2020 Media Releases
- Canada Day during COVID-19 Could Pose an Increased Risk to Pet Owners, says Ottawa Humane Society (June 30, 2020)
- Ottawa Humane Society Cancels Annual Wiggle Waggle Walk and Run, Shifts to Online Fundraising (June 23, 2020)
- Ottawa Humane Society Helps Pet Owners Struggling to Afford Pet Food with Emergency Pet Food Bank (June 2, 2020)
- Increased Danger to Pets Left Alone in Cars as Temperature Soars: Ottawa Humane Society (May 27, 2020)
- The Ottawa Humane Society is Reminding People to Leave Healthy Wildlife Alone (May 14, 2020)
- Ottawa Humane Society Begins Offering Appointment-Based Adoptions (May 5, 2020)
- Ottawa Humane Society Changes Its Garden Party to an Online Fundraiser for 2020 (March 30, 2020)
- The Animals Need Your Help Now More Than Ever, says Ottawa Humane Society (March 26, 2020)
- Ottawa Humane Society Urges Pet Owners to Prepare for COVID-19, Temporarily Limits Shelter Intake to Ensure Neediest Animals Receive Care (March 17, 2020)
- Long-Stay Animals in Ottawa Humane Society Care Find Homes after a Combined Five Years (Feb. 26, 2020)
- Protect Pets From Dangerously Cold Temperatures Forecast to Hit Ottawa Tonight (Feb. 13, 2020)
- This February, Love is in the Air at the Ottawa Humane Society (Feb. 6, 2020)
- Ottawa Humane Society Releases List of Five Animals in its Care the Longest, Hopes to Find Adopters Urgently (Jan. 16, 2020)
June 30, 2020 — The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) is preparing for a possible spike in lost dogs, as individual firework displays are likely to be more prevalent because of COVID-19 physical distancing measures.
Dozens of pets become lost or injured each year because they are spooked by fireworks, and an increase in backyard fireworks heightens that risk. Dogs in particular fill the OHS shelter in what continues to be a consequence of the loud Canada Day festivities.
“Even very confident and calm dogs can become frightened by fireworks and other loud noises,” says Bruce Roney, OHS President & CEO. “While humans understand what is happening, animals with sensitive hearing have no idea what these booming noises at unpredictable intervals are. They can become very scared, very quickly, increasing the risk that they might try to bolt and become lost. This is why we at the OHS strongly advise people not to take their dogs to firework displays.”
The OHS recommends that pet owners take precautions to protect their pet so that everyone can have an enjoyable long weekend. They suggest that if you are home when fireworks are exploding, you should remain calm and take your pet to a place protected from the noise, like a bathroom, basement or perhaps a crate padded with blankets. Draw your curtains and block all exits. If your pet is used to the television or a fan, you can turn that on to mask and camouflage the booming sounds outside.
“Do your pet and yourself a favour. The last thing you want to do is spend a very worried Canada Day searching for your missing pet,” urges Roney.
Anyone who sees a lost dog is asked to call the City of Ottawa at 311.
Those who unfortunately lose their pets can fill out a lost report at www.ottawahumane.ca/services/lost-and-found/claim-your-lost-pet/lost-animal-report/.
June 23, 2020 — The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) has made the difficult decision to cancel its annual Wiggle Waggle Walk and Run for 2020 due to the ongoing public health crisis.
To ensure care for the animals, the OHS is turning the event into an online only fundraising event so that would-be walkers and runners are encouraged to raise money with their own fundraising campaigns.
The event, which was in its 32nd year, raises money for the more than 8,000 animals that come into OHS care each year. Last year’s event raised more than $200,000, but COVID-19 makes 2020 “ruff” timing to wiggle and waggle.
“It’s sad that we need to cancel the Wiggle Waggle Walk and Run for 2020,” said OHS President & CEO, Bruce Roney. “We’re really counting on past participants to take part in virtual fundraising to provide life-saving care for the animals in the walk’s absence.”
The online event allows participants to use the OHS fundraising platform to track their success and share it with their friends and family to raise money for the animals together.
For more information or to participate in the online fundraising event, visit: www.ottawahumane.ca/walkrun.
June 2, 2020 — The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) has recently launched its Emergency Pet Food Bank, helping pet owners who are struggling to afford pet food due to COVID-19.
One of the most significant effects of the public health crisis is loss of income due to surging unemployment. The OHS is hoping this will help families facing financial hardship keep their pets throughout the crisis.
“When this public health crisis began, we were worried what it might mean for Ottawa’s animals,” said OHS President & CEO, Bruce Roney. “Loss of income can force families to make difficult decisions, but we don’t want to see families forced to surrender their pets over it.”
The OHS Emergency Pet Food Bank runs each Thursday on-site at the OHS, along with making shipments to local foodbanks. Due to physical distancing guidelines, on-site pickup is only available by appointment.
So far since its launch in late-April, the OHS Emergency Pet Food Bank has provided more than 2,000 pounds of food to local pet owners. Those who are facing financial hardship and need support can make an appointment to pick up pet food at www.ottawahumane.ca/your-pet/covid-19-community-pet-resources/.
May 27, 2020 — Extremely hot temperatures forecasted for Ottawa this week pose a huge danger to pets left alone in cars, warns the Ottawa Humane Society (OHS).
“Dogs die in hot cars,” says Bruce Roney, OHS President & CEO. “The severe heat makes it crucial that people never leave their pets alone in a car. Temperatures in vehicles rise extremely quickly—even with windows open. Pets can quickly overheat, leading to brain damage and even death”.
The temperature is expected to hit 33 degrees today, prompting Environment and Climate Change Canada to issue a heat warning for the City of Ottawa.
If you see an animal alone in a vehicle with the owner nowhere in sight, dial 911. Signs of heatstroke in dogs include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Heavy panting
- Lack of co-ordination
- Weakness or muscle tremors
- Glazed eyes
“These extraordinarily high temperatures can kill an animal left alone in a car fast,” says Roney. “If you’re running an errand, leave your pet at home. Don’t take the risk. It’s a choice that could make the difference between life and death for your best friend.”
For more information please visit www.ottawahumane.ca.
May 14, 2020 — The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) is asking community members to keep their distance from wildlife spotted in their neighbourhood. While animals are in their mating season, they may seem more prevalent outdoors, but that does not mean they are in need of help.
With so many people at home during the day due to COVID-19, encounters with wildlife may seem more common. This can lead to more cases of concerned community members removing wildlife from its habitat and bringing it to the OHS, even if it does not need their help. Juveniles may appear abandoned, but in fact their mother may be nearby.
Each spring the OHS sees a dramatic rise in the amount of wildlife coming into its care. So far this month, wildlife has accounted a very large percentage of shelter intake and local wildlife rehabbers are becoming overwhelmed.
“Many animals are not in need of help and may actually be worse off with it, especially juveniles,” says OHS Manager: Admission & Rehoming, Zenon Stecewicz. “Unless it seems sick or in distress, wildlife should be left alone.”
For information on when wild animals need help and how to help them, visit: ottawahumane.ca/services/wildlife-faqs-2/.
May 5, 2020 — The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) has begun offering physically distanced, appointment-based adoptions in an effort to rehome some of the animals currently in its care.
Adopters will be able to look at the pets available on the OHS website and submit an application online. Once a match is made, the adoption will be arranged. The adoption process will provide the same careful matching support as the OHS’s standard adoption process, while providing for appropriate physical distancing and cleaning between clients. The Adoption Centre remains closed to visitors and potential adopters.
“Over the past few weeks, we have heard a growing desire from our community for adoptions to resume,” said OHS President & CEO, Bruce Roney. “We also have many animals who need to find their forever home.”
The move to offer appointment-based adoptions comes weeks after the OHS suspended most of its programming, including adoptions, due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 public health crisis. After careful deliberation and consultation with other likeminded Ontario humane society partners, the OHS believes its plan for appointment-based adoptions meets both the needs of its adoptable animals, and the health and safety of interested adopters and its staff.
For more information, visit www.ottawahumane.ca/adopt.
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March 30, 2020 — The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) has made the difficult, but necessary, decision to cancel the public portion of the 20th annual OHS Garden Party. The OHS is pleased to announce the public garden party is changing to a virtual fundraising event which can be conducted in a safe, secure and convenient way.
The online auction component will be live from Friday, May 1 at 7 a.m. until Sunday, May 31 at 10 p.m.
OHS supporters are encouraged to register online to bid on a selection of experiences, gift cards, spa services, baskets, artwork and more. In order for this event to reach its goal, and for the OHS not to fall short on fundraising targets, they need your help online.
With each person’s bid, they are supporting the nearly 8,000 animals that the OHS cares for each year. With this in mind, the OHS encourages everyone to share the website link with their family, coworkers, and friends so they too can contribute to the success of this effort and win some great prizes at the same time.
In addition to the Ottawa Humane Society Virtual Garden Party event, the OHS wants to showcase all of its restaurant partners that had planned to serve delicious offerings on-site at the event. Updates on this will be available soon at www.ottawahumane.ca/gardenparty. Questions about the event can be addressed to the OHS events team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-725-3166, ext. 263.
The OHS thanks Ottawa for supporting this event in a different way, and helping fulfil its mission to lead Ottawa in building a humane and compassionate community for all animals.
March 26, 2020 — Despite unprecedented challenges, the Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) is committed to continuing its critical services for animals in need.
The OHS has issued an urgent appeal to the community for donations to support the critical services it is offering throughout this public health crisis.
“We know that this crisis has placed financial strain on many families and businesses in our community, and it is placing strain on us,” said OHS President & CEO, Bruce Roney. “We continue to rely on donations from the community to fund the essential services such as shelter, life-saving surgery and medication that we’re providing for the hundreds of animals in our care.”
The OHS is currently caring for around 250 animals, with more coming into its care each day. While some nonessential staff have been asked to work remotely to follow the recommendations of health officials, essential staff continue to work hard onsite ensuring the animals are still able to receive the best quality of care possible.
Those who are able to support the care of Ottawa’s animals are encouraged to make a donation at www.ottawahumane.ca/HelpTheAnimals.
Ottawa Humane Society Urges Pet Owners to Prepare for COVID-19, Temporarily Limits Shelter Intake to Ensure Neediest Animals Receive Care
March 17, 2020 — The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) is reminding pet owners that they should have an emergency plan in place for their pets, whether or not they are diagnosed with COVID-19.
“Sometimes when preparing for emergency situations like a pandemic, people forget to make a plan for their pets,” said OHS President & CEO, Bruce Roney. “We want to remind the community that it’s something they should have in place before they need to use it.”
There are several key steps pet owners should take to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their pet in the case that they become incapacitated from doing so:
- Pet owners should be making emergency plans for their pets, including ensuring that they have adequate food and supplies for them for at least a couple of weeks, as well as an emergency care plan should they not be able to care for their pets.
- If pet owners don’t have emergency pet care available, they should find out now who their neighbour is and ask if they might help in an emergency, contact their veterinarian, a local boarding kennel or a member of their community association, or talk to a family member.
- If a pet owner finds them self in an urgent situation right now and has no one to help, they should contact the OHS to discuss their options. The OHS does not provide transportation services or offer pet boarding.
COVID-19 has also posed an unprecedented challenge to animal shelters like the OHS, stretching available staffing resources thin while needing to provide the same standard of care to the animals.
To ensure the OHS can prioritize emergency situations and help the neediest animals first, the OHS will only accept the surrender of companion animals in urgent situations. It will review its ability to take other pets beginning April 13.
Further, the OHS is asking Ottawa residents not to bring healthy, stray animals to the shelter at this time. Stray dogs should be reported to the City at 311. Residents are asked to complete online “found” reports on the OHS website for healthy, stray cats. Injured or ill stray animals should continue to be brought to the OHS.
“It’s extremely important for us to be able to maintain the level of care we provide our animals and be able to respond to emergency situations,” said OHS Director: Operations, Sharon Miko. “Temporarily limiting our intake is an important, albeit difficult step for us to ensure we’re able to do so.”
The move to restrict animal intake comes as part of a number of major steps the OHS is taking to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Those measures can be found at: www.ottawahumane.ca/COVID-19/.
February 26, 2020 — The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) is excited to report that all of the animals on its recently shared list of longest stay pets have found forever homes. They spent a combined roughly five years in OHS care looking for new homes.
“We’re thrilled to see these cats get the second chances they deserve,” said OHS manager: admissions and rehoming, Zenon Stecewicz. “We’re also thankful to the hundreds of community members who helped promote them on social media and gave them the exposure they needed to be adopted.”
The OHS released the list in January as a plea for community members to open their hearts to a long-stay animal, and within weeks all of the animals found their homes. Despite being available on the OHS website for adoption, they were being overlooked due to some special needs and received very little attention from potential adopters.
“For animals with unique behavioral or medical needs, sometimes we need to go the extra mile to find the right homes,” Stecewicz continued. “These animals deserve a second chance and they’re worth the extra effort.”
Although the long-stay pets have been adopted, they aren’t the only animals looking for forever families. To see a full list of the animals up for adoption at the OHS, potential adopters should visit ottawahumane.ca/adopt.
February 13, 2020 — The extreme cold forecast for the city tonight means pets left outside too long risk frostbite and even death without shelter from the frigid weather. Cold weather can be as dangerous for animals as it is people.
Pet owners can protect their animals from the cold by taking a few precautions:
- Cats should live indoors year-round and never be allowed to roam in the cold.
- Limit the time your dog spends outside. Take your dog for shorter, more frequent walks.
- Consider a sweater or coat for your dog.
- Be sure to wipe your dog’s paws after returning from a walk to remove salt, sand and other chemicals designed to melt ice and snow.
- Dogs that live outside are required by law to have an insulated doghouse built from weather-proof material, facing away from prevailing winds. The shelter must be elevated from the ground with a door flap and bedding.
- Keep an eye on outdoor water bowls. Make sure your pet’s water hasn’t frozen in the cold.
- Don’t leave your pet in a cold car for a long period of time.
- Be mindful of animals that may have crawled under your car to keep warm. Bang on the hood a couple times to scare away cats and wildlife.
If you see an animal in distress, please dial 1 833-9ANIMAL (1 833-926-4625).
Febraury 6, 2020 — Looking for the purr-fect way to celebrate love this Valentine’s Day? Stop by the Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) on Saturday, Feb. 8 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for the annual OHS My Furry Valentine family event!
There will be plenty of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy, including:
- Making Valentine’s Day cards for the shelter animals;
- Cupcake decorating;
- A Valentine’s Day photo booth;
- Valentine’s Day-themed children’s crafts and activities;
- OHS Auxiliary craft and bake sale;
- And visits with OHS animals.
For more information on the event, visit ottawahumane.ca/get-involved/special-events/events/my-furry-valentine-family-event/.
Ottawa Humane Society Releases List of Five Animals in its Care the Longest, Hopes to Find Adopters Urgently
January 16, 2020 — The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) has released a list of five adoptable animals that have been in its care for a combined nearly five years, in the hope that these pets will find loving forever homes.
The OHS is encouraging potential adopters to consider opening their hearts to a long-stay pet, giving the pet a second chance for the New Year.
“It’s heartbreaking to think these cats could spend so long without a home,” said OHS President & CEO, Bruce Roney. “While we will continue to care for them as long as we need to, we want to find them loving families as much as any other pet.”
Long-stay pets generally have special health or behavioural needs, and often times live in foster care because the shelter environment is too stressful for them. Those added barriers to adoption have made finding a forever family especially challenging.
“We’ve been working hard to promote these cats and give them the exposure they need,” said OHS manager: communications, Will Wuehr. “They’ve been featured on social media, television and at adoption events, but still haven’t found homes.”
Charlie, nicknamed “Ottawa’s loneliest cat” by the OHS, was adopted last month after over 540 days in OHS care. The OHS is hoping the same luck will befall these other long-term residents, who have now spent a combined nearly five years in its care.
The five cats are:
Interested adopters can learn more about the cats by contacting the OHS at email@example.com or 613-725-3166 ext. 258.