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|An Uncertain Future for Animal Cruelty Investigations in Ontario
On March 4, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) announced it would no longer be enforcing animal cruelty investigations in Ontario as of April 1. Though the OSPCA offered to extend the contract in a “transition phase” to June 28, the Province of Ontario — government and all the players in animal welfare in Ontario — were essentially given 27 days’ notice.
So what does this mean for Ottawa’s animals on April 1? We think Ottawa is lucky. We have an excellent police service that has taken over many of the more serious crimes against animals. OSPCA services in Ottawa have dwindled to one employee working nine to five Monday to Friday. In a community of close to a million, where many emergencies occur in the evenings or on weekends, this isn’t close to adequate. As a result, the OHS has recommended that if an animal’s life was in immediate danger, such as a dog trapped in an overheated vehicle, 911 and police services is the way to get immediate help. This seems to be working and we have no reason to believe it won’t continue to work once the OSPCA deadline passes.
What comes next? The short answer is we don’t know. Rumours are flying and speculation is rife, but the Ontario government has been tight-lipped as to their intentions.
A Recommendation for the Future
The Board of Directors of the Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) met following the announcement to discuss the issue. The board declined to make a specific recommendation as to what body should take over animal cruelty investigations, but did generate a long list of requirements (in alphabetical order) that should be a part of any new or amended system:
- Accessible to the community
- Committed to the work
- Effective and responsive
- Equipped for the work
- Funded and adequately resourced
- Connected to other services
It is a long list, but we think all of Ontario’s animals deserve a first class service, and moreover, we think that is what Ontarians want.
What can you do?
Write your MPP. Let him or her know that you care about the welfare of animals. Let them know that you expect a comprehensive response to crimes against animals in the province.
|Mission Possible: Canine Separation Anxiety
In an effort to help dog trainers, foster volunteers and other animal placement groups learn more about canine separation anxiety issues, the OHS invited two U.S. based experts specialized in the field to give a seminar on Saturday, March 2.
Malena DeMartini, CTC, CDBC, CSAT and Casey McGee, CPDT-KA, CTC, CSAT highlighted what canine separation anxiety truly looks like and focused on the myths, risk factors and how this type of anxiety can be managed through diligently implementing desensitization protocols, in addition to exercise, enrichment and medication – when appropriate.
On the following day DeMartini and McGee provided OHS staff with their expert advice on how to work with dogs suffering from separation anxiety within shelter environments and foster care homes along with strategies to help dogs after they have been adopted.
Introducing experts with specialized knowledge and skills significantly benefits Ottawa’s animals, trainers and pet owners, helping to continually build a more humane and compassionate community for all. The March 2 seminar was the largest ever hosted by the OHS with 95 attendees, including some who travelled from other regions in Ontario and Quebec.
This is the first of many animal specialty seminars that the OHS will host for the community. If you have any suggestions for future seminar topics or presenters, please send along your ideas to our Outreach team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|National Pet First Aid Awareness Month
Being trained in basic first aid and knowing how to respond in case of an emergency is important to us – however, being trained in first aid for pets, is often overlooked. The OHS is celebrating National Pet First Aid Awareness Month with a few exciting additions to regular programming:
Pets are a part of a healthy family, and it’s important that pet owners are able to appropriately provide care and respond in times of crisis. Celebrate National Pet First Aid Awareness Month by registering for an upcoming Pet First Aid course today – visit www.ottawahumane.ca/your-pet/sign-up-for-pet-first-aid/.
- The launch of a Level 2 Pet First Aid course, where participants can build upon important skills learned in Level 1 through hands-on practical work, in addition to learning higher-level pet first aid skills including choking, embedded objects, bleeding, bandaging, burns and other serious injuries.
- A 25% discount on Pet First Aid course registration fees for OHS adopters.
- A special back-to-back Level 1 and 2 Pet First Aid course on Saturday, April 27th with a discounted rate of $100, which is $20 drop from the regular price.
|Who to call for a Wildlife Issue
Spring means more people outdoors, and often they spy juvenile animals. But there’s a darker side to the annual phenomenon: Residents who think they’re doing good by scooping up wee wildlife and bringing them to the Ottawa Humane Society. With limited rehabilitation services available in the region, the OHS may have no choice but to euthanize the creatures.
If there is a wild animal in need, please call the OHS at 613-725-3166, ext. 221 for help. For large wildlife, such as deer, moose and bear, please call Ottawa Police Services at 613-236-1222.
The Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is also available for help at 613-258-9480.
For more information, please visit ottawahumane.ca/services/wildlife-faqs/.
Buddy & Belle: George
George arrived at the Ottawa Humane Society in a lot of pain, after being attacked by another dog. This sweet four-year-old Pekingese dog with nowhere else to go was left with his left eye-ball hanging from its socket.
Read his story online and donate towards his care…