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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