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.

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.

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