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If an animal’s life is in immediate distress as a result of cruelty or neglect, please contact the police at 911. For non-urgent calls about animal neglect or cruelty, please contact the Ottawa Police Service at 613-236-1222 ext. 7300.
If you find a sick or injured stray animal with no owner in sight, or a wild animal, call the City of Ottawa at 311.
For non-urgent wildlife issues, click here.
Once an animal is rescued, it is brought to the Ottawa Humane Society or a veterinary clinic (outside of regular OHS hours) for an exam and to be stabilized. If the animal has extensive injuries and is in immediate distress, and where the owner cannot be located within a reasonable amount of time, the animal may be humanely euthanized to prevent further suffering. All decisions on treatment and euthanasia are made in consultation with a veterinarian.
The OHS makes every attempt to find the owner — but please do your part by ensuring that your animal companions are identified with a microchip, collar and tag. If the animal’s owner is located, he or she is required to reimburse the OHS for all expenses incurred in caring for their pet.
If you have been bitten or scratched by a stray animal, please seek immediate medical attention and contact the City of Ottawa at 311.
2019 Media Releases
- Protect Pets from Cold Temperatures This Winter (December 5, 2019)
- We woof you a Merry Critter Christmas! (November 29, 2019)
- Santa Paws is Coming to Town! (November 27, 2019)
- Ottawa Humane Society Welcomes new Ontario Animal Protection Legislation (October 29, 2019)
- OHS Halloween safety tips for your pets (October 28, 2019)
- It’s Howl-O-Ween at the Ottawa Humane Society! (October 24, 2019)
- Ottawa Humane Society to Host its First Adopt-a-thon, Over 180 Animals Looking for Homes (October 4, 2019)
- Emaciated Puppy Found in Wooded Area Comes Into Ottawa Humane Society Care (October 3, 2019)
- Seniors’ Day at the Ottawa Humane Society (September 26, 2019)
- Ottawa Humane Society Honours Community’s Contributions at its Annual General Meeting (September 23, 2019)
- Ottawa Humane Society Animal Stolen from Pet Valu on Ogilvie Road, $200 Reward for Tips Leading to a Safe Return (September 16, 2019)
- PetSmart Charities’ National Adoption Weekend to Feature Ottawa Humane Society Cats at Ottawa Locations (September 12, 2019)
- 31st Annual Ottawa Humane Society Wiggle Waggle Walk & Run Fundraising Event (September 5, 2019)
- Ottawa Humane Society to Feature Long-Stay Adopt-From-Foster Pets at Upcoming Adoption Event (August 20, 2019)
- Ottawa Humane Society to Participate in PetSmart Adoption Event in Response to a Recent Population Surge (August 15, 2019)
- Ottawa Humane Society Urging Pet Owners to Keep Pets Safe During Travel, After Two Dogs Fall Out of Moving Vehicles in One Day (August 9, 2019)
- Ottawa Humane Society Nearing Capacity and Still Filling, Seeking Community’s Help to Avoid Crisis (July 30, 2019)
- 38 Kittens Transferred to Ottawa Humane Society – Most Ready for Adoption (July 17, 2019)
- Increased Danger to Pets Left Alone in Cars as Heat Wave Blankets City: Ottawa Humane Society (July 3, 2019)
- Canada Day: The Perfect Pet Storm (June 28, 2019)
- See an Animal in Distress? The OHS wants to make sure you know who to call. (June 24,2019)
- The Ottawa Humane Society Encouraging Businesses to be Dog-Friendly (June 17, 2019)
- The Ottawa Humane Society is Now Finding Homes for Feral Cats (May 30, 2019)
- Get a Microchip For Your Pet: The Difference Between Lost and Found (May 2, 2019)
- Protect Pets from Spring Dangers (April 4, 2019)
- Update on Wandering and Starving Labrador-cross Dog (March 22, 2019)
- This February, Love is in the Air at the Ottawa Humane Society (February 7, 2019)
- Ottawa Humane Society to Hold Microchip Clinic Sunday, Feb. 10 (February 5, 2019)
- Stray Cat Rescued by Ottawa Fire Services Recovering in Ottawa Humane Society Care after Wandering onto the Rideau River (January 31, 2019)
- Protect Pets From Dangerously Cold Temperatures (January 22, 2019)
- No more “ruff” days at the office! (January 18, 2019)
- Ottawa Humane Society to Hold Microchip Clinic Sunday, Jan. 13 (January 7, 2019)
Nasty, Brutish and Short
Yesterday was National Feral Cat Day. I hope you will take a moment to think about these neglected felines. These cats live a hard life—one that is nasty, brutish and short.
A feral cat, defined by Alley Cat Allies is, “…a cat who has either never had any contact with humans or her contact with humans has diminished over time. She is fearful of people and survives on her own outdoors.”
A feral cat is distinct from a stray cat, even if the cat has been stray for a long period of time, and from a “loosely-owned” or “porch” cat, a cat that is fed by one or more people in a neighbourhood who do not accept full responsibility for the cat’s care. Stray and loosely-owned cats are or were once socialized to humans. They may be wary and skittish around humans if they have not a had recent or extensive human contact, but they are not fearful to the extent that feral cats are.
Feral cats occupy a grey zone in the world of animal welfare. They are not wildlife per se. They are interlopers in our natural world and can cause considerable destruction in wild bird and mammal populations. They were introduced through human irresponsibility, and therefore are a human responsibility.
But they are not fully domestic pets either. They cannot just be rounded up and socialized. Kittens up to four months can be socialized, but adults will frequently injure themselves trying to escape when confined. Their panic in prolonged confinement is simply not humane.
Most progressive humane societies like the OHS practice “TNR” or “Trap, Neuter, Return” to address the needs of feral cats. Feral cats are removed from a colony, sterilized, vaccinated, and then returned to the colony. If newly introduced cats—new stray cats and the feral’s kittens—are consistently removed, the colony will disappear over time. Studies indicate that simply removing all the members of a colony does not work. Nature, as they say, abhors a vacuum and other cats simply come to occupy the vacant colony, generally because of its proximity to shelter, food and water. The effectiveness of TNR was proven with the gradual elimination of the Parliament Hill Colony by some amazingly committed volunteers and the OHS a few years ago.
Like so many issues in animal welfare, controversies rage, and numbers of animals often exceed our resources to help. There are likely dozens of colonies in the Ottawa area, possibly many more. In fact, one of these controversies is how many feral cats there actually are in a given community. The OHS helps a handful of colony “caretakers” with surgical and other medical services, and we are very proud of our role in humanely eliminating the Parliament Hill colony, but our efforts are likely the proverbial drop in the bucket. Our best hope is education and promoting the kind of responsibility that would stop feral cats from coming into existence in the first place, through spaying and neutering cats and not letting them roam. The OHS’s own Mobile Spay Neuter Program is expected to make a significant reduction in the numbers of feral cats, but this takes time.
President and CEO
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.
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.
Bilingualism and Beyond
One of the happiest days in my work life was in 2014 when the OHS was finally in a financial position to hire a Humane Education Coordinator to deliver our education services in French. It was the fulfilment of a promise I had made to a supporter years before, and I was delighted.
Since then, the OHS has made very significant strides in our ability to provide French services. Each year, we translate more and more of our materials as a part of our translation plan. And last year alone, we reached an amazing 4,606 children and young people in French with our programming — representing 25% of all those we reached last year.
I am contacted from time to time from supporters who believe that everything we do and everything we produce at the OHS should be done in English and French. We have always, of course, ensured that clients with immediate needs, such as those relinquishing or claiming a pet, or those contacting us with urgent questions, can be served in French. But while I am sympathetic to those wanting the OHS to be 100% bilingual, I know that the resources that would have to be redeployed to translation from care and programming would be ruinous, as the cost of this is enormous and the ultimate cost in animal lives unacceptable. So, we have found compromises and have adopted a less comprehensive, but I think reasonable, approach to growing our bilingual capability.
When the board came to develop our current strategic plan three years ago, it recognized that, given the diverse make-up of our community, communicating in English and French alone was not sufficient. Ottawa is no longer simply a French-English community. It is far more diverse than that. The plan recognizes that the OHS needs to better reflect the linguistic and cultural make-up of the community we serve. And so we consulted with groups in Ottawa who are serving Newcomers to Canada and from this are developing programs and partnerships to help them to navigate Canada’s pet culture and unique wildlife, ultimately to the benefit of animals and the Newcomers.
And I am as happy about this next phase of our evolution and the development of animal welfare in our community as I was in 2014 when the OHS finally broke our bilingualism barrier.
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!
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.
For more information, email email@example.com or call (613) 725-3166, ext. 298.
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
- Grade 8 and High School – Cosmetic Testing on Animals/Tests cosmétiques sur les animaux
- High School – Animal Cruelty, Bullying & Interpersonal Violence/La cruauté envers les animaux, brimades et violence interpersonnelle
- High School – Entertainment Animals/Animaux de spectacle
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.