Things are changing for animals in Ontario... read about changing animal cruelty investigations and what you can do!

The Ottawa Animal Advocate
Animal Cruelty Investigations in Ontario: Stunning New Developments

Puppy dumped in garbage

Animal Advocate recently reported that with just a few weeks’ notice, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) would no longer enforce animal cruelty legislation and set a hard deadline for the end of June. It then refused the province’s request to extend the work until new legislation could be introduced early next year.

Since then, the OHS has taken a number of actions to support the development of a viable and effective animal protection model for the long term. For the short term, the OHS met with local police and the city about the transition and worked together on a training program for police—at no cost to the police.

Without OSPCA support to transition to a new model, the Solicitor General’s office empowered local humane societies to continue enforcement. But in a release from the Solicitor General’s office, “…the OSPCA attempted to block these helpful affiliates by contravening existing legislation, frankly putting animals in harm’s way.”

That the OSPCA, with its animal welfare mandate, would stand in the way of a viable transition to a new model to protect animals is inexplicable. Then, former OSPCA chair, Rob Godfrey, penned an editorial in the Toronto Sun, alleging an answer: that the OSPCA’s interest is in money and power, not animal welfare. According to Godfrey, “The OSPCA believes the government will have no choice but to download animal cruelty enforcement to local police and in turn, the local police will have no choice but to purchase the services of the OSPCA. In the end, abused and neglected animals lose and the taxpayer pays a hefty price.”

The Solicitor General then took the extraordinary step to make amendments to the OSPCA Act to circumvent the OSPCA to protect animals, which quickly passed.

So, let’s be clear: the Ontario legislature passed emergency legislation to block the OSPCA in its attempt to block humane societies from protecting animals. Let that sink in.

In breaking news, on June 28 the Solicitor General announced an interim animal protection model until new legislation is in place next year. The model sees cruelty calls triaged through a provincial government call centre to the best local responder. This could include a ministry—appointed inspector (many of whom work for humane societies that formerly held an enforcement role), local police or another agency, depending on the urgency and the situation. While the extent of coverage in Ottawa is as yet undetermined, the OHS is working with its community partners, the police, and the city, to ensure that no animal falls through a crack. Stay tuned.

Contact Ottawa Police for animal cruelty cases

Two Legislative Wins for the Animals in Canada

Jumping puppy

In June, the House of Commons passed bills S-203 and C-84 with third readings, paving the way for the legislations to receive Royal Assent.

  • Bill S-203 would ban whale and dolphin captivity. For more information, click here.
  • Bill C-84 would amend the federal criminal code to expand the definition of bestiality. For more information, click here.

Animals seized and roadside zoo shuttered due to alleged abuse

A zoo owner was arrested in May and his animals seized after a criminal investigation discovered that his animals had:

  • enclosures sometimes too small, dirty and dangerous
  • inappropriate food, and
  • inadequate veterinary care.

Documents filed to obtain the arrest provide a detailed picture of the investigation, which led to the seizure of over 100 animals, including lions, tigers, zebras, camels, kangaroos and bears, from the St-Edouard Zoo, north of Montreal.

This is the first time in Quebec that animal cruelty charges were laid by way of indictment under the federal criminal code, which according to reports, could lead to harsher penalties than under provincial law.

No place in Canada should treat animals as they were at this zoo.

Botswana lifts trophy hunting ban on elephants


In a distressing step backward, Botswana announced in May that it will once again allow trophy hunters to prey upon its natural bounty of wildlife, including elephants. African elephants are among the most vulnerable species on the planet. They are threatened by habitat loss, climate change and poaching. Their numbers have fallen steadily since 1900, to just five per cent of their former numbers.

Botswana is home to 126,000 elephants – one third of Africa’s total population – and the trophy hunting ban gave hope for the survival of this intelligent species, and is estimated to have saved 2,400 of them. Furthermore, the country’s reputation of being in the forefront to save Africa’s declining wildlife is now in jeopardy.

The OHS continues to urge people to:

What to do if you see a dog in a hot car

With summer here, it’s important to take action when a dog is locked in a hot car. Just remember “T.A.N.”

Take information. Note the make, model and licence plate number of the car, the exact location of the car and description of the dog: breed, colour, size, etc. Remember that windows cracked open do not significantly reduce the internal temperature of a car.

Assess the situation. How long have you been present while the dog has been in the car? Is the dog in distress? Signs of heat distress include excessive panting with the tongue fully extended, stumbling, glazed eyes, disorientation, hiding in the foot well (which is the “coolest” place in a vehicle), convulsions/seizuring, and ultimately coma and death.

Notify authorities. Contact nearby stores and businesses. Ask them to make an announcement for the owner to return to their car. Get others to help you. If the dog is in distress, call the Ottawa Police Service at 911. Stay on the scene to monitor the situation until the owner or help arrives.

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Wiggle Waggle Walk & Run


Buddy & Belle: Peter

Peter when he arrived at OHS

Peter needs your help to heal. This lost one-year-old Labrador retriever mix learned the hard way that porcupines are not toys!

Read his story »

Annual Kitten Shower

On July 6, all are welcome to join the OHS for the annual kitten shower. The shower will be held at 245 West Hunt Club road from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Shirley Kearns Memorial Adoption Centre. Guests can look forward to:

  • Refreshments
  • Cookie decorating
  • A variety of traditional shower games

Admission is free – donations are appreciated to help care for the more than 1,500 kittens that come through the OHS each year. To make a donation to help the kittens, click here.

The OHS Needs Foster Volunteers

Few can resist an adorable, fluffy, little kitten. Their innocent eyes and plaintive cries melt our hearts and urge us to protect them. With kitten season upon us, the OHS needs your help. Over the summer and fall month, we’re looking for 40 homes to welcome litters of unwanted and orphaned kittens, their nursing mothers and our older cats with special needs. If you already know what the love of a cat (and kitten) means, or, if you want to discover it, consider becoming a “Purrfect Pairing Virtual Foster.”

Events Calendar
OHS Kitten Shower: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the OHS
More Info »
Microchip Clinic: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the OHS
More Info »
Ottawa Fury Dog Friendly Soccer Game: 2 p.m. at TD Place
More Info »
Wiggle Waggle Walk & Run: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Lansdowne Park
More Info »
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