A Special Report & Photo Archive from the Frontlines by Michael O'Sullivan, Chairman & CEO, The Humane Society of Canada
In the distance, we could see the military checkpoint. Like a small fortress, surrounded by sandbags, it was manned by young soldiers in desert battledress armed with automatic weapons. An armoured personnel carrier further hardened the site and the soldiers had clear fields of fire from both sides. Soon we would be entering Ram Allah, a war zone that exists between Israelis and Palestinians - and where the Jerusalem SPCA has its animal shelter that is a sanctuary to over 300 abandoned, stray and abused dogs and cats; and from time to time, donkeys and other animals.
Pulling up just before the military checkpoints, my companion, Dr. Hilik Marom, the veterinarian in charge of the SPCA’s operations, stopped his four-wheel drive, and got out. Removing his 9mm Glock, he cleared the action and then reseated the clip of bullets. The handgun went back into its holster alongside two additional clips.
His movements were smooth and well practised, and yet like most former soldiers I’ve met, carried out with an sense of resignation that he would prefer not to carry a gun at all - but that common sense and experience had taught him to hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst. The cell phone was set to dial a special number for the military in case of an emergency. Then he reached into the back of the vehicle and handed me something black and bulky.
Having worked in war zones before, I recognized it immediately. As I fitted the heavy military flak jacket over my head, the ceramic plates designed to stop a high velocity sniper’s bullet, clanked against one another. Making sure it fit snugly, we resumed our journey, and the soldiers watched us with a mixture of interest and amazement as the two of us entered a war zone to help animals.
And while it was only one day in my life, each and every day, dedicated people like Dr. Marom, the staff, Directors and volunteers of the Jerusalem SPCA battle incredible odds, putting their lives at risk to help animals and people caught up in the middle of a war.
What I found upon my arrival was a clean well-run animal shelter with contented animals, cared for by people whose devotion and love for animals was best reflected by the way in which the animals responded to them. A sanctuary in the midst of a war for which there is no end in sight.
The SPCA operates a no-kill shelter, which means that animals remain with them until a home can be found for them. I saw dogs and cats of every shape, size and colour, all waiting for homes. All animals are welcomed and cared for, their wounds healed, whether their owners are Israeli or Palestinian.
The shelter has been stoned, ransacked and the staff beaten. And yet these incredible people still won’t give up and leave. The animals mean too much to them.
We returned to Jerusalem later that afternoon to visit the SPCA’s veterinary clinic. Located in Kiryat Yovel, the clinic is always open to receive and treat sick, injured animals of all descriptions. Working with older equipment and always short on supplies, they perform miracles for these animals.
The Jerusalem SPCA also cares for animals that are a part of a program run by the Hadassah Hospital to help emotionally challenged children. They also operate another program to care for the animals that are a part of another program working with blind children.
On the last leg of our journey, we travelled down a steep road and into a beautiful valley. A winding road took us through a wilderness full of trees, birds and other wildlife. The Mayor of Jerusalem has promised this land to the Jerusalem SPCA because he shares their concern for the welfare of animals and nature.
If they can raise enough money, this will be the new home of the Jerusalem SPCA and will include an animal shelter, full service veterinary hospital, wildlife rehab centre, an area for farm animals, and an educational centre for children. The estimated cost to design and complete this animal sanctuary is $500,000.
The Jerusalem SPCA is a registered Israeli charity and for more than 75 years has been working tirelessly on behalf of animals. The charity is a beacon of hope in this part of the world and relies entirely on donations to support their life saving work to help animals. However, as you can imagine, raising funds to help animals in a war zone is a challenge – and one, which will be met in part through a partnership between The Humane Society of Canada and The Jerusalem SPCA.
In challenging a world whose attitudes and conditions often defy human hope, with your help we can make a difference.
Help us and the animals beat incredible odds by sending in your life-saving donation today. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for tax purposes.
Through our association with Ark Angel a registered charity in the United Kingdom (1075825) we can also accept donations. We also have working relationships with a network of charities in other parts of the world to help animals.
For more than 30 years, the staff of The Humane Society of Canada has worked here in Canada and in over 85 countries helping animals and nature. We have worked in war zones like Colombia, Nicaragua, Mozambique, Angola, and Kuwait. While there are thousands of relief organizations working to help people, there are only a handful of dedicated people and organizations working to help animals in war zones – caring and courageous people and organizations like The Jerusalem SPCA.
Your donation will mean the difference between life and death for an animal living in Israel. Please give $25, $35, $50 or whatever you can afford.
- Your donation of $25 will provide food and care for a dog or cat
- Your donation of $35 will provide vaccinations against disease for a dog or cat
- Your donation of $50 will provide fuel to provide pickup a dog or cat hit by a car
- Your donation of $100 will provide spay/neuter surgery for a dog or cat
- Your donation of $250 will provide medicines for an emergency first aid pack
- Your donation of $500 will provide life saving surgery for an injured dog or cat
- Your donation of $1,000 will provide food and care for 40 dogs or cats
- Your donation of $5,000 will provide for the construction of a new home for cats
- Your donation of $10,000 will provide for a humane education program to teach thousands of school children living in a war zone about kindness to animals
- Your donation of $20,000 will provide for a fully equipped rescue vehicle
- Your donation of $50,000 will provide for the purchase of badly needed veterinary equipment and medicines
- Your donation of $100,000 will provide one-fifth of the cost for a new animal sanctuary and be used as challenge funding to attract even more donations
To make a credit card donation, you can phone The Humane Society of Canada toll-free in North America at 1-800-641-KIND (5463). Ark Angel can be reached in the UK via its global toll-free number 800-3555-7855.
The Humane Society of Canada will also accept collect calls at (416) 368-0405
Secure donations can also be made online
If you would like to mail in a donation, you can send your donation to any of the following in Canada:
| 347 Bay St. Suite 806
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2R7
| 408-185-911 Yates St.
Victoria, B.C. V8V 4Y9
| Box 216, 280 Nelson St.
Vancouver, B.C. V6B 2E2
| Box 407, 100 1039-17th Ave SW
Calgary, Alberta T2T 0B2
| Box 36, 11215 Jasper Ave
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 0L5
| Box 151 162-2025 Corydon Ave
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3P 0N5
| Box 460 4246 Albert St.
Regina, SK S4S 3R9
| 1673 Richmond St. Box 313
London, Ontario N6G 2N3
| 3539 Boul. St-Charles, Suite 408
Kirkland, Québec H9H 3C4
| 1080 Beaver Hall Hill, #1700
Montreal, Québec H2Z 1S8
| 1633 Mountain Rd, Box 12-169
Moncton, NB E1G 1A5
| Box 319, 38 Pearson St.
St John's, NF A1A 3R1
| 1096 Queen St, Box 181
Halifax, NS B3H 2R9
| Box 101, 393 University Ave
Charlottetown, PEI C1A 4N4
To send a donation in the United States:
135 South La Salle St
Chicago, IL 60603
In the United Kingdom, donations can be sent to the following address, care of the Ark Angel Foundation:
Ark Angel Foundation
PO Box 14
The Jerusalem SPCA Photo Archive can be accessed HERE
[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 the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has 6 grandchildren.
A father with two small children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, O'Sullivan has worked in Canada and in over 85 countries during the last 30 years helping people, animals and nature.]
The Humane Society works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. They 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, fund scientific research, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.