February 24, 2022
An Ugly Lie
I heard years ago that the foundation of the U.S. Marines’ code of honour is never to lie, cheat or steal. It stuck with me as it seemed to be a good foundation for my own personal code. The one I think about the most is lying. I don’t lie. I have a deep distaste for it and for people who do. I have terminated employees and business relationships, ended friendships, and even relationships because I was lied to. The truth matters to me personally and the trust that comes with it matters professionally.
Over the past weeks, during the convoy, an ugly lie was invented by someone with an agenda and spread by disreputable news outlets with their own motives. This lie was that protesters’ pets were to be confiscated and euthanized as payback for the protest.
The truth is that under our contract with the City of Ottawa, the OHS provides temporary care for the pets of people who have had a fire, are hospitalized or evicted, and yes, the pets of people who are arrested. Otherwise, the animals might have no place to go and no one to care for them. Owners may make arrangements with the OHS or others to claim their pet. One dog was brought into our care from the convoy and was released the same day to his owner.
Frankly, the lie is absurd. No humane society would agree to euthanizing animals out of spite. No employee would ever participate in it. No one from the city or police would ever ask us to, but that didn’t stop the falsehood from spreading. Media called us, donors threatened us, the public demanded to know whose side we were on.
Whose side were we on? The side of the animals. The OHS remained focused on our mission to help all animals as best we could: the horses used by protesters and those used by police; the pets in the vehicles, and the pets downtown stressed by incessant honking.
President & CEO
P.S. This lie was big and ugly enough to be examined by Politifact and found to be false.