TRACEY TONG/METRO OTTAWA
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Growing up in Cape Breton, Vern White’s family always had dogs.
An animal lover, the Ottawa Police chief said he was thrilled to be named this year’s honorary chair of the Ottawa Humane Society’s 19th annual Wiggle Waggle Walkathon.
But it wasn’t until the drive to the Champagne Avenue shelter yesterday morning that he realized the cause was closer to home than he imagined.
Four years ago, the Whites adopted Ari — a hound-collie cross and one of the family’s two dogs — from the same shelter.
“I didn’t realize it until we drove down Carling,” he said.
“All of us at the Ottawa Humane Society are thrilled and excited that Chief Vernon White has come on as honorary chair,” said Bruce Roney, executive director of the Ottawa Humane Society.
Having the city’s police chief as honorary chair gives the shelter the opportunity to highlight the important working relationship between the Ottawa Humane Society and Ottawa Police, Roney said.
“People don’t always know or understand the close relationship between police and OHS,” Roney said. “A lot of people don’t realize how often our services intersect. We rely on each other on an almost daily basis.”
While the Ottawa Humane Society is available to Ottawa Police in arrest cases where an animal is present, conversely, police attend animal cruelty investigations, Roney said.
Indeed, White said he believes several officers from the Ottawa Police Service will be out participating at the walkathon, which starts at 10 a.m. at the Central Experimental Farm Arboretum on Sept. 9.
The Wiggle Waggle Walkathon is the shelter’s biggest single event of the year, said Roney.
The money raised goes toward the $3.6-million annual operating budget of the shelter.