You find a lost hurt animal on the street, you care about animals so naturally you think that you should do something. You aren't sure whether this is a lost pet or was abandoned. You decide that the best thing to do is to bring it to the humane society in order to help it. This is a common theme for animal lovers in many places including Ottawa. Sadly however, many people don't know the actual practices of the Ottawa Humane Society.
Yet this seemingly flawless organization from its media image at its heart is actually unaccountable and treats animals fairly badly attracting the attention of pet owners, now former Ottawa Human Society (OHS) donors, and animal rights activists. A campaign was started about a year and a half ago called 'Reform the Ottawa Humane Society
'. It was created by a pet lover who found a stray dog and her neighbor who was a donor to the OHS. The stray dog was taken to the OHS in case its' owner went looking for it however, if no one came to claim the dog it was going to be adopted by the person who found it and her partner. The OHS euthanized the dog against their wishes saying that it had an aggressive temperament. Despite this being a very small dog who had been very friendly to the person who found it.
After this a campaign was started as the pet lover heard more and more similar stories. The way the OHS tested the dogs' temperament was examined. It seems that the OHS' testing method to see if dogs are aggressive is while they are in a large room with concrete walls, metal bars and, loud noise due to a number of animals the dogs are poked with a stick which has a rubber glove on the end of it repeatedly. If the dog at all bites the glove or stick they are deemed aggressive and are never shown to the public and are euthanized. For cats there is no formal assessment just a subjective look at the cat in the highly disturbing and stressful environment.
This does not even look at the unaccountability issues. No information from the OHS is recorded on the amount of animals who are collected, nor the amount that are euthanized. The board of directors in mainly nameless and prefer to be anonymous to the public and choose the next board. Not to mention the amount of stories of volunteers or members who were immediately fired or had their membership revoked if they at any point said anything negative about the organization. What do they have to hide? Why are tax dollars being spent, yet the organization refuses to be at all accountable to the public?
The most obvious answer was that despite the OHS being a non-profit someone is making money off of it. The more extreme speculation suggested by some is that the OHS sells animals to animal research in compliance with the Ontario Animals for Research Act
. "The Ontario Animals for Research Act requires pounds to relinquish dogs and cats they have held for more than three days if requisitioned by a registered research facility. ... [it is stipulated] that laboratories pay only $6 per dog and $2 per cat. In contrast, a person wanting to adopt one of these animals as a companion could be required to pay up to $150 for a dog and $80 for a cat." 
It is publicly stated though that any pound associated with the SPCA including the OHS do not approve or comply with this Act, but without evidence either way it is impossible to know.
It should be noted however that the OHS does provide some important services to the community such as spay/neuter education, community education programs, cruelty investigations, emergency response and micro-chipping family pets this is why the campaign is to reform the OHS not abolish it. Plus many other Humane societies have much higher standards then the Ottawa version, including real animal temperament testing techniques. Regardless the Ottawa Humane society has too many issues to deserve the name 'humane' and needs some real changes and accountability.
For more information:
Reform the Ottawa Humane Society: www.reformtheohs.ca
The Ottawa Humane Society: www.ottawahumane.ca
Cruel Science (Canadian Animal Testing): www.cruelscience.ca
Labels: animal rights, animal testing, Humane Society, Ottawa