Wheels.  To this day, most humane societies have deep concerns about pets as gifts, and most, like the Ottawa Humane Society, will not adopt a pet to someone intending it as a gift for someone else.

Some of you will want to write to call me on this, having read about our successful Christmas delivery program, where Santa -hatted volunteers deliver pets to excited children on Christmas morning. (Or in one case, an evening of Hanukkah ) What you may not have noticed is that these adoptions had actually been completed days before Christmas, following the OHS’s usual adoption screening and education regime with the parents.  In fact, the whole event has been carefully planned, and the children are the only ones that are surprised.

The Christmas holidays have changed significantly.  A trend toward smaller families and greater mobility across the country has meant that holiday celebrations are often much smaller and quieter now for many of us.  With some preparation and certain precautions, the Christmas holidays may be an excellent time to bring a pet into your family.  It may be one of only a few times in the year that you are able to stay home from work, or have a break from hectic family schedules to help your pet adjust to her new life with you.

Certainly there are hazards for pets that can increase at Christmas. Chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats.  Ingesting tinsel and ribbon is a significant risk to cats as it can easily lodge in their intestines. Chewing on cords for holiday lighting is a risk to dogs.   But perhaps the greatest risk to both dogs and cats at the holidays is simply slipping outside during holiday commotion and becoming injured or lost.

Bringing a pet into your life deserves careful consideration at any time of the year.  The Ottawa Humane Society is here to help you match a pet to your lifestyle and help you integrate an animal into your home.   Call, visit, or go online at for assistance in finding your forever friend—and to find out more about the OHS at Christmas and all year long.

P.S.  Please join Santa and the animals on Saturday, December 1,  from 1PM until 4PM at 245 West Hunt Club for the Ottawa Humane Society Holiday Open House.  

Bruce Roney, 
Executive Director

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