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The Ottawa Animal Advocate

Keep Cats Safe this Winter

Cat in snow

Last year, in the middle of January, a cat named Gerda was found frozen on a porch. When she arrived at the OHS, veterinarians stated that if she had been out in the cold for minutes longer, she likely would have died.

Cats belong indoors, and during the harsh winter months, the outdoors poses an even greater risk to cats. A cat that might have been relaxed and comfortable in autumn may now be shivering and freezing to death in the snow.

Some cats may be able to tolerate the cold for a short period of time, but their situation can change rapidly. A cat who does not seem comfortable in the cold is likely in danger and needs help.

Cats endangered by extreme cold can be immediately admitted into OHS care. If you find a cat who needs help, call the OHS at 613-725-3166 ext. 221 to schedule an appointment to bring the cat to the shelter.

Deadly Risks of Dog Importation

Dog in crate

When importing a dog, researching and asking the right questions can protect the animal’s welfare and prevent the buyer from supporting unscrupulous businesses, but the consequences of importing an animal can extend beyond the buyer and their newly purchased pet. Importing a dog can introduce diseases that were never before seen in a region, potentially resulting in an outbreak with fatal consequences for local animals.

Hesitancy towards importing pets is shared by many Canadian veterinarians as found in a survey conducted by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. Some interesting points include:

  • Veterinarians identified rescues as the largest importers of foreign dogs;
  • Dogs that were imported rarely underwent a period of isolation after importation;
  • Transport conditions, incomplete vaccinations, medications or vet records were among the chief concerns of importing foreign dogs; and,
  • Compared to domestic dogs, imported dogs were more likely to be afflicted with internal parasites, infectious diseases and behavioural disorders.

In the survey, veterinarians noted that guidelines for diagnosing foreign infectious diseases, data on country- or region-specific disease risks, and more education for the general public on risks and considerations for canine importation could drive better decision-making for importing dogs, and ensure that importing a dog doesn’t impact local animals.

If you know someone who is considering importing a pet, share this information with them to ensure they have considered the risks of their decision.

Welcoming Dogs in Local Businesses

dog in store

Through the Dog-Friendly Business Program, the OHS works with local businesses to build a more humane and compassionate community.

While the OHS welcomes all local businesses to become dog-friendly and join the program, there are restrictions in legislation that prevent some businesses from allowing dogs on their premises.

Particularly Ontario’s regulations for food premises are a barrier for businesses that want to welcome dogs: “Every room where food is prepared, processed, packaged, served, transported, manufactured, handled, sold, offered for sale or displayed shall be kept free from live birds or animals.”

However, these restrictions were loosened in early 2020 by the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, allowing dogs to accompany their owners on outdoor patios and in places that sell pre-packaged food. As a result, more businesses are eligible to join the OHS Dog-Friendly Business Program and welcome friendly dogs into their business, but there is still more to be done.

Under current legislation, breweries are unable to allow dogs into their business, but many breweries in Ottawa have expressed a desire to join the Dog-Friendly Business Program.

Pets are a part of a healthy family and a part of a healthy community. Allowing owners to bring their dogs to more places brings pets closer to their owners and their community, and helps build a more humane and compassionate community for all.

You can help build a more dog-friendly community, reach out to your MPP about reducing the restrictions on what businesses can welcome dogs and visit the OHS website to learn more about joining the OHS Dog-Friendly Business Program and for a list of local, dog-friendly businesses.


Buddy & Belle: Parker


This homeless kitten — found living on the streets — arrived at the OHS with an eye infection.

Visit our website or text PARKER to 45678 to help animals like Parker.

dog in store

Hi, I'm Jingle! Every year, Santa sends me to watch over all the animals at the OHS to make sure they have a very merry Christmas.

I reached out at the end of November to ask for your help for precious animals, like Pixie, Wilbur, Zebel and Destiny. Caring people like you responded with a special Giving Tuesday gift to make their second chances possible.

From all the animals… THANK YOU for your donation!

Catch the Ace

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