Wednesday, June 03, 2009

OSPCA investigating the Toronto Humane Society

Toronto Star: Raid Targets Humane Society

There have been allegations of cruelty to animals which, after media coverage, sparked the investigation. The OSPCA has suspended the Toronto Humane Society's investigative powers while the investigation is going on. No charges have been laid as of this writing.

At issue here is euthanasia. The allegations, if I understand them correctly, are that the Toronto Humane Society has very restrictive practices around euthanasia, resulting in animals suffering.

If any readers out there are close to this situation and can add any insights, please comment. The question, when is it appropriate to euthanize an animal, is a very tough one, and I don't pretend to know the answer. I know that when my cat William became ill with severe heart difficulties, it was a very difficult and emotional decision for me.

I'll be following this story closely.


Wandering Coyote said...

I saw this on the CBC just now. I'm not sure what to think of it...

I also saw on the CBC a moment ago the story about a big black bear in Aurora that was happily hanging out in a tree. The wildlife guys tranquilized it and are going to relocate it. Why can't they do more of that here, instead of just killing the bear???

Patience said...

Honestly I think the Humane Society has a number of extremists employed there. Nothing surprises me in terms of their behaviour.

Sunny Reuter said...

The OSPCA investigating THS - some background info via excerpts from Peter Worthington’s article in the Toronto Sun May 15, 2006:

“there's big trouble within the OSPCA if anyone looks closely. Many board members are upset that public donations and grants from the government are spent on buildings and facilities rather than on animals and curbing cruelty and abuse.”

“In their letter to McGuinty and Kwinter, eight (original resigned) board members noted that the government is well aware of the problems (at the OSPCA) and urged that their resignation be regarded "as a request for intervention ... to suspend the bylaws of the OSPCA, suspend the board of the OSPCA, and appoint a representative of your government to work with the CEO of the Society pending the promised update of the OSPCA Act."

Re: THS 2005 euthanasia rates: chief inspector Mike Draper wrote Tim Trow, president of the THS, and admitted "a private investigation firm" was hired to "obtain statements from a number of (THS) employees." .... Criminal charges (by the OSPCA against the THS) were threatened.”

moving forward......

Excerpts from Peter Worthington’s article in the Barrie Examiner November 2008

In 2006, the OSPCA board of directors resigned (twenty nine of them), virtually en masse. ... the OSPCA's (current) 12-person board of directors is not chosen by public vote of members, but appointed.

“The solution is simple: The government should take a hard look at the absolute control exercised by the OSPCA, and bring the police powers of its inspectors under control of the attorney general.”

“The McGuinty government seems reluctant to challenge the OSPCA, and recently gave it a $5 million windfall” (and 1.8 million before that).

“the way Bill 50 is written, a private charity has police powers to prosecute, is accountable to no one, is immune to the ombudsman, and is protected from access to information legislation. (Bill 50 grants the OSPCA warrantless entry). Not to disparage individuals who are inspectors, but their mandate and the OSPCA's style are more mindful of a secret police than a body serving the public.”

Additions are bracketed.

There are no good guys and no bad guys. Just a government that has given the OSPCA -a charity - unprecedented police and advocacy powers along with the right to oversee itself and other charities. The OSPCA is not subject to FOI.

At some point the province must step in.

Neither the THS or the OSPCA with their millions of dollars in public donations can be held accountable other than through the Charity Act.

Grave allegations against the OSPCA exist also. Please read:

Enough with the public and legal mud-slinging. Bring in some independant oversight.

Sunny Reuter

sp said...

I always wondered about the Humane Society. There was a shift there in 2000 or 2001 when their policies changed a little and I found them a little more difficult to deal with. I had also heard rumors at that point that there was some in-fighting between staff and volunteers.

I will be following this story for sure.

No animal should suffer unnecessarily.

Anonymous said...

While animal suffering is a horrid thing, giving activists police powers is something one expects only in a fascist state. Oops, forgot it was Ontario.