Thursday, March 20, 2014

What's going on?

You probably have seen my face many times lately. I have been talking to the media a lot about the most recent horrific crime against an animal—the alleged intentional dragging of Tyson , a two-year-old German Shepherd, behind his owner's vehicle.

This is just the latest in a series of shocking crimes: the public beating of Breezy, the starvation of Charlie the Great Dane, and the capture and torture-killing of a mother and baby raccoon. Overall, our number of investigations has increased significantly, and these incidents are among the most serious and disturbing we have witnessed in many years.

Two-year-old Tyson, recovering at the OHS, is the
latest case in a series of shocking crimes against animals.

To a person, reporters have asked me the same question: "What is going on? Why have so many terrible crimes been committed in Ottawa over the past year?" My response? I wish I knew. If we understood it, maybe there is something we at the Ottawa Humane Society could do about it.

Why here? Why now? Violent crime levels have fallen dramatically in most of the Western world over the past several decades. Ottawa has typically seen much lower violent crime levels than its counterparts, certainly in comparison to comparably-sized U.S. cities. Are animals becoming proxies—outlets for aggression once perpetrated against humans? Is this just a terrible statistical blip?

Provincial legislation has improved significantly in recent years, and the Criminal Code, while still seriously flawed and out of date, has at least increased penalties for those convicted. Is our community more aware of crimes against animals and therefore more vigilant and willing to report? Is there a wider trend fueled by some awful social change?

Tell us what you think, and more importantly, tell us what you think can be done. Write us with your thoughts on Facebook or at

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

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