March 3, 2004, VANCOUVER – A long winter with considerable snow combined with an extended mild spell, and in some regions rain, has The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) worried about the safety of Canadians and their pets.


“We are asking people to be extra careful with their pets near lakes, ponds, rivers and other waterways,” states Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director. “Every year pets fall through ice, are stranded on ice or are swept away by rising waters,” continues Hickey. “A person’s natural reaction when this happens is to jump in and save their pet, putting both of them at risk.”

Significantly increased water levels, from melting snow, ice and rain, in streams, creeks, rivers and lakes are not the only danger according to Michael O’Sullivan, HSC Executive Director.

“Some dogs willingly jump into the water and they can quickly drown or suffer hypothermia if exposed to these frigid bodies of water,” says O’Sullivan. “Even creeks and streams that are shallow and slow-moving for much of the year become deep, raging ‘rivers’ in late winter and early spring.”

In order to protect pets from these dangerous bodies of water, The Humane Society of Canada is requesting that people ensure that their animal companions are kept at home and, when taken for walks, that they are kept safely on a leash.

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.

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