Ontario Heartworm Crisis

TORONTO, Nov. 4 /CNW/ - The Toronto Humane Society supports the urgent call to action to combat the heartworm crisis in Ontario made yesterday by the Hamilton Academy of Veterinary Medicine (HAVM) and the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA).

Our own veterinarians tell us that heartworm can be painful, treatment can be risky and extensive, and the epidemic likely to haunt pet owners by infecting dogs and wildlife for decades to come.

The Toronto Humane Society has been striving, along with the veterinary profession and the media, to raise awareness and end the importation of dogs to Ontario from areas where heartworm is endemic.

The Toronto Humane Society calls upon the Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Hon. Leona Dombrowsky, to direct the Chief Veterinarian of Ontario, Dr. Deb Stark, to launch a public inquiry into the cause of the heartworm epidemic and make recommendations as to the best course of action to take to protect Ontario's pets and wildlife.

It appears that the former Chair of the Ontario SPCA, and its newly appointed Chief Operating Officer, was aware of the concerns raised by veterinarians as early as April of this year .The HAVM brought the situation to his attention while in his role as President and CEO of the Hamilton SPCA. The HAVM was extremely concerned as it had seen a 10 fold increase in cases of heartworm in the Hamilton area, many of which were traced back to dogs imported by the Hamilton SPCA from the Southern United States.

It would be inexcusable if Ontario SPCA affiliates were to be implicated in this crisis. The Ontario SPCA has a duty to protect Ontario's pets and wildlife. We ask the Ontario SPCA to join with us in our call for a public inquiry.

SOURCE Toronto Humane Society

For further information: For further information: Ian McConachie, Senior Communicator, Toronto Humane Society, (416) 392-2273 ext. 2149, (416) 984-3097, imcconachie@torontohumanesociety.com

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