Sunday, April 29, 2012

ORA Honours Treena and Britain Day on April 29th

Claudia Vecchio, 4/29/12
Project Accountability NOW: Stop the Killings at the HAC!
Founder of ORA

On Friday, April 29th, 2011, Treena and Britain were killed at the Hamilton Animal Control (HAC).

Tuesdays and Fridays are killing days at the HAC. Every Tuesday and Friday morning before the pound opens, cats marked for killing are administered horse sedatives and then put down at an average rate of over 20 at a time. Treena and Britain were two of the 2,231 cats killed by the Hamilton Animal Control in 2011.What makes the case of Treena and Britain different?

We do not even have a picture of Treena or Britain. We do not know their story. Were they someone’s beloved pet who was allowed to roam outside and for that reason were they picked up by the pounds staff as no free roaming cats is allowed in the city of Hamilton? Were they surrendered by their owners who thought the pound would have adopted them out? Were they missed by their caregivers who probably just thought they had strayed away and gotten lost, then never thought to contact the pound or never had the time to visit the pound during their short opening hours?

The reality for cats entering Hamilton's Animal Control facility is that there are no second chances. The Hamilton Animal Control is not open for public adoptions and the only possibility for an animal to escape from death is either to be saved by a “recognized rescue” (that means a rescue who does not question the actions of the HAC) or for a few purebreds or especially attractive ones to be handpicked by the Hamilton Burlington SPCA that occupy the front of the building. Interestingly, against all evidence to the otherwise, the Hamilton Burlington SPCA proclaims to be No Kill, while its chair is the vet who, twice a week, does the killing himself at the back of the building at the HAC.

Last year on April 28th, local rescue groups collaborated as usual to save all of the cats marked urgent so we expected that the killing would have been cancelled April 29th. For reasons unbeknownst to us, (and note that what happens at the HAC stays at the HAC, absolute secrecy, even though the staff are just civil servants paid with taxpayers’ money and therefore accountable for their actions), one staff member independently decided, after the pound had closed, to mark Treena and Britain for death. Before the pound opened on April 29th and without, therefore, the possibility for any rescue to know in time to save them, Treena and Britain were killed by the vet (that is, the chair of the Hamilton Burlington SPCA).

Similar episodes, we were told by trusted sources, have happened before, but this is the first time that we at ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals were made aware. We found the whole situation absolutely heartbreaking and disgusting - and we decided to take action.

ORA started two online petitions on Causes and Care2. We called on fellow animal advocates for help and together, we organized rallies to speak up against the murderous modus operandi of the HAC. Treena and Britain’s death and what followed made us realize that while we at ORA have rescued hundreds of animals since our founding in 2002, we must also consider the bigger picture: the thousands of animals we cannot save directly, those unfortunate beings whose lives often end so violently in shelters and pounds. We have to ensure that they, too, can be saved. With vision in mind, ORA invited Bill Bruce to Toronto on September 30th, 2011, and more recently, Nathan Winograd on April 14th, to share their expert knowledge and first-hand experience helping to save the lives of shelter animals.

Animal advocates and animal caring people who attended these seminars have arrived at the realization that NO-KILL is neither an illusion or a dream; it is something that can easily be put into practice. It has been done in so many places where more and more pounds and shelters are embracing NO KILL. No Kill advocates in Toronto and Southern Ontario are now organizing and actively working towards the triumph of the No Kill revolution. There is no going back.

So while we commemorate Treena and Britain’s murder this year in the name of the many thousands of companion animals senselessly, pitilessly and unnecessarily killed every year in pounds in Toronto and in the Greater Toronto Area, we remain optimistic about the future. Treena and Britain are like the “unknown soldiers” who died in our ongoing fight to stop the killing.

Treena and Britain, we deplore the violence that has been committed against you! You will always have a special place in our hearts and we will think of you every time we encounter an obstacle or experience a temporary setback in our mission. You will be our inspiration to remain steadfast, and to see our No Kill efforts through to the very end. All shelter animals have the right to live. No More Killing!

Read more about the cause inspired by Treena and Britain at the HAC-STK Blog by ORA Volunteers.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Recap of ORA's Nathan Winograd Event!

April 14, 2012, is a date that will be remembered by the animal advocates who attended ORA's Nathan Winograd lecture and workshop in Toronto. This important event for animals signaled the beginning of something wonderful: a coordinated action towards the implementation of No Kill policies in all pounds and shelters in Southern Ontario.

Claudia Vecchio and Nathan Winograd in Toronto
Claudia Vecchio and Nathan Winograd
How could a lecture be so significant? It is one thing to read Winograd’s books in the isolation of our own home. To collectively listen to the leader of the No Kill Movement talking about the many US communities that, with the determination of one person, or with the work of a few people, rose from a very bleak past in animal welfare to became model No Kill communities - is an entirely different matter! What began in the afternoon as a message of hope and perhaps a leap of faith progressed throughout the day to the strong persuasion that it can be done, that Toronto and Southern Ontario can become NO KILL in a short period of time.

The attendees defined the lecture as inspiring, energizing, amazing. Clearly there was such a positive energy in that room! And there were some emotional moments as well when Winograd showed us a long sequence of photos of animals, deaf, blind or with missing limbs, victims of accidents or of human abuse: all adopted! These are animals that in any pound or large shelter will be killed without hesitation, but with the proper community involvement they can all be saved. We know now that this can be done and we are determined together to make it happen.

Animals have the right to live. Cats, dogs, rabbits and other companion animals who end up in pounds and shelters through no fault of their own have the right to live, and people of this age are ready, not only to recognize this right, but also to concretely respect it. We will never talk again about pet overpopulation because it has been proven to us that there is no such problem. Cats, dogs, rabbits and other companion animals are killed by the thousands simply because of the complacency, laziness, ignorance, lack of compassion and lack of leadership of the pound managers. Therefore the problem is easily solvable. We need pound managers who are willing to succeed, willing to be “innovative,” willing to implement the 11 proven principles of the No Kill Equation; we need pounds managers who take their work seriously and who are capable to motivate staff and use their leadership to bring about change. Most importantly, we need pound managers who truly care for the animals. There are pounds mangers who are willing to change, have compassion for the animals, but just miss the knowledge. We can help them. But the ones who consider their position just a job must be replaced. Compassion for animals must be a prerequisite for being hired as a pound director.

What can we do to make this happen? Let us follow all of the precious information provided by Nathan Winograd in his books and review all of the material that can be found on the website of the No Kill Advocacy Center.

We need to do our own research to show the media and demonstrate to the politicians that No Kill is easily implementable and that, in fact, No Kill is not only ethically correct, it also has huge, positive financial effects on the community. Any animal saved from death and adopted out becomes a consumer for the fifteen years of his or her average life span, producing rippling positive financial effects on employment and tax revenues.

As Nathan Winograd said, "a community cannot afford NOT to be No Kill."

Claudia Vecchio
Volunteer Chairperson

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals
"For the love and respect of all animals."
Tel: 416-726-5762 Email:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

ORA in Corriere Canadese

Special thanks to Corriere Canadese's Simona Giacobbi for putting a spotlight on
ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals!

Articolo pubblicato il: 2012-04-20

La fondatrice Claudia Vecchio:

Full story in Italian here.
English version to be published next week in Tandem.

Are you a Friend of ORA? "Like" ORA on Facebook or Join ORA on Twitter today! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tonight at 7PM: ORA on CP24's Animal Housecalls

Must Watch TV!: ORA's Board Member, the lovely Corinne Thaw, will on CP24's Animal Housecalls to speak with Ann Rohmer tonight, Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 at 7:00 P.M., about our upcoming Nathan Winograd event in Toronto, and to introduce Annalia and Cricket, two wonderful rescue dogs looking for forever homes. You can also catch the show online later at

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

ORA on Facebook | ORA on Twitter

Monday, April 9, 2012

ORA Letter from the Founder

Dear Supporters,

Toronto's Most Important Animal Welfare Event of the year is just a few days away!

On April 14th, Nathan Winograd will be in Toronto, host of ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals. This is not “just another event.” It is a unique opportunity to change the fate of many thousands of cats and dogs who are killed every year in pounds in Toronto and throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Nathan Winograd has transformed high kill pounds in American metropolitan areas as well as in remote rural area and by implementing a series of sensible measures, he has reduced the rate of euthanasia to less than 10%.

In Toronto and in Southern Ontario, pounds kill every year up to 75% of the animals they receive. This killing is unnecessary, expensive to taxpayers and morally unacceptable. If you care for the animals, please make sure to attend this event. It is a unique opportunity to help stop the killing.

Nathan Winograd is a much sought after speaker on animal welfare issues in the US and an award winning writer. He is in Toronto for the first time. This is not just a lecture it is a course of action to follow for ”Building a No-Kill Community.”

To reserve your ticket, call ORA now at 416 726 8895 or 416 726 5762.
For more information please visit or

Looking forward to see you on April 14.

Cats and dogs have the right to live: let’s stop the killing. Come to find out how on April 14!

Claudia Vecchio
Volunteer Chairperson
ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals
Tel: 416 726 5762

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Greetings from ORA | Enjoy the rest of the weekend, everyone. ORA Volunteers wish each other, and all of you out there, a very Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Counting Down to April 14th with ORA and Nathan!

April 4, 2012 -- In ten days' time, Nathan Winograd will be in Toronto for one day only to present his exciting and inspirational "Building a No-Kill Community" seminar and leadership workshop at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre's South Hall (222 Bremner Boulevard) in Room 714.

Only a few tickets remain at this time, and NO tickets will be sold at the door - so don't delay - be sure to contact ORA at 416-726-8895 or to get your names on the guest list ASAP or buy your tickets online soon at

ORA's 10 DAY COUNTDOWN begins today! Count down with us here on Blogger, on Facebook or on Twitter over the next ten days.