Saturday, December 24, 2011

And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?...

Perhaps everyday life has kept you far too busy to even think about homeless and abandoned animals. But there is still time for you to consider donating now to help an animal in need. Make a wish come true for an animal and help a cat or dog to get a caring home, regular meals, love and medical care.

Only yesterday, just two days to Christmas, we received a call from Etobicoke about a dog, barely skin and bones, tied up to a tree without food or water, and another call for a dog being kept in a cold garage. We have received numerous appeals to help cats in distress.

The holiday season is not a festive time for too many animals, with a number of people abandoning their cats and dogs in pounds this time of year, or worse, on the streets.

At ORA we try to do as much as we can, but we need your help. Christmas is a time of giving, so please take a moment to remember the animals. Consider fostering a cat or dog. Volunteer, donate - and give generously.

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

"For the love and respect of all animals." | (416) 726-5762 | (416) 726-8895

Monday, December 5, 2011

ORA Holiday Fundraising Raffle: Ongoing, from now until Dec. 19th, 2011!

Kick off the holiday season with us by participating in
ORA's Fundraising Raffle for Gift Cards

Raffle tickets on sale now, with a draw to be held on Monday, December 19th, 2011. 1st prize is $300 worth of gift cards; 2nd prize is $150 worth of gift cards; and 3rd prize is a $50 gift card. Each draw ticket is $3, 2 for $5, and 5 for $10. Call 416-726-8895 to buy your tickets today, and help us to continue to rescue and care for unwanted and abused cats and dogs at

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

ORA Recap and Special Thanks | Second Cup Cocktail Party for Dogs

The Second Cup fundraising event for ORA on Sunday, November 27th was very successful!

We thank Tina, the owner of the Second Cup at 8910 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill, for organizing and hosting the event.

Many thanks also to Arden for all her work, to BMW Autohaus and Holiday Pet Care for co-sponsoring the event, and to the merchants who generously donated prizes for the raffle.

We also thank Rob Hamilton for playing a wonderful "Santa" and to Shati and Vale Abbott for providing a lovely live music background to the event.

Thanks on behalf of the over 150 rescued animals in ORA's care! Vet bills, pet food and supplies for so many animals represent a constant, large expense to carry. Just think how much your cats or dogs cost you every year in vet bills and food and multiply that by at least 150. It is humongous, and ORA is funded only on private donations so we are always extremely grateful to anybody who would organize fundraising events to help out. Contact us for more info at 416 726 8895.

Here are some of the beautiful photos with Santa that were taken on Sunday at the Second Cup.

With many thanks, from Claudia Vecchio, Corinne Thaw and the Volunteers at

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

11/27: Enjoy Second Cup Cocktail Party for Dogs and ORA


On Sunday, November 27th, the Second Cup located at 8910 Yonge Street in Richmond Hill, is holding a fundraising event for our organization, a Christmas Cocktail Party for Dogs. Come and bring you dog. it is a fun-filled event for all the family and you canine companion. There is also the opportunity to have a photo taken of your dog with Santa and /or a family portrait with Santa. Your ‘puppy” will be treated to free doggy appetizers and Muttinis. Free admission! Doggy Gift Bags. Great prizes to be won. Donations very welcome and needed! All the proceeds are going to pay the vet bills for the over 150 rescued cats and dogs in the care of ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals. More info in poster attached.

Sunday, November 27, 2011. 1PM-5PM. Second Cup at 8910 Yonge St., just north of Hwy. 7. For more information on the event, call Second Cup at 905-709-8171 or visit the ORA website at

Please cross post to any pet owner and animal caring person you know.

We are looking forward to see YOU on Sunday!!!

Claudia Vecchio
Volunteer Chairperson
ORA - Organization for the Rescue of Animals
(416) 726-5762

Craigslist Ad:

YorkRegion Article:'s%20on/article/1248545--enjoy-second-cup-cocktail-party-for-dogs

Thursday, November 17, 2011

ORA Recap of the Nov. 15th Responsible Animal Ownership By-Law Meeting in Hamilton

Following months of petitions, social media activities and protest rallies against Hamilton Animal Services’ senseless killing of thousands of animals every year, members of the public finally had the opportunity to be heard yesterday by Hamilton’s city councilors with regards to the pending "Responsible Animal Ownership By-law." Delegate presentations were restricted to a mere five minutes long which made the individual speaker’s task to condense all that needed to be said a truly challenging one.

The manager of Hamilton Animal Services, Sue O’Dwyer, declared in her opening presentation that the mandate of the HAC is to protect people from animals, immediately indicating a view that is hopelessly limited and behind the times. No wonder animals are remorselessly killed by the thousands every year at the HAC! Interestingly enough, Sue admitted that almost all the cats picked up by the HAC are tame, friendly cats, people’s pets who had the misfortune to be allowed outdoors by their owners and since there is an existing Hamilton bylaw prohibiting free roaming cats, they were picked up, taken to the shelter and condemned to death… apparently the HAC has to protect people against these horribly friendly cats!!!

Calgary Animal Services, Toronto Animal Services, and any other animal services for that matter, all share the same mandate to safeguard the health and safety of the public. But they also understand very well that in this day and age, the health and safety of animals also need to be prioritized and protected; the public, in fact, expects this. At the HAC, however, it still appears to be a novel idea.

To this day, the HAC is not open for public adoptions. The only way for an animal to get out of the shelter alive is to be “pulled” by one of the HAC’s approved rescue groups from Hamilton or the Greater Toronto Area. Having said that, it is important to note here that rescue groups should not automatically be assumed to have the space or financial means to do so. More often than not, it is because the emotional pressure is so great that a rescue group must feel compelled to save these unfortunate shelter animals, knowing that if they do not, the animal will be killed in just a few days.

The manager of the Hamilton Animal Control boasted that, in 2011, 800 fewer cats have been killed versus the 3000 put down in the first eleven months of 2010. She also announced that the “euthanasia” originally scheduled for yesterday morning had been cancelled (remember that Tuesday and Friday are scheduled killing days at the HAC).

We were glad to hear this news, however we do not feel that there is any reason for the HAC to boast when these accomplishments are not theirs. 800 fewer cats were killed and yesterday’s killing cancelled due to the combined efforts of the rescue groups who, succumbing to the usual emotional blackmail, have helped to rescue 800 more cats this year, including all of the urgent ones on the latest killing list before the pound closed at 4:30 PM on Monday. The real congratulations should go to all of the rescue groups that have made these achievements possible.

There are other ways to save the cats from the HAC without burdening the already overwhelmed rescues. It is also important to note that these Hamilton cats are taking the place of other cats out there that would otherwise be rescued.

This is what ORA has proposed:

1. Open doors to public adoptions (this will save lives and generate revenue through adoption fees);
2. Change the by-law prohibiting free-roaming cats: that is, to stop picking up people’s pets;
3. Establish a wide-ranging TNR (Trap Neuter and Return) program for feral cats;
4. Establish a low cost high-volume spay and neuter program;
5. Launch a cat licensing program. This will facilitate the return of pets to their owner and create revenues (see Bill Bruce’s “Calgary Model”);
6. Hire two full time veterinarians on salary in lieu of the commission paid present veterinarians (“paid per killing”). Full time veterinarians can take care of the animals in the pound and perform high volume spaying and neutering;
7. Extend opening hours to allow people to retrieve their pets that have been picked up by the HAC;
8. Establish educational programs, volunteer recruitment programs and work cooperatively with rescue groups, animal organizations and the entire community.

It was apparent to everyone present that the councillors at the meeting were not necessarily fully aware of everything that has been going on at the HAC. They seemed to be unaware, for example, that the Burlington-Hamilton SPCA has the first pick of the animals at the HAC to put up for adoption, leaving the city of Hamilton and the taxpayers with the cost of picking up the animals and caring for them while failing to pass over the adoption fees to the city pound. Additionally, the HB-SPCA takes the “best” dogs from the HAC, but very few cats, as they only have space for 40 cats! Only 40 cats, in such a big building with such a large paid staff! The councillors also learned about the costs of killing the thousands of animals every year as members of the public repeatedly stressed how Hamilton’s money could be better spent to establish programs of TNR for the feral cats and low cost, high-volume spaying and neutering. Bill Bruce’s Calgary model was notably mentioned several times in the presentations from the public and by some of the councilors as well.

We left the meeting feeling that the councillors attending were indeed concerned with what they had learned throughout the day, and that they might consider to bring changes to the bylaw, especially in the matter of cat licensing, to boost revenues for new animal services programs and allow a higher rate of return to owners.

The planning committee's next meeting has been scheduled for January 2012, so now would be an excellent time for you to write to the Hamilton Mayor and councillors to have your say at this critical juncture, to help Hamilton to shape the Responsible Animal Ownership By-law, and to help the HAC to achieve the necessary changes in order to stop the unacceptable killing of so many animal lives.

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

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Friday, November 11, 2011

RE: Hamilton Animal Control, Public Meeting Nov. 15th on amended by-laws

Please view attachment and see link below for The Spec's full article with meeting info plus the new by-law report and recommendations:

It is the moment to be heard: register now, voice your disagreement and offer suggestions and alternatives or the killing will continue.

Anyone interested in making a presentation on the “Updated Animal By-law for the Entire City of Hamilton” is asked to preregister as a delegation by no later than 12:00 noon on Monday, November 14, 2011, by contacting:

Vanessa Robicheau
City Clerk’s Office,
1st Floor, 71 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8P 4Y5
Phone: 905-546-2424 Ext. 2729
Presentations are limited to 5 minutes.

P.S. On a positive note, in the aftermath of Bill Bruce presentation in Toronto, there are talks of beneficial initiatives for the animals. It will take time, but there is good will and determination. Let's be present on Tuesday at Hamilton City Hall in large number. Call Vanessa now and register.

Claudia Vecchio
Volunteer Chairperson
ORA - Organization for the Rescue of Animals
(416) 726-5762

Thursday, November 10, 2011

HAC-STK: Sound Off With Guest Writer, Eva McDowell

As you may know, there is a public meeting on Tue Nov 15 with Hamilton mayor & council regarding the new bylaw for Hamilton Animal Control. They have posted the proposed new bylaw on the Hamilton Spectator website. After reading through it carefully, the only positive change is the removal of the 2 pet limit. They have also stated they are running a public education program. Other than that, nothing will change.:

No public adoptions
72 hour hold time
inconvenient hours for public to reclaim their pets
Still picking up people's pets
No high volume/low cost spay neuter program
no volunteers

What does that mean? The killing of thousands of animals every year will continue.

Yet, they state they are working towards no kill. How can this happen without the necessary changes.

They are depending on only the rescues to save the animals. They would rather pay the vet to kill the animals than save them. The rescues are faced with the high vet bills, as almost every animal coming from there is sick. The rescues are not paid a City salary to save these lives - they do it out of love for the animals. They blame the rescues when they have to kill - no one spoke up for him, so what else could we do?

Bill Bruce of Calgary has a proven method and in fact no city funds are used to support the Calgary Animal Services. He is more than willing to share his method. Hamilton Mayor, Councillors and animal control were all offered tickets to come and hear Bill Bruce, yet not one of them came.

The public are allowed to give a 5 minute presentation. We need as many people as possible to come and speak up for the thousands of animals who are killed by HAC each year. By just removing the pet limit, we will be faced with the unending cycle of killing for who knows how many more years.

The time is now - let's stand together and let Hamilton know that this is not acceptable.

-Eva McDowell

Saturday, November 5, 2011

ORA Member News: Toronto Model and Cat Committee Coalition

Fall 2011 has been a very eventful season for Toronto’s animals! Dean Maher, a local animal advocate, began an important initiative earlier this year to ban the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores. On September 21st, 2011, Toronto City Council voted unanimously in favour of the ban in a monumental step forward in the fight to end animal cruelty.

While animal advocates were still rejoicing the ban, another extraordinary event took place. Bill Bruce, the director of Calgary Animal Services, was invited to Toronto by ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals to speak at the Intercontinental Toronto-Yorkville Hotel. On September 30th, Mr. Bruce addressed a packed room of animal advocates, rescuers, representatives from sixteen animal organizations, and others who care for the welfare of animals. The group also included city councillors as well as directors and executives from nine animal services from the Greater Toronto Area to as far as Sudbury; people vested with the decision-making powers to make changes happen. What mutually motivated attendees was the desire to change the present situation, to learn about the “Calgary Model” and to find life-saving alternatives to the unacceptable killing of thousands of animals in pounds across the GTA. As Claudia Vecchio, chair of ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals stated in her introductory speech: “We hope that this evening will be the beginning of radical beneficial changes for the homeless and abandoned animals in our city.... that we will soon be able to speak about a Toronto Model inspired by respect, compassion and care for the animals.”

Our Toronto Model already seems to be taking shape. On October 25th, 2011, City Council voted 38 to 4 in favour of banning the sale of shark fin products in the city: another historic step raising Toronto’s profile in animal welfare. Much work remains to be done, but the time is right for change. We will need the cooperation of all of the city’s animal advocates and animal organizations to facilitate planning and implement long-term strategies. Setbacks are to be expected, but history is certainly moving in the right direction for our fellow animals. Positive changes are sure to come.

We look forward to providing further updates on more happy outcomes for the animal welfare initiatives in our city. In the meantime, a Cat Committee Coalition has been formed by several Toronto animal rescues, including ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals, under the coordination of Dean Maher and Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker. We look forward to achieving great things together for the welfare of Toronto’s felines, and we hope that you will all lend our new fellowship your fullest support.

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

ORA Special Event Recap: Bill Bruce in Toronto on September 30th

Bill Bruce’s lecture, hosted by ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals at the Intercontinental Hotel in Toronto on September 30th, was a very successful event. It is difficult to imagine an event happening without even the smallest glitch, but on September 30th, everything worked to perfection. We wish to thank all of the volunteers who contributed to the success of the evening.

Anticipated with great interest by Toronto animal advocates, the lecture was attended by a room well beyond capacity (over 260 people). Amongst the attendants were Toronto city councilors; directors and executives from nine animals services of the Greater Toronto area; representatives from 16 animal organizations; the CEO, chair and board members of the Toronto Humane Society; politicians, judges, lawyers and veterinarians; a strong delegation from London, Ontario; as well as a few people from as far away as Sudbury, Ontario, including Sudbury’s manager of by-laws enforcement. Everyone was visibly eager to find out how we could possibly abandon euthanasia to control pet population in favour of humane, life saving alternatives.

We really hope that September 30th may be remembered like a special date on the calendar of Toronto animal welfare. The members of the establishments who attended the lecture have the power to bring about radical and beneficial changes for the stray and abandoned animals in our city. We wish and hope that they will apply the good will we have seen at the lecture in implementing these much needed changes.

The slogan of the evening, portrayed in ORA’s posters and in the ORA’s buttons, issued to any attendants in lieu of the entrance ticket, was: “Sterilize, Don’t Euthanize.” Let’s all work together to stop the killing of thousands of abandoned animals in our city and launch programs of massive free sterilization as one of the cornerstones of a more humane future for our companion animals.

Claudia Vecchio
Volunteer Chairperson and Founder
ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

ORA | Urgent Cross-Post | Call to Action: Stop Welland's "Operation Kill Kat"

Date: Sun, 2 Oct 2011
Subject: Fw: Stop Welland's "Operation Kill Kat"

"Have you heard about the City of Wellands's secret?

There was a secret meeting on Thursday evening September 29, 2011, at the Welland Community Wellness Centre of all places. Tony Porcaro, of the Welland Feral Cat Support Group, attended the meeting. Mass trappings, complete with a "Trapping Committee" paid with tax payers money, are going to trap the neighbourhood and feral cats - and kill them. Included are a colony of Tony's feral cats that have all been fixed, vaccinated and vet checked through his TNR program which is similar to Hamilton/Burlington SPCA's TNR (Trap Neuter Release) program. More Trapping cages are being ordered by the City. I think there needs to be a story done on this.

The City has stated they will use police enforcement if Tony or anyone else continues to support/care for a feral cat. Tony is 70 years old. Tony has continued anyways.

You just can't make this stuff up! This needs to be exposed before it’s too late.

You can contact me or Tony via his website Welland Feral Cat Support Group ( for more information or comments.

Attached are the mass trapping instructions handed out to citizens at Thursday's meeting.

Please email the following links stating that you have viewed the mass trapping instructions that have been handed out and that you want the mass trapping decision to be reversed immediately.

City Mayor and Councilors to contact are as follows.....

Mayor of Welland (Barry Sharpe)
City Councilor Mark Carl
City Councilor Maryann Grimaldi

Media to contact are as follows.....

CHCH News (905 645-2011)
Welland Tribune
Hamilton/Burlington Spectator Editor-in-Chief

Brian Phelan"

"What you are hearing/reading is absolutely true and is one of the most backward and regressive moves by a municipality and OSPCA affiliate that one can possibly imagine. In spite of my success with TNR in my own neighbourhood and in all parts of the city, the city and humane society are claiming that TNR does not work and that they will not support groups and feral cat caregivers; they have actually argued, quite erroneously, that we are the problem in that we feed and shelter feral colonies rather than support them in their ongoing failure of catch and kill policies; in their 10-page booklet (which is full of misinformation) they outline their approach in terms such as "feral eradication" and "mass trapping and euthanasia," the euthanasia term used deliberately incorrectly because they are clearly promoting KILLING and killing in the broadest possible definition because ALL CATS FOUND AT LARGE WILL BE TARGETED and vulnerable to the trapping... Traps will be given to any and all residents who request them and there will be a trapping committee formed to ensure the trapping will continue street by street until the entire ward is covered; what they are doing will not have any benefit at all and is both inhumane and illegal; the impetus for this action came from a small number of very vocal and inflential residents in the ward who are clearly cat haters and who have convinced the two ward councillors to pressure the city and humane society into taking this ill conceived action against innocent animals.

I believe this issue has implications for the welfare of all cats and animals everywhere and therefore should be known by as many people as possible, especially when those agencies which are mandated to protect our animals are operating in a diametrically opposite manner. Don't forget OSPCATruth. All the best...Tony"

Contact Tony Porcaro: | Contact Brian Phelan: | Article in Welland Tribune:

Friday, September 30, 2011

ORA on Herbivores - Animal Frequency (NewsClipTV)

via Herbivores - Animal Frequency on Facebook: "Nadia and Bob found some serious issues from the Herbivores - Animal Frequency studio's city of Hamilton. It was the Hamilton Animal Control (HAC) that has many Veterinarians and Vet Technicians very mad. This seems to be the worst Animal Control in the area and we were able to bring in a couple of ladies that have taken the action on and trying their best to change this for the better. Claudia Vecchio and Corinne Thaw from Organization for the Rescue of Animals (ORA) joined us in the studio to speak to us on how they got involved with HAC." See the show:

September 2011 at ORA: Celebrating Cross-Posters

September 2011 -- ORA celebrated Animal Cross-Posters all month long at! Thank you, CP honorees, and all of the Cross-Posters out there, for sharing photos, stories and links to help save more lives every day. This month was dedicated to all of you. (

Back to School with ORA's Six New Kittens!

L-R, Top to Bottom: Miss C, Max, Bandit, Felix, Monkey and Bear. For more information, and to give six sweet babies a loving home in the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada, please call ORA's dedicated volunteer founders at 416-726-5762 or 416-726-8895 today, or visit our website at

Thursday, September 29, 2011

G.T.A. Events SEP 30 to OCT 2--please mark your calendars and come on out!

"Meet your rescue colleagues, forge new relationships, get connected!"

Friday, September 30, 2011:
"IS ALL THAT KILLING NECESSARY? BILL BRUCE, DIRECTOR OF CALGARY ANIMAL SERVICES, PRESENTS THE CALGARY MODEL TO THE TORONTO AUDIENCE: Bill Bruce's lecture, "the Calgary Model" providing solutions to reduce euthanasia and end pet homelessness presented by ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals. Intercontinental Hotel, 220 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1T8. Two minutes East of the St. George subway station. Valet parking available and Green P parking at the back of the hotel (entrance from Bedford Road). Friday, September 30, 2011, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tickets: $11.30 (tax included). Advance sale only, call 416 726 8895 or 200+ attending now - anyone and everyone in the rescue/shelter community should attend - not only will you gain incredible information, but you'll also be able to network and build relationships with your colleagues in rescue - you never know when or how that new rescuer in your life is going to be able to help you move your next animal to safety.."

Saturday, October 1, 2011:
"ONTARIO DOGS VOTE - Anti-BSL Rally - Support Hershey's Bill - October 1, 2011 - Queen's Park, Toronto. More Info -!/event.php?eid=269249293087591"

"Hamilton's Success Story Begins: Cat Registration & Microchip Clinic at the Hamilton Animal Control. Saturday, October 1, 2011. "The City of Hamilton Animal Services will be co-hosting with the HBSPCA clinics at two recreation centres in the lower city on Saturday, October 1, 2011. Our goal is to provide our Lifetime Cat Registration and microchip up to 500 cats (250 cats at each clinic) for the cost of$12.50 (a value of over $100). This is for Greater Hamilton residents only (Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook, Hamilton & Stoney Creek). All cats must be in a carrier or a box. I have attached a copy of the poster for more information. Please contact me if you have any questions. Tiffany Trebych City of Hamilton Animal Services Phone: (905) 574-3433 Fax: (905) 574-8877 247 Dartnall Road, Hamilton, ON, L8W 3V9 E-mail: Web:" (Shared via"

Sunday, October 2, 2011:
"Paws to Love: St. Francis Feast - Blessing of the Pets Event at Thistledown in Uxbridge 10 am to 4 pm - Pet Blessings 11 AM - 12:30-1:30 Vet Guest Speakers - 2:00 PM live auction with cool products - 3:00 PM Canine Unit Demo - First Aid Demos all day - Dog Trainer ongoing demonstrations - Oh joy, oh bliss: "We will be having the Police Service Mounted Unit at this event" - C4P is the BIGGEST Toronto Mounted Police Unit Fan - and i'm not talking about the cops! (altho quite a few of them are really very handsome) - Thistledown is located at 4766 Concession 7, Uxbridge which is a short 15 minute drive from Stouffville. Take Bloomington Side Road east from Stouffville or Highway 404 until you come to Goodwood traffic light and intersection. You can only turn right (left goes into a small community centre/park). Turn right at this intersection and continue to travel east for about 7 minutes to concession #7 where you will turn left and Thistledown is a short way down the concession on the left just past a Miller Construction site which is on the right. We are putting signage up to direct people on the day of the event. 905.852.5648"

Content by M. Michelle Nadon, from C4P's Sunday AM Newsletter--

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

Monday, September 19, 2011

ORA Member News: Surgery for Beau

ORA Member News--Beau, a nine month old black and white kitty, is the unfortunate proof of what neglect and negligence can do to a poor defenceless creature at the mercy of an uncaring human. Beau had been living in terrible pain for several days due to a neglected leg injury. Beau's caregiver did not tell us what the injury was caused by or when it happened, but unfortunately, the guardian's neglect allowed the paw to become severely infected. As soon as we found out, we immediately took Beau to the vet but the paw was already gangrening with a general infection spreading through the bloodstream. Following a week on three different antibiotics to bring the infection down in Beau’s blood, the veterinary team concluded that the entire leg had to be amputated.

Thursday, September 15, 2011. 12:10 AM. Post Surgery Update: Beau’s leg was amputated earlier this evening, and he is eating and recovering well.

Monday, September 19, 2011. 3:38 AM. In the pre-surgery photos (warning: graphic photos!) you can see the bone of the back paw digit exposed, with one digit falling off in the examining room at the vet office. It is unbelievable that someone could be so negligent and uncaring.

Beau must have been in excruciating pain.

Amputation is a serious surgery. Though he is on several painkillers, Beau is eating and recovering well under the direct care of ORA. We thank Dr. Memon, Dr. Bhatti and the staff at Lorne Park Animal Hospital for their amazing care and professional attention given over ten days, day and night, to little Beau, and for helping ORA by greatly reducing the bill. However, the bill is still very large at over $3000, so please help us if you can, with any donation.

Make a donation to ORA any time via PayPal at: - scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the PayPal Donate button to get started with your donation today.

ORA on Twitter: "It's Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week @petfinder! DSH black cat 3-legged Beau. Less adoptable, but no less lovable. 416-726-5762 @ORA_Rescue"

Friday, September 9, 2011

ORA on Animal Housecalls - CP24 Talk Show

Must Watch TV!: ORA's Board Member, the lovely Corinne Thaw, will be a guest on CP24's Animal Housecalls with Ann Rohmer tonight, Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 at 7:00 P.M., to speak about our upcoming Bill Bruce event in Toronto, and to introduce Coco, a rescued Chihuahua looking for a forever home. You can also catch the show online later at

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

ORA on Facebook | ORA on Twitter

No More Homeless Pets and Calgary is Leading the Way, Part 4 of 4

From left to right: Animal Health Technicians, Wendy Weed and Arlene Johnson scanning for microchips in a “found” cat.

Animal Services employs four qualified teachers. The interactive presentations are all curriculum-based, geared to classrooms and not whole school assemblies, with grade-appropriate support materials. There is no cost to the school; the programs are funded by licensing. Topics include dog bite prevention, dogs in our society, urban coyotes, and a Junior Bylaw Student Project. Animal Services not only works in partnership with the Calgary Humane Society, but sees that the Humane Society receives a $244,000.00 grant each year. Bill also provides grants for the MEOW Foundation. As well, Animal Services provides support to partnering organizations in other ways, too. For example, they loaned Animal Control’s Virkon ‘fogger’ to the Humane Society when theirs broke down during a disease outbreak in their facility.

When the Humane Society is overflowing with cats and kittens, Bill takes some of their animals and sees that they are adopted into forever homes. According to the Humane Society’s Patricia Cameron, Animal Services and the Humane Society have the same future vision and goals - humane care for all animals and homes for all adoptable animals, including the belief that animals are important and the lives of animals must be valued and respected. The support of mutual agreement to vision and values is the foundation on which many other collaborative actions, large and small, can be based.

Three additional components of the work taking place in Calgary are: police officers working with Animal Control Officers in cases of abuse; firefighters trained in animal rescue (all trucks have animal oxygen masks on board); citizens finding injured animals knowing they can take them to an emergency clinic where the veterinarians will treat them at no cost to the citizen. In Bill’s words, “no animal should be left to suffer at all because of money.” What has been accomplished in Calgary is nothing short of amazing, although Bill says “it’s not rocket science.” He comments that he awakes every morning wondering “what can we do better for the animals today?” One very interesting part of this progressive and humane model of Animal Control is that it is not based on enforcement or creating more laws. There is no mandatory spay/neuter, no breed specific legislation, and no pet limits. They do have an anti-tethering requirement. “No animal shall be left tethered and unattended in a place that is accessible to the public and no animal shall be tethered on its owner’s property unless someone is home to care for it should it be in distress.”

What is provided through Animal Services and what gets these results are valued services. Great achievements for the animals and the citizens are attained not by forcing compliance, but through extensive education, a PR campaign that speaks to the importance of being responsible for pets and reasonable licence fees: all under the supervision of a leader who is a professional mediator.

A final note from Bill: “We have a number of exciting initiatives launching this year. Impound rates are dropping both here and at the Calgary Humane Society. Euthanasia is dropping at both facilities, adoptions are up as is return to owner. It just confirms what we all believe, the answer is promoting and enabling responsible pet ownership, not more control. Control is an endless chase with few rewards whereas promoting and enabling responsible pet ownership creates outcomes of no more homeless pets, reduces aggressive incidents and eliminates animal suffering. Might even help us become a kinder, gentler community.”

Calgary Animal Services provides the model for any Canadian center that wants to follow suit and implement a truly humane and compassionate society. Every village, town and city can choose to move in the direction of becoming a member of the “No More Homeless Pets” community. [FIN]

Parts 1-4 are available on the web on Facebook at and the Best Friends Network at


Calgary’s Bill Bruce brings his shelter expertise to
the Intercontinental Toronto-Yorkville Hotel at
220 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1T8 CANADA
on Friday, SEPTEMBER 30, 2011, at 7:00 PM.

NB: We have upgraded to a larger room for the
Bill Bruce event, so a new series of tickets is now
available for sale. Please call to reserve your space.

Tickets are $11.30 (tax included)
Advance Ticket Sales Only—Call 416-726-5762
or visit for more information.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

ORA: "Help a Pet, Without a Sweat!"

ORA Trio: Ready for Sponsorship

Suppose you would like to adopt a homeless companion animal, but you cannot add another resident to your house. Perhaps you travel intensively, or you are never at home. Maybe you have a partner who does not want another pet, or you are too busy, too tired, and you just don’t have the inclination to clean cat litter boxes or walk a dog after work.

If you recognize yourself in any one of these above scenarios but a part of you still strongly urges you to help, you can, by ‘virtually adopting’ a companion animal. We are not talking about an aberration of our times, the adoption of a virtual pet proposed by many websites. That is nothing more than another computer game. We are talking about taking meaningful responsibility for a real live animal by sponsoring them. The extent of your patronage and commitment to the virtually adopted animal may vary. You may select to pay a fixed amount monthly for the cost of food and supplies, or you may decide to cover all of the expenses of your protégé, including veterinary bills and medications or alternatively, to pay for their insurance coverage. The idea is that you help an animal for life without doing the work of caring for them. No stressful trips to the vet, no frantic runs to the pet store before closing, no cleaning up after them, not even cat or dog hair on your clothes. Doesn’t that sound great?

If it does, give ORA a call, or visit the ORA website at and select a cat or dog whose looks or story speak to your heart.

As soon as you enroll in ORA’s sponsorship program, you’ll receive a photo and bio of the ‘virtually adopted’ animal, as well as a certificate of adoption. And you’ll get periodic updates and updated pictures upon request. You can call or e-mail ORA anytime you wish to know what your pet is up to, and every so often, when scheduling allows, you are also welcome to come and visit your pet, to take the sponsored dog for a walk or to spend some playtime with your cat. These are not requirements for virtual adoptions, just prerogatives that active sponsors may choose to exercise if they like.

Most of the pets available for virtual adoption are animals who, for a variety reasons, are considered to be un-adoptable. However, you can also sponsor an adoptable animal. And if the animal you sponsor is adopted, you can then pass your sponsorship on to another animal.

How does this benefit the animals? By sponsoring or virtually adopting an animal and covering their expenses you make it possible for ORA to rescue another animal. Your sponsorship allows us to allocate the money towards the needs and care of another animal.

What is the cost of a virtual adoption? Consider what you would spend monthly to care for a cat or dog if you actually adopted one. You may decide to donate the same amount to care for your virtually adopted pet. As a general guideline, one cat in ORA’s care costs between $45 to $55 a month, and one dog costs our organization approximately $75 to $90 a month.

If you prefer, you can also co-sponsor/co-adopt a pet, starting from a monthly contribution as low as $25. As an added benefit, your contribution is treated as a charitable donation and therefore enjoys the same taxation advantage. For more information, please visit us online at any time or call 416-726-5762 today.

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

Friday, September 2, 2011

No More Homeless Pets and Calgary is Leading the Way, Part 3 of 4

Smiling faces: from left to right, Doris Porter AHT (Animal Health Technician) , Patty Parent AHT, Dr. Marta Alguacil DMV and Wendy Weed AHT posing with Bugsy, the first animal to be spayed at the Animal Services Centre Clinic opened in July 2009.

The statistics from Calgary are impressive. In 2008, 85% of dogs impounded were returned to their owners with 27% of the 4,830 dogs going directly home via the specially designed, climate controlled vans. Of the dogs that ended up at the shelter, 9% found adoptive homes. Only 6% were euthanized and, in this case, the word is used correctly. Euthanasia is defined as ‘a good death.’No healthy, adoptable animals are killed at this Animal Control. Animals too sick or injured to be provided with a decent chance at a good life are euthanized after a team decides that this is the only humane option. The team consists of a licensed veterinarian, a vet tech, and a senior administrator. This is the only acceptable way that any animal should face death in an Animal Control facility, but this is not what typically happens. This is where transparency fails the animals. We should be able to get the information about how many animals are killed, how they are killed and who makes this decision at our Animal Controls.

As in every city, Calgary’s homeless cats and their offspring provided a challenge to those trying to save lives and reduce the number of kittens born. Several different programs were implemented in the last few years to cope with this issue. At first, a city subsidized program, supported by the veterinarians in their clinics, was launched. Then came the Veterinarian Aid Society, a vet operated spay/neuter and special assistance program. Next, SNIP/SNAP programs were introduced, subsidized by Animal Services but run through rescue teams and the Humane Society. Thousands of animals were spay/neutered, but the numbers still were not enough to get the desired results. With all partners, including the veterinarians collaborating, the idea of a spay/neuter clinic owned and operated under Animal Services was born.

In July 2009, the new Animal Services Centre Clinic opened its doors. This facility has two veterinarians who perform any medical needed interventions, assisted by qualified vet technicians. The goal of the clinic is to help reduce the number of stray and unwanted cats and dogs in Calgary. Spay and neuter surgeries are now more accessible because Animal Services provides free surgery for those on low income. As well, all animals arriving at the shelter are examined by one of these professionals and minor surgeries such as dental care are performed, as needed, to improve chances of finding new homes quickly. This clinic is funded by the cat licensing program.

When you enter this shelter, you are struck by two things – no smell, and no distressing animal sounds. People working here are trained in ‘T Touch,’ a hands on way to calm the cats and dogs. Even though the average stay of a dog is three days, they are walked by staff and volunteers. The cats are played with and socialized. All resident animals are monitored for signs of stress, and interventions are put into place when required. The dogs wag their tails, and the cats come to the front of their cages to be petted. None of this happens by accident.

Since opening in July last year, the clinic is now providing spaying and neutering surgeries for the feline companions of low income residents. The goal is to do 7,000-10,000 a year. Many other procedures have been completed including 29 dental surgeries, 1 entropion surgery, 2 lump removals, 2 biopsies, 4 wound repairs, and 1 pin removal from the leg of a cat. This pin had been improperly implanted, was too long, and was protruding through the skin of the cat. As well, one animal had a full set of x-rays done while under sedation.

The MEOW Foundation, supported by Animal Services, takes care of the Trap/Neuter/Return programs. All of these cats are microchipped, and Animal Services keeps the data on file. If a cat arrives at the shelter, a MEOW volunteer is contacted and the cat is returned to its community under the care and supervision of the community caregiver.

Sounding good so far? Just the beginning!

To be concluded in Part 4.


Calgary’s Bill Bruce brings his shelter expertise to
the Intercontinental Toronto-Yorkville Hotel at
220 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1T8 CANADA
on Friday, SEPTEMBER 30, 2011, at 7:00 PM.

NB: We have upgraded to a larger room for the
Bill Bruce event, so a new series of tickets is now
available for sale. Please call to reserve your space.

Tickets are $11.30 (tax included)
Advance Ticket Sales Only—Call 416-726-5762
or visit for more information.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Animal Massage Therapy with ORA's Corina Grecu

Cutzie, 12 and a 1/2 years old, has been suffering from a back injury possibly incurred as a result of jumping from a cat tree. Cutzie is currently receiving massage therapy from Corina Grecu entirely pro bono, and is really benefitting from the treatment! We wanted to take some time today to honor and thank Corina for her great work with animals and our Cutzie.

Corina Grecu is proud to be a friend and volunteer of ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals. In 2003, Corina received the Accredited Animal Health Representative Diploma from the University of Guelph, Ontario. She has been working as a veterinary technician since 2004. Desiring to do something extra special for animals, she decided to become an animal massage therapist. She enrolled at the Northwest School Of Animal Massage in Washington, USA, where she graduated in 2006. Corina would like to see massage therapy being practiced in all animal clinics.

"OUR PETS DESERVE THE BEST! Animal massage is recommended by veterinarians and experts in animal science. Only twice a month, a massage session for your pets can prevent common problems and maintain good health. Once you try it, you will know that pet massage really works!" -Corina Grecu

Visit Corina and Massage for Pets at for more information, and be sure to mention that ORA sent you!

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

ORA's Top 10 Tips to Cope With Pet Allergies

Allergy to pets is one of the main excuses we hear from people surrendering their pets.

Apart from the fact that allergies are so often used as an excuse for the abandonment of companion animals to shelters, pounds and worse - allergies to pets do exist and can be a serious health concern. Like all allergic reactions, pet allergies are the result of an immune system reaction to a harmless substance; in this case, the reaction is to the proteins in pets’ dander (dead skin flakes). Often we find that those who complain of allergies the most are the ones seeking sympathy for “getting rid of the cat (or dog). On the other hand, many committed animal caregivers who would never consider separating from their companion animals, simply suffer in silence from pet allergies.

For the benefit of the latter category, here are some of our proven, and hopefully useful, suggestions:
1. Remove any carpeting in your home if possible since pet dander accumulates in broadloom and cannot always be properly removed simply by vacuuming. Dander can be removed from hardwood floors with just a wet rag and from ceramic or vinyl floors by washing them.
2. Use cheesecloth as a filter to cover air vents. This helps to keep pet dander and other allergens from circulating throughout the house. Clean air vents as needed throughout the year.
3. Sad as this can be, keep your sleeping area off limits to pets and do not allow your animals into the bedroom.
4. Use HEPA filter vacuum cleaners, and vacuum regularly. HEPA filters provide filtration of smaller particles than traditional vacuum filters, catching allergenic particles invisible to the naked eye such as dander, dust mites, and pollen.
5. Do your research and purchase a good air cleaner with a HEPA filter for the pet room(s) you frequent most often.
6. Have the pets groomed once a week outside of your home, and Furminate or brush them daily in a well-ventilated area such as the porch or on a balcony, and as far away as possible from your bedroom. Use a permanent lint brush to remove extra hair from pets, clothing or visible furniture surfaces in a pinch.
7. Invest in durable slipcovers or protective casings on your seating or sleeping furniture that you can easily change or put into the washing machine whenever you need to.
8. Wash your hands after interacting with your pets.
9. Take preventative steps to help manage your allergies. Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly to keep your immune systems strong. In addition to the many allopathic remedies available to reduce allergy symptoms, it might also be a good idea for you to consider consulting an homeopathic practitioner who may be able to cure your allergies altogether by strengthening your immune systems.
10. Healthy and happy pets create far less dander. Keep pet areas clean and stress free as possible, and make sure your pets eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly to help keep their immune systems strong.

Management tips that may be suitable for some pet allergy sufferers may not necessarily work as well for others, but be sure to give ORA's Top 10 a try! Sometimes just living with a dog or cat, especially from an early age, is said to be helpful in managing other allergies over time.

ORA Animal Rescue

Pictured above: Claireby

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Boys of Summer

Big hugs to all of you from everyone here at ORA as "Hug Month" speeds by and comes to a close! August's Feature Cats are a decidedly bonded pair of almost identical DSH black cats named Billy and Simon. Lap cats they may never be, but with these musical feline children around, your home will definitely be filled with all kinds of inventive sounds! ORA has taken great care of Billy and Simon, and these handsome boys are now ready for adoption. Fill out an application form at when you're ready, and let us help to introduce Billy and Simon into your loving household today. ORA -

‎"I've witnessed all your suffering As the battle raged higher And though they did hurt me so bad In the fear and alarm You did not desert me My brothers in arms." -Dire Straits

Credit: CHS

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

Friday, August 26, 2011

No More Homeless Pets and Calgary is Leading the Way, Part 2 of 4

Bill Bruce, Director of Calgary Animal and Bylaw Services: having at heart the well being of animals.

Key to the Calgary model is the partnerships. It took Bill a number of years to get everyone on board, but he was consistent in inviting all stakeholders to provide input on the ideas he wanted to incorporate into his shelter. Open, transparent communication with all partners remains the foundation for the decisions made in the best interest of the animals who spend time at the shelter and live in the community.

This model, with no tax dollars spent to pay for it, has resulted in an exceptionally high ratio of pets being returned to their owners, many without ever arriving at the shelter. Success rates are high for finding new homes for those that either have no owner or need to be re-homed. Public accountability for the care of the animals while at the shelter is expected, and is available on the web site. Transparency and accountability are of utmost importance to Calgarians; Bill not only recognizes this but makes sure these are clear and direct for everyone who wants this information.

Calgary’s model begins with the concept that “virtually every animal who winds up in a shelter or on the street is there because a human relationship failed them.” Determined not to punish the animals because of the mistakes of people, Bill’s philosophy is to “encourage responsible pet ownership through licensing, public education, and limited enforcement.” The goal of Bill’s Animal Control is to shift from traditional animal control to responsible pet ownership, and this is reflected in the mission statement of Animal and Bylaw Services: “Encouraging a safe, healthy, vibrant community for people and pets through the development, education and compliance of bylaws that reflect community values.”

Mission Statements are great, but how does Calgary put the words into action? By identifying and stating clearly six primary goals:

1. Identify the issue
2. Engage the stakeholders
3. Build a process that works
4. Educate people to use it (92-95% voluntary compliance)
5. Back it up (5% enforcement)
6. Measure it (how do you know you are improving)

It has been demonstrated all over the world that traditional methods used by Animal Control agencies do not work in saving lives, are costly and ineffective in solving the perceived overpopulation, particularly of cats, and cause tremendous disagreements between residents. Bill introduced a system in Calgary to place the emphasis on responsible pet ownership and away from antiquated methods of animal control. Again, Bill states clearly that “in North America, we do not have a problem with pet overpopulation, stray animals, nuisance or vicious animals – we have a problem with responsible pet ownership!”

So, how would Bill Bruce define responsible pet ownership? He starts with what he calls the “Four Principles of Responsible Pet Ownership.”

1. License and provide permanent identification for pets
2. Spay/neuter pets
3. Provide training, physical care, socialization and medical attention for companion pets
4. Do not allow pets to become a threat or nuisance in the community

Many people view licensing pets as no more than a ‘money grab’ by municipalities. In some North American cities, this is exactly what licensing is. It is no wonder many are upset at the idea of putting more money into the pockets of the local Animal Control.

So why are folks lining up to pay their annual fees in Calgary? And why do some even go the extra mile and pay an additional license fee? It is not simply that Bill Bruce makes paying the annual fee as easy as possible, although that is certainly true: pet owners receive an automatic renewal notice; there is a 24-hour pet license hotline; owners can complete an online form; pay at the bank; make a night deposit; or pay an officer directly. In Calgary, officers are certified mediators whose driving force is to resolve conflicts and help the people who need it the most. Bill Bruce would not tolerate negative relationships between the people who work for and with him and the citizens of Calgary.

The license fee for an altered cat is $10.00 and a dog is $31.00, while an intact dog license is $52.00. Compliance for dog licensing is 92 %. There are hefty penalties for non-compliance – owners of unlicensed dogs can be charged $250.00. Having said this, Bill is more than fair to non-compliant owners. He has been known to waive the yearly fee completely when a person is experiencing difficult times. Cat licensing infractions are the same, but mandatory cat licensing only became law in January 2007, so there is more leniency for cat owners. Compliance for cats was 45% in 2008 but is steadily increasing. Cats with permanent identification by tattoo or microchip are not required to have a tag.

And if kitty does go missing and ends up at this shelter, the cat’s photgraph is put on a postcard which is then sent to all homeowners within a three to four block radius of where kitty was found. This greatly improves the chances for a happy ending. If the family does not want the cat back, then a new and permanent home is found by Animal Services.

To be continued in Part 3.


Calgary’s Bill Bruce brings his shelter expertise to
the Intercontinental Toronto-Yorkville Hotel at
220 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1T8 CANADA
on Friday, SEPTEMBER 30, 2011, at 7:00 PM.

Tickets are $11.30 (tax included)
Advance Ticket Sales Only—Call 416-726-5762
or visit for more information.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Bev Smith Memorial Fund at ORA

Beverley Smith. b. January 31, 1945 - d. June 23, 2011. Two months ago today, ORA lost a great friend and wonderful rescue ally. Bev was born in Toronto on January 31, 1945. This year when we took her out to dinner to celebrate her 66th birthday, it never crossed our minds that it could be her last birthday. Bev was very fond of animals, of all animals, cats, dogs, raccoons, skunks, you name it. Since an early age she took home any cat or dog in need. Six years ago, an ORA volunteer proposed to hold an eBay auction. Amongst the bidders we noticed a recurrent name, Bev Smith, outbidding everybody. As she explained to us later she was trying to get the most money possible for our organization by pushing the bids up although she did not even know us yet. We were an animal rescue and that was sufficient enough to get her attention and her sympathy. While playing that game, she ended up with a few items. Realizing that she lived close to us, we asked to meet her to deliver the goods and overwhelmed as always we are with cats, we asked Bev the usual question: "would you like to foster a cat?" To our amazement, she enthusiastically responded, "yes, anytime." Bev already had a large number of cats when we met her, but she really did wonders with the strays; she took good care of them and she socialized them so well that they usually got adopted very quickly. Bev fostered many of ORA's cats throughout the years, and although she has had some health issues, nobody thought that her end would be so close.

In honor of Bev, we will be setting up a special memory fund to help care for Bev's surviving and unadoptable feline family here at ORA.

Giving by Cheque:
Please make your cheques payable to "ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals", mark "Bev Smith Memorial Fund" in the cheque memo line, and mail them to us at:

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals
P.O. Box 22608
300 Coxwell Ave
Toronto, ON M4L 3W7

Giving by Credit Card:
Please call Claudia at 416-726-5762 or Corinne at 416-726-8895 any time to make a donation to the "Bev Smith Memorial Fund" by credit card over the phone.

Giving by PayPal:
Please visit and click the "PayPal Donate" button to get started with your web donation.

Unfortunately, on June 23, 2011, Bev was found dead of a heart attack in her home. Animal Control was ready to remove her cats and bring them to the pound, but we could not let that happen. Although we had no idea where to house so many cats, we took over the responsibility of all of her 28 cats. This has been a large endeavour and some of these cats are still in very temporary accommodations. Some are adoptable, although not very young, but some are over 10 and need constant vet attention. All of Bev's cats were very well looked after. There is a lesson that we can get from Bev's passing: we never know when our end will come and we should never delay to make any necessary arrangement to provide for our animals should we predecease them.

Rest in peace, dear Bev! One day you will meet your kitties again, but until then, rest assured they will be cared for with great love and compassion, and to the best of our abilities.

Claudia Vecchio, Corinne Thaw and your many friends at
ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

Friday, August 19, 2011

No More Homeless Pets and Calgary is Leading The Way, Part 1 of 4

In 2008, 27% of the dogs picked up by Calgary Animal Services were returned to their owners without even setting “paws” in the pound. Specially designed, climate controlled vans allow quick identification of the dogs’ owners.

By Mary Shepherd

Yes, we can! Three words, spoken repeatedly by Barack Obama during the race for the Whitehouse and after, echoed around the world. While they were meant for the human political venue, they can be aptly applied to the issues surrounding ‘all things animal.’ In fact, what could be more political in the world of animal welfare than debates about how Animal Control facilities should operate?

According to many people working for improved animal welfare, Calgary has the best animal control in North America. This praise speaks not only to how the facility operates on a daily basis, but also to the philosophy behind everything that is planned and put into practice. The welfare of the animals is uppermost in everyone’s minds, along with the welfare of the citizens of this progressive city.

When I was searching for a speaker to address the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (or AWAC) in London Ontario, my first call was to my good friend, Jill Dennis-Bishop, at Best Friend’s Animal Society in Utah. Without pausing for breath, she suggested Bill Bruce. Not only was he one of Best Friend’s keynote speakers for their annual ‘No More Homeless Pets’ Conference in Las Vegas in October 2009, he is Canadian. We have the best in our own country! As Director of Animal and Bylaw Services in Calgary, Bill is quickly becoming one of the most sought after speakers on this topic.

AWAC’s mandate is to advise the Environment and Transportation Committee and City Council on animal issues. So on November 27, 2009, we hosted Bill at a public meeting to talk about the background, philosophy, and operation of Animal Services in Calgary. He did not disappoint. From comments and questions, it was clear that everyone attending this dynamic presentation wanted to bring this model to our city. We do not stand alone. Everyone who listens to Bill can hear his level of commitment to the animals, and wishes to model their own Animal Control after the one he has developed in Calgary.

He has provided visionary leadership and developed collaborative and respectful relationships with community partners. These partnerships include the City of Calgary and the Province of Alberta, the Calgary Humane Society, rescue groups such as the MEOW Foundation, breeders, trainers, pet store owners, veterinarians, and the citizens of his city. Bill’s presentation on Calgary’s Animal Control Services is riveting. After his 90-minute presentation -- Success in Calgary – is complete and questions have been addressed, there is always one final inevitable query: “Would you please consider coming to our city to take over our facility?” Bill says he has received a number of these requests, but he has a job. And he has already set his goals for how he will help make a difference once he retires form his current position.

To be continued in Part 2.


Calgary’s Bill Bruce brings his shelter expertise to
the Intercontinental Toronto-Yorkville Hotel at
220 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1T8 CANADA
on Friday, SEPTEMBER 30, 2011, at 7:00 PM.

Tickets are $11.30 (tax included)
Advance Ticket Sales Only—Call 416-726-5762
or visit for more information.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

ORA's "Sterilize, Don't Euthanize" Campaign Redux

Poster from ORA's 2004 campaign of the same name.
Animal News Magazine Art Director: Carmen Mok

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

ORA's Founder Thoughts for Thursday

Some days, it really seems like sad news much outweighs the happy. Between wild animal species facing extinction and domesticated animals being mistreated, abandoned and killed, it can be really difficult to find a silver lining.

However, from time to time, some good news leaves us hopeful that things may be improving and that animals may be on their way to being regarded with the respect and consideration that any living creature deserves.

We would like to share one such uplifting story here today. This good news does not come this time from a dedicated rescue group or from some committed animal advocate, but from the “establishment,” from an Animal Control - from Calgary Animal Services.

Undoubtedly, Calgary Animal Services has taken over the “Leadership of Change” amongst all the established animal organizations in Canada, and its success as well as the means employed for its achievements deserve our consideration and close attention.

Almost unheard of before, Calgary Animal Services works together with the local Humane Society and with rescue groups, in the collective and harmonious goal to benefit the animals. Most of us active in animal welfare in other parts of Canada have only experienced rivalry and the deleterious effects of strong egos amongst animal organizations; and most grass-root rescue groups are just objects of contemptuous disregard from the “big ones.”

But if such beneficial cooperation has been attained in Calgary, why could we not do the same in Hamilton, in Toronto, in Montreal and everywhere else? All that is needed is for the “right people” to be in charge - people eager to really help the animals and willing to work seriously toward this objective.

In fact, what Bill Bruce, Director of Calgary Animal Services and Bylaws, and his team have achieved is not accidental: it is due to the desire, vision and commitment to do something positive for the animals. Bill notes that he wakes up every morning thinking, “what can we do better for the animals today?”. The desire to help the animals, the strong motivation and the strong sense of responsibility makes all the difference.

It is this work ethic, together with the refusal to follow the ways of the past, that makes great accomplishments possible.

That is true for any person who makes a difference in this world. Too often, when confronted with some bad news or with issues of animal cruelty, which are predominant in our world - such as factory farming, massive killing of animals in pounds or hunting - many people react with resignation. “That is the way it is,” “What can you do?,” all phrases that reveal disappointment, helplessness and acceptance of the status quo.

We certainly cannot do anything if we do not want to do anything. A lot can be accomplished if we replace the rhetorical question “what can you do?” with a serious investigation of “what are our options and what are we willing to do.” No matter what position we occupy in society, if we are motivated and sincere about taking action, we can make a difference and our deeds can entice others to follow suit.

What Calgary Animal Services is accomplishing is not only beneficial to the animals and to the community in Calgary, but it is also important because it creates a model for others to imitate and follow. Examples are infectious, and before you know it, an isolated case develops into a trend and into a movement bringing about radical change. And this is hopefully the next good story we hope to report and share with you soon: the success of other Animal Services across Canada, inspired by the Calgary example, to put an end to pet homelessness.

Claudia Vecchio
Volunteer Chairperson

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

Special Event Invitation:

Friday, August 5, 2011

ORA: Heartfelt thanks to Lorne Park Animal Hospital!

On behalf of all ORA’s volunteers, we wish to express our gratitude to Lorne Park Animal Hospital for performing, yesterday, August 4th, a very complex dental surgery on Jasper, entirely pro bono!

The surgery performed by Dr. Memon presented two challenges as Jasper has a heart murmur and a misaligned jaw that is easily fracturable.

Jasper came to ORA two years ago as a stray. He was so desperately hungry at this time he was seen trying to eat gravel. Immediately after his rescue he had three teeth removed. We were told that the unusual appearance of Jasper’s mouth was due to an untreated mandibular fracture, due to either accident or abuse, that had calcified causing an underbite and misalignment of the jaw.

Two years after the first dentistry, performed by another veterinarian, Jasper’s mouth had become badly infected and many teeth needed to be removed.

After extensive blood work, Jasper underwent a course of antibiotics prior to the dental surgery. Given Jasper’s heart murmur, Dr. Memon took precautions and administered a special anesthetics so as not to accelerate Jasper’s heart beats. He also asked his colleague, Dr. Batthi, to be present and to monitor Jasper in case a prompt intervention was needed.

Dr. Memon extracted all the infected teeth (Jasper is left with a molar and the canines) with extreme caution since the misaligned lower jaw presented a high risk of fractures. The surgery went superbly well and Jasper immediately went to his food dish as soon as he came home. He did not show any sign of discomfort. This morning he was running happily throughout the house and his jaw alignment has actually improved.

This surgery, requiring particular specialized skills, was performed free of charge in support of the rescue work by ORA, the Organization for the Rescue of Animals, and specifically to help our Jasper. This is an amazingly generous act considering that the regular price for a similar surgery is over $1,000. Dr. Memon and Dr. Batthi are very knowledgeable veterinarians with many years of experience and a compelling background of achievements, they are also very compassionate and they have done a large amount of volunteer work in their country of origin and in Canada. They practice very high ethical standards, and we are impressed by their kindness and professionalism.

Claudia Vecchio
Volunteer Chairperson
ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

West Lorne Animal Hospital is a state of the art facility set up to respond to all kind of situations and emergencies.

Lorne Park Animal Hospital is located at
1107 Lorne Park Road, #16
Mississauga, ON L5H 3A1

Tel: 905-990-VETS (8387)