Search Results for: wildlife
Rhinos, Fundraising, a Little Thought and a Little Research
My Facebook feed declared last night that the Western Black Rhinoceros had been declared officially extinct. I was sad. I have never seen one and now never would. The world — my world — felt diminished without this creature in it. Because of the prevalence of false news on social media, I decided to make sure the story was true. Snopes, my go to source for reality, confirmed the story. The demise of Western Black Rhino has indeed happened. In 2006. Okay, that doesn’t make it any better. But I am glad I took the time to check the story and didn’t share it.
Similarly, yesterday, I received a letter from an organization called Animal People Forum. The postmark was Jamaica, New York, though with a mailing address in the state of Washington. Overall the piece looked a bit odd. And despite my 17 years in animal welfare, I had never heard of this organization. So, I went to their website. I looks pretty good. But you have to read it carefully. They have four projects. One is called, “Beyond Human: Animals, Aliens and Artificial Intelligence.” Yikes. I’m glad I checked that one out too.
This all made me wonder how many letters hit our supporters’ mailboxes, and whether people check out what they receive. In my experience, people who care about animals are a very kind bunch. They want to help. Sadly, this can be taken advantage of. And there are groups that range from misleading and dubious to outright frauds ready to take advantage.
I would never presume to tell anyone the causes they should support but I hope and pray that people ensure that they are really supporting the issue they intend. It only takes little thought and a little research.
First, what are the issues you care about? Mainly domestic pets? Wildlife? Are you mainly concerned about local issues? National? International? All of the above? Do you want to support actual care for animals or do you think that awareness and advocacy are really going to affect change? Having considered these questions before that very emotional appeal hits your mailbox can help you to make sure your hard-earned cash does what you want it to.
The second consideration is whether the organization asking you for cash actually does what it says — or implies. A quick review of their website is sometimes all you need to do. What does this organization actually do? Be careful here, I have a seen some misleading practices. A few sites show animals for adoption, but none of the animals are actually in the care of that organization, just adoptable animals pulled from other websites. An organization may highlight an important issue, but it’s not clear what they are doing about it. I am very concerned about the loss of the Western Black Rhino, but the OHS website does not imply that we did anything to try to prevent it. Beware too of small gestures that are expensive and may not add up to significant change. Sending a staff team to China to adopt a few dogs from the meat markets and fly them back to Canada may raise awareness, and it certainly saves some canine lives, but is supporting the flights the best way to close the markets? Is it where you want to invest your money?
Other places you can check are the Canada Revenue Agency charities listings. Every registered charity in Canada is listed and you can easily find out how they spend their money with a few clicks. And if they are not a registered charity, ask yourself why not?
If it is a humane society asking for your support, are they a member of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS)? Most are. And another few clicks on the CFHS site can tell you.
You can always call us at the OHS too. We won’t provide a recommendation, but we sometimes can provide some basic facts and we will tell you if we work with a particular group. I hope that in the not-too-distant future accreditation of various sorts will help us all in separating the legitimate and effective from the dubious and misleading. That is why the OHS sought and achieved accreditation with Imagine Canada for excellence in board governance, financial accountability, fundraising, staff management, and volunteer involvement last year. We wanted to support this direction among not-for-profits and wanted to assure our community of supporters of our commitment.
Few charities have achieved this, and only one other humane society in Canada, the British Columbia SPCA, has done so to date. I am not suggesting that those that haven’t are not legitimate, but I look forward to a day when you and I can rely on this and other forms of accreditation to assure that our kindness is not exploited.
Until then, you and I can do it ourselves, through a little thought and a little research.
Different Cats, Different Solutions
As our new Mobile Spay/Neuter Vehicle hits the streets, the prospect for long-term solutions to cat overpopulation and cat welfare are becoming clearer. The thing is, cats in our community live in very different circumstances, there are many reasons for the problems, and all need tailored solutions.
A significant source of overpopulation is feral cats. Feral cats are not stray. They are generally the progeny of stray or roaming cats and have never lived with humans. They are not wildlife, nor are they pets. Their lives are generally nasty, brutish and short. According to the experts, our friends at Alley Cat Allies, adults cannot ever be truly socialized to humans, though their young kittens can be.
Then there are “porch” or “loosely owned” cats. These cats are socialized to humans, though may be very skittish. They have, or had, an owner and are fed and loosely cared for by a neighbourhood. Unfortunately, the neighbourhood’s care rarely extends to veterinary care or sterilization. Therefore, these cats are a significant source of unwanted litters. Those not vaccinated can be a reservoir for contagious feline disease.
It can be hard to identify a skittish stray or porch cat from a true feral cat. But in a shelter, socialized porch or owned cats will generally calm with time. Feral cats do not, and may injure themselves, sometimes severely, trying to escape. Their stress can be so intense that they can die of heart failure in a cage. It is not humane to shelter a severely distressed feral cat.
The issues of each type of cat are very different and require different solutions. Since most feral cats cannot be humanely housed, the standard humane practice is “TNR,” or trap/neuter/release, that is, capture, sterilize and vaccinate, and release them where they were found. Feral cat colonies can be phased out over time through TNR. The OHS assisted volunteers to phase out the famous Parliament Hill colony several years ago through TNR in advance of government intervention that may have seen the entire colony euthanized. The OHS will support other feral colony caretakers under certain conditions through free food and sterilization at our clinic.
Porch cats can and should be socialized and rehomed. If they are rehomed through the OHS, they will leave healthy, vaccinated and sterilized to a good home that is ready and able to care for them. They will no longer contribute to cat overpopulation.
I am feeling very positive and hopeful that our efforts are going to produce very significant results and quickly, changing the world for Ottawa’s cats by resolving the problem identified in the OHS’s new five-year strategic plan, that is, too many cats will live wretched lives as long as there are too many cats.
More than Good Manners
|Obedience classes and training have many benefits.|
It’s been quite a few years since I have had a dog in my home life. At the OHS, I am lucky to meet a lot of dogs, but a dog of my own just hasn’t been compatible with my busy work and personal life. As demanding as she can be, my cat Gracie — the Siamese who must be obeyed — doesn’t need as much time as the average dog. So, I have deferred adopting a dog to my retirement.
My last dog was a cocker spaniel. While sweet, and by no means truly badly behaved, Jennie could be a handful. I didn’t take her to obedience classes and I regret this now. Many OHS staff have outstandingly wonderful dogs. I realized over the years that the dogs didn’t come that way. They are great dogs because our staff made an investment of time and effort in training and obedience.
|Obedience classes can strengthen the bond
and their owners.
I have learned my lesson and when I finally bring a dog into my life again, I will spend the time to “create” a wonderful dog with classes. Most people want a dog with good manners and social skills when interacting with people, they want a dog that doesn’t jump up, scare children, or pull on the leash, and can respond to at least simple commands. Classes and training between classes can to do this. Moreover, studies suggest that classes and training enhance the communication and bond between people and their dogs. The time spent has many rewards.
Classes can save a dog’s life. By learning to recall, you can prevent her from being hit by a car or attacked by wildlife or unknown dogs. They can lessen or eliminate those behaviours that can make living with a dog a minor hell: destructiveness, excessive barking, and house soiling for example.
I have learned my lesson; I have been converted. My next dog will be wonderful. She may not be born that way, but that’s okay. I am going to help her become wonderful.
A Tragic Death
The world has been shocked and horrified by the shooting of Harambe, a 17-year-old silverback gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo. If you haven’t yet heard the story, a four-year-old boy fell into the gorilla enclosure, and after some tense moments, with the gorilla dragging the boy around the compound and displaying behaviour that some have described as protective, others as dangerously agitated, zoo officials made the decision to shoot Harambe. The child was rescued, relatively unscathed and the gorilla is now dead.
I feel for everyone involved: the child, the distressed mother, the zoo employees called upon to shoot a creature that they had raised from birth — one of the last of his kind. As for Harambe, his death just makes me very, very sad.
I have looked at the footage of the incident, and have thoughts, but given I am in no way an expert, or even slightly conversant in gorilla behaviour, I will not stoke the fire. I will keep my observations to myself.
But here is what I do know: when there is conflict between humans and wild animals, whether they be a gorilla in a zoo, a performing elephant, or a fox living on a piece of land to be developed, the animal almost always loses.
What can you do? You can reject circuses, zoos and aquariums that exploit animals for entertainment. Rather than trapping and relocating wildlife on your property, you can learn to coexist. If we make these changes, maybe one day the animals will stop losing.
Lesson Plans for Teachers
Are you looking to expand on our humane education topics in your classroom? The Ottawa Humane Society offers a variety of free bilingual and curriculum-linked lesson plans for elementary school classes. Click on the links below to download a lesson plan today! Current topics and grade levels available include:
- JK/SK– Let’s Learn About Cats & Dogs/Apprenons à connaître les chats et les chiens
- Grade 1 – Let’s Learn About Cats & Dogs/Apprenons à connaître les chats et les chiens
- Grade 2 – Dog Buddies/Les chiens, nos copains
- Grade 3 – Are You Ready for a Pet?/Suis-je prêt à adopter un animal de compagnie?
- Grade 4 – Co-Existing with Urban Wildlife/Coexister avec les animaux sauvages en milieu urbain
- Grade 4 – Too Many Cats and Dogs/Trop de chats et de chiens
- Grade 5 – Creating a Pet Friendly Community/Créer une communauté pour les animaux
- Grade 6 – Welcome to the OHS/Bienvenue à la société protectrice des animaux
For more information about our humane education program and the online lesson plans, please contact our coordinator: humane education by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 613-725-3166, ext. 235.
Keep Your Cat Safe: Indoor Cats
What may be desired is not necessarily the safest…
Even though cats may love to have the freedom of running around outside, so too would dogs whose freedom we strictly control. In fact, small children would relish the opportunity to roam freely all day, with little or no regard for their safety. In today’s world this freedom is just not possible.
There are countless rules for our protection…
Society has established many rules for our protection. We wouldn’t think of allowing our small children to go outside alone where they are exposed to many dangers. Yet we readily open the door for our feline friends to go out unsupervised never knowing if they will return the same day or the next day or ever…
Are you a good neighbour?
Another factor to consider, besides your cat’s safety, is its effect on the environment and the nuisance it unwittingly creates for your neighbours. Cat fights are noisy and offensive; unneutered cats breed indiscriminately; their spraying and feces are pollutants; they get into garbage; ruin gardens cause car accidents, spread diseases, kill wildlife; and in some cases, inflict wounds on people and other animals.
Is this freedom?
Outdoor cats are not free. They fight a daily battle for survival against exposure to the elements, accidents, disease, poison, abuse and fights with other animals, theft or loss. On average an outdoor cat lives approximately three years while the lifespan of a cat that has been kept indoors (and supervised while outdoors) is approximately 15 years.
The OHS recommends that you keep your feline companion on a harness or under supervision when let outside. Microchip your animal as a precaution against loss. A microchip implant will supply your pet with identification that lasts a lifetime. Harness training is a safe way to allow your cat to experience the pleasures of the great outdoors.
Ensure your cat’s safety. Your feline companion and your neighbours will thank you for your effort!
Want your work to make an impact in the lives of animals?
The Ottawa Humane Society has been an animal welfare leader since 1888. We are more than a shelter and a safe haven for the thousands of animals in our care each year. We play a key role in our community enriching the lives of people and their companion animals through our programs, services and community outreach.
If you are hard-working and committed to a humane and compassionate community and you want to learn and grow with us, join one of Ottawa’s most reputable not for profits and support our vision to be a model of excellence in the advancement of animal welfare.
- Veterinarian – Full Time
- Supervisor: Kennel – Full TimeI have
- Customer Service Representative: Foster – Part Time
- Veterinary Technician – Casual
- Customer Service Representative: Intake – Part Time and Full Time Contract
- Customer Service Representative: Adoptions – Casual
- Attendant: Adoption Reception – Part Time
There are also many opportunities for volunteering.
Cold Weather Tips for Pets
Just because animals have built in fur coats doesn’t mean they are immune to the harsh realities of a Canadian winter. With a bit of thoughtful planning, your best friend will be warm and safe when the snowflakes fly.
Here are some tips for animal care in cold weather:
- Limit exposure: When the mercury plunges, exercise caution and limit your pet’s exposure to the outdoors.
- Salt: While the salt used on roads and driveways is helpful in preventing spills, it can irritate the sensitive pads on the bottom of your pet’s feet. Keep a towel by your front door and wipe down your pooch’s paws after a walk so they aren’t tempted to lick them clean.
- Fresh water: If you keep any water bowls outside for your animals during the winter, be sure to check the supply a few times a day to ensure it isn’t frozen over. If you are unable to provide fresh, clean water regularly throughout the day you need to provide an insulated, heated water bowl in order to keep the water from freezing. Clean, fresh snow is not an adequate replacement for water for an animal.
- Car engines: Cats and wildlife are drawn to the heat generated by your car’s engine on cold days. Make sure you bang on your car’s hood to avoid injuring a sleeping creature.
- Antifreeze: The taste of antifreeze is tasty to many animals, and they’ll readily consume it if given the chance. But even a small amount of antifreeze can be harmful, or even fatal, to your pet.
- When adding antifreeze to your vehicle, pour carefully and clean up any spills that may occur. It’s also a good idea to check that your car isn’t leaking fluid. A quick look under the hood will help keep your own animals, and those in the neighbourhood, safe.
- If your pet does come in contact with antifreeze — either by ingesting it directly, or by licking exposed paws — you should be looking for signs of vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, unconsciousness, drooling and panting. If you suspect antifreeze ingestion, it’s important to act quickly, as the poisoning can cause kidney failure. Call your veterinarian immediately to avoid complications.
- You may want to consider a less toxic alternative to the ethylene glycol-based antifreeze that is most commonly used. There is new propylene glycol-based antifreeze available at many retail outlets that is safer for pets and humans alike.
- Entertain wisely: The winter season is a peak time for at-home parties and other get-togethers. It may be a good idea to keep animals away from the bustle and noise during a party. If everyone does mingle together, keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t sneak any of the festive food and drink.
- Identification: Having an animal run away from home at any time of the year is troublesome, but especially during the winter season. Make sure your best friends are equipped with proper identification, including a collar, tag and microchip to ensure they have the best possible chance of finding their way back to you.
Pet First Aid
As a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis, we have suspended on-site programming.
We will continue to update our site, as we resume operations.
First aid is an important part of taking care of the ones you love. Your animal companion is more than just a pet – they are a member of your family! With that in mind, do you know how to recognize a potentially serious condition in your pet? Would you know how to help if they are injured?
Be the best pet owner you can be by attending Pet First Aid Level 1 and 2 at the OHS!
All OHS Pet First Aid courses are taught by a registered veterinary technician. Topics covered in each course include:
|Level 1||Level 2|
*These topics will include hands-on practical demonstrations using life-sized stuffed dogs.
Cost: $60 for each level (Combined courses are $120)
**A 25% discount is available for all OHS adopters who register for OHS Pet First Aid courses. Use promo code included in your Adoption Package at time of online registration.**
Pet First Aid Refund Policy: Clients are required to cancel their course registration through the MyTime online system. Cancellations without penalty must be submitted seven days prior to the course start date. Any cancellations made within seven days of the course start date will result in an automatic administration fee of $60 (for single courses) or $100 (for combined courses), charged through the MyTime online system.
Upcoming Course Dates:
- Level 1 & 2: Saturday, Mar. 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. *Program cancelled*
- Level 1 & 2: Saturday, April 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. *Program cancelled*
- Level 1: Monday, June 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. *Program cancelled*
- Level 2: Monday, July 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. *Program cancelled*
- Level 1 & 2: Saturday, Aug. 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. *Program cancelled*
We have come to the difficult decision to cancel all on-site 2020 summer programming at the OHS. This decision was not made lightly and takes into consideration the safety of OHS staff, volunteers, animals and clients – all a part of our community. We feel that it is important to continue operating by making our essential services a priority, including, care for animals in distress, fostering, adoptions by appointment, and a number of new community initiatives to support pet owners in need, such as our emergency pet foodbank. By cancelling on-site programming, we are able to significantly reduce the number of people visiting the shelter, in line with Ottawa Public Health’s current physical distancing recommendations.
Our team will be working over the next few weeks to pull together some exciting new virtual programming opportunities for pet owners. Stay tuned over the next few weeks for more information.
For more information, email email@example.com or call (613) 725-3166, ext. 298.