August 8, 2003, VANCOUVER - The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) is asking Canadians to open their hearts and their homes to an animal in need by participating in National Homeless Animals’ Day on August 16th. "On this day we want to draw special attention to the plight of homeless animals and to ask people to do something about it," says Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director. “Each years, tens of thousands of healthy dogs and cats are killed because there are simply not enough permanent loving homes for them."


"It is a tragedy when even one healthy pet is killed because there is no home for that animal," says HSC Executive Director, Michael O'Sullivan. He and his family share their lives with a houseful of rescued dogs and cats.


"For those who are on holidays this is a great time to adopt a pet," says O’Sullivan. "The weather is great and the family can spend lots of time with their new four-legged family member getting the animal used to his/her new home and routine before going back to work and school."

O’Sullivan says that we also need to work at the other end of the problem by fighting against pet overpopulation: "We live in the greatest country in the world, and killing healthy dogs and cats is a problem we should have solved a long, long time ago. We have the technology and the means -- and what we really need is the commitment from every man, woman and child to stop this senseless killing. All we have to do is stop breeding dogs and cats for which there are no permanent loving homes."

The Humane Society of Canada also asks people to visit their local animal shelter or rescue group today to adopt an animal. The organization does not support the sale of dogs and cats by registered breeders, back yard breeders or pet shops.

In order to start dealing with the tragic and unnecessary killing of healthy, friendly pets The Humane Society of Canada is requesting that various governments and the public start effectively dealing with the issue of pet overpopulation. Below are a few simple actions that, if taken, will have a positive impact on the pet overpopulation crisis.

Effective Ways to Help Homeless Animals

  • Municipal governments should enact bylaws that are humane and which effectively deal with homeless pets. This involves providing a significant economic incentive to neuter (spay/castrate) pets, have them take training/obedience courses, wear effective identification and not run at large.
  • Municipal governments should provide economic incentives to adopt pets from local pounds and animal shelters.
  • The federal and provincial governments should initiate educational campaigns about the numerous benefits of animal companions _ particularly homeless pets.
  • Federal and provincial governments should provide funding to animal welfare organizations that help pets.
  • Animal organizations and veterinary associations should create and carry out campaigns that educate people about the wonderful pets in pounds and animal shelters and the importance of having animal companions neutered (spayed/castrated).
  • Pet food and other pet related companies should become actively involved in bringing about a greater awareness of the pet overpopulation crisis.
  • Educators should incorporate the pet overpopulation issue into their curricula
  • As long as there are pets waiting in pounds and shelters, people looking for an animal companion should start their search in these facilities
  • Rescue groups and humane societies need to forge and strengthen their alliances to adopt out even more animals into permanent loving homes.

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at via twitter at and on Facebook at:

[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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