February 4th, 2005, VANCOUVER - February is Cat Health Month and Responsible Pet Owner Month and The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) is asking people to take preventative steps to help care for and protect their animal companions. There are an estimated 15 million dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, fish and other animals living with Canadian families and 1 out of every 6 households has a pet of some kind.


According to Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director, there are some simple things that can be done to avert potential problems: "When it comes to caring for our best friends, working to ensure their protection and safety is effective and easy. "Taking a pet to their veterinarian for an annual check-up helps maintain the animal's health and is a tool to diagnose diseases and conditions in their early stages," advises Hickey.

People may want to have elderly pets and those with medical conditions checked by a veterinarian more often," recommends Hickey. "Making sure that pets have been neutered and are up-to-date with their vaccinations are two proactive and simple ways to keep pets healthy, prevents them from contributing to the pet overpopulation crisis and means you are being a responsible guardian to your animal companions."

HSC Executive Director Michael O'Sullivan, who has a houseful of dogs and cats says that preventing dogs from running at large and keeping cats as indoor pets are two more ways to be a responsible guardian and to minimize the chances of these animals being injured or killed or becoming sick.

"Indoor cats live significantly longer lives than those felines who live outdoors or who are allowed outdoors," says O'Sullivan. "Not only are they protected from other animals, cars and many other potential dangers, but they are also protected from many of the transmittable diseases that cats allowed to venture outside are susceptible to. People fortunate to live with dogs are not only exposing their 'best friends' to numerous dangers by allowing their canine companions to run at large, they're also breaking the law," warns O'Sullivan.

Some of things that responsible pet owners will want to make sure their pets have are:

  • veterinary care
  • quality food and water
  • daily exercise
  • quality time with their humans - including play time
  • quality shelter - preferably indoors with their humans
  • effective identification

To help ensure that lost and stray pets are returned to their human guardians The Humane Society of Canada has just launched The Humane Society of Canada's Pet Recovery Team which includes: a special, engraved identification tag (one side of tag is the pet's name and their guardian's telephone number and on the other side is a unique serial number keyed to each pet's information complete with The Humane Society of Canada's toll-free telephone number which works from anywhere in Canada and the United States). To make this important program as widely available as possible, The Humane Society of Canada is offering permanent, free, lifetime registrations for animal lovers and their pets. People can register as many pets as they like and they can update their animal companions' information at any time by calling The HSC toll-free number at 1-800-641-KIND (5463). If a tag is lost The Humane Society of Canada will issue a replacement tag free of charge.

"With our Pet Recovery Team, help for your missing pet, is just a phone call away," says O'Sullivan.

More information about the Pet Recovery Team can be obtained here.

Another important item that people can use to help protect their pets is a good first-aid kit for animals. The Humane Society of Canada sells a quality kit and all revenue goes to HSC animal protection programs. First aid kits can be ordered by calling, toll free, 1-800-641-KIND (5463) or through The HSC Online Adventure Store.

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

The only organization of its kind, seven days a week, The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works across the street, across Canada and around the world helping people, animals and the environment.

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