Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ottawa: Non-Humane Humane Society?

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." [1] 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

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Blogger Jane Scharf 4 Mayor of Ottawa said...

My Jack Russel Terrier Angel was apprehended out of my car on May 28, 2010 without any reason for this. In spite of no cause I was charged $189. no fine just transportation fee, tech fee, shelter fee for 20 minutes, release fee and license fee. Oh yes and they gave me a vague none descript warning that I might have caused my dog to be in distress (no explanation)

I am appealing to the OCRB including a Constitutional Challenge about the process. The OSPCA have no evidence in fact they only insinuate that Angel was left in a hot car but they put disclosure that said temp in car was 30 and I don't even think it was that high because windows were opened and car had been air conditioned before parking. The high for that day was 24 degrees celcius and the mean temp was 20 low 14. Hot car is 40 anyways. And Angles temperature was 38.2 which is low normal and pictures they took showed her in back window in the sleeping position just turning her head to look at them taking the picture just before they took her. She had her mouth closed (no panting) and she looked very calm. Their notes even confirmed that the car was parked in the shade. This place is always shady at this time. A friend of mine witnessed the scene and took pictures which also show car was in shade by building and trees. He says Angel was sleeping in the back window when they came along and only started barking at them when they were breaking into the car. This was at the corner of MacLaren and Elgin in Ottawa at 5:30 pm to 6:30pm.

The ACRB hearing took place in part on June 16 for two hours and is scheduled to resume on June 28, 2010 at 10:00 am is assume the public can attend if anyone is interested it is at Les Suites Hotel 130 Besserer St. Ottawa. For more info call Jane Scharf at 613 884-9065.

11:12 a.m.  
Anonymous Abby said...

Hi, I realise this post was made quite some time ago but do you know if they have made any reforms since this time?

3:46 p.m.  

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