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The Ottawa Animal Advocate

Ontario's Animal Protection Legislation

dog with big ears

The OHS welcomes an announcement from the Government of Ontario ensuring the protection and safety of animals in Ontario.

“The Ministry briefed us on the bill’s contents, but we haven’t yet seen the text. What we have heard so far, has been very positive. If it passes, this legislation will be a big step forward for animals in Ontario,” said OHS president and CEO Bruce Roney.

Among the legislation’s important steps forward are:

  • Increased penalties. A significant increase and the highest penalties across Canada.
  • Addition of psychological distress in all animals, recognizing that all animals can experience mental distress in addition to physical distress.
  • Vehicle distress — pets in hot vehicles. New legislation allows for any first responder and in some cases a by-law officer who is first on-site to save an animal in a hot vehicle.
  • Warrantless entry into a private dwelling. The new act enables any officer to enter a dwelling without a warrant if there is critical distress present. Critical distress is a new category added in the legislation.

The announcement is the first step in establishing a long-term solution for protecting animals in Ontario in the wake of the Ontario SPCA suddenly relinquishing its enforcement duties.

Roney stresses there is still work to be done; “The devil is in the details. A lot of how this legislation will work is in the regulations, which are not yet written. We also want to see whether enough resources will be devoted to enforcement. If the work isn’t funded, then the best of legislation won’t protect animals.” He added, “We will be watching and working with government to ensure that no animal falls between the cracks.”

Government has asked the OHS to continue to house animals that are removed from situations of abuse and neglect.

The OHS and its sister humane societies and SPCAs provided well over a 100 years of animal protection enforcement in Ontario, and for most of those years, received no funding to do so. Roney added, “It’s time that this work that so many people care deeply about becomes publicly funded.”


The CFL Fumbles on Animal Welfare by Introducing its First Grey Cup Rodeo

cowboy wrangling horses in pain

This year's Grey Cup — the Canadian Football League's (CFL) championship series — will be the first to open with a rodeo. To animal welfare organizations and activists, this is shocking given how much research there is into the distress some rodeo events cause to the animals involved.

While the movement to regulate rodeo sports has gotten traction over the years, it hasn't yet led to a ban on sports that cause animals distress. The stumbling block seems to be that most people are unwilling to stop supporting a sport they find entertaining regardless of the impact it has on its participants – in this case, the animals. Will football fans boycott their most highly anticipated annual game because of the opening event? Probably not, even though that may be what's needed.

One thing is for certain... reforms and stricter standards are urgently needed to help eliminate the suffering of rodeo animals.

Are you willing to share your thoughts on rodeos or ideas to help the OHS end the suffering of animals in rodeos? Fill out our survey at


More Homes Needed to Give Animals Second Chances

Bobby the foster cat

As the OHS works harder to provide a second chance to more animals, a new crisis is emerging: finding enough special homes for the increased number of more vulnerable animals that are being saved.

While fluffy kittens and playful puppies are adopted at lightning speed, longer-stay animals — typically those with manageable medical or behavioural conditions — face longer waits to find their forever homes. The OHS is specifically concerned about a small but growing group of animals that is getting overlooked--adoptable animals waiting in temporary foster homes, because the busy environment of the OHS's on- and off-site adoption locations is often just too stressful for them.

Currently, several animals have been in temporary foster care for well over a year while they wait to find new homes. Most have required resources that in the past, would have been beyond OHS's ability to provide. Thanks to new intervention programs and life-saving initiatives, more of these animals are becoming adoptable. Now, they just need homes. While committed foster volunteers are caring for these animals, keeping them in foster for endless months is impacting the availability of foster homes for other animals in need of immediate intervention while they recover from illness or receive other care to help them become adoptable.

The OHS has recently expanded its efforts to promote animals available for adoption from foster homes. Several special adoption events have taken place at OHS Pet Adoption Locations, where "adopt-from-foster" cats have been brought in to meet potential adopters. The OHS has also increased social media efforts, including a recent social media takeover day for its longest-stay cat, Charlie, who after 15 months is still waiting to be adopted. The list of "adopt-from-foster" animals is currently averaging about a dozen or so animals, which results in a significant cost when factoring in each animal's length of stay. The OHS will keep every adoptable animal for as long as it takes to find them a new home.

The OHS is appealing to the community to support these animals by making a donation to cover costs for their care, and by sharing profiles of our adoptable animals, and more specifically, of its many long-term residents who are most in need of a new home.


Lola (A221952)

Lola the Pomeranian

My name is Lola. I'm a two-year-old spayed female Pomeranian who has lots of love to give... and I'm oh-so-cute! Sadly, I'm homeless and I have special needs. My medical care has cost over $3,000 and the OHS has been working hard to take such good care of me! Read my story and learn how you can help special animals like me!

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Turning Blue Monday into the Happiest Day of the Year!

Couple holding small grey dog

Popularly known as Blue Monday, Jan. 20, 2020 has been deemed the saddest day of the year. In 2020, we want to help you turn this into the most PAWSitive day of the year! Join the OHS and take a PAWS in your work day for some canine and kitten cuddles! Visit our website to learn how your workplace can participate!

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Events Calendar
Take Our Kids to Work Day
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PetSmart Charities Adoption Weekend
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Microchip Clinic
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2019 Santa Pet Pics Start Date
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Special thanks to...


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Science Diet
Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa Humane Society
245 West Hunt Club Rd, Ottawa, ON K2E 1A6 |

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