VANCOUVER, August 19/2002 - The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) called the terrorists who killed a dog with poison gas, "cowardly subhuman sociopaths", and says that public reaction to the tape will be one of horror and outrage, according to HSC Western Regional Director, Al Hickey.


The charity was reacting to a tape obtained by CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson from a former al Qaeda terrorist camp in Darunta located in a remote area of Afghanistan. The tape shows a young dog chained to a wall, and the helpless animal slowly succumbs to the effects of a white poisonous gas that is introduced to the room. The dog begins licking his lips, looks slightly bewildered, and then eventually looses muscle control and falls to the floor howling before finally dying from the effects of the gas.

"The way we treat animals is a reflection of the way in which we treat each other. We believe this atrocity will add even more strength for a renewed call to action in the war on terrorism. The terrorists have badly underestimated the role that dogs, cats and other animals play in Western society where they are regarded as important members of the family," said HSC Executive Director, Michael O'Sullivan.

And O’Sullivan said that concern for animals in the midst of the war on terrorism is not misplaced, but rather a logical reaction to seeing a helpless living creature being tortured in such a horrific and cowardly fashion.

"During the Gulf War, the image of a single oil soaked bird provoked tremendous public concern, as people began to realize that animals were also caught up in the middle of a war. I was part of a relief effort that worked in Kuwait to help livestock and other animals affected by the Gulf War. In the aftermath of 9/11, search and rescue dogs played a vital role in searching for survivors; and therapy dogs provided warmth and affection to numb and exhausted rescue workers sifting through the rubble for bodies," he said.

"Studies show that as many as 6 out of 10 homes in Canada, the United States and Europe have pets that are important members of their family. And although, I have been doing this work for over 30 years and traveled to more than 85 countries, the depth and breadth of people’s outrage against cruelty to animals never ceases to amaze me," said O’Sullivan.

Since September 11th, The Humane Society of Canada has assigned a special section of its website to Animals and the War on Terrorism which can be found here

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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