Archive for the 'TORONTO HUMANE SOCIETY' Category

Trow’s job

Profile of new THS board president Michael Downey.

He had beaten the cancer that could have killed him. He wanted to help a dear charity. So Michael Downey, chief executive of Tennis Canada and the owner of a dog, a parakeet and a gecko, approached Toronto Humane Society president Tim Trow about joining the board.

Trow told him there were “no vacancies.”

Now Downey has Trow’s job — and responsibility for overseeing the cleanup of the mess Trow left in his wake.


Faces of Change sweep THS election.

“A lot of people worked very hard to bring about change at the Toronto Humane Society and it’s just so exciting to know that the change that we have all been fighting for is very soon going to be the reality,” Laking said Sunday.

In a clear repudiation of past leadership, humane society members elected a new board of directors Sunday made up entirely of the organization’s most outspoken critics.

New counts

Thirty-eight new charges laid against former THS leadership.

Those facing a new set of charges include former THS president Tim Trow, current president Bob Hambley and all but one of the current members of the board of directors. The new counts of animal cruelty pertain largely to cats allegedly found in distress by the OSPCA.

“Charges being laid during a contested election have a brackish odour,” said Frank Addario, a lawyer for the charged board members. “Particularly when they are legally dubious and based on information that is stale.”

The OSPCA said the charges were delayed because the THS impeded access to relevant documents.

Watch Brian Shiller, Hanna Booth, Kate Hammer, and Liz White discuss THS, OSPCA, etc. with Steve Paiken on The Agenda’s Pet Politics episode.

One dog’s interests

Kate Hammer on Bandit as symbol for Tim Trow’s THS.

Bandit will have been dead six weeks on May 30, the day on which a new board of directors will be elected to take control of the 123-year-old animal-welfare charity. While absent in body, he will be there in spirit, reincarnated as the 800-lb. gorilla in the room. While his plight symbolized the facility’s best intentions of keeping pets alive, it also represented the folly and hubris which led to mistakes made by then-president Tim Trow and his board of directors. All of them stand charged with animal cruelty.

“Bandit certainly represented Tim Trow’s emphasis on animal rights over animal welfare,” said Christopher Avery, a lawyer for the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “That one dog’s interests were pursued despite the negative fallout for the breed, for the shelter and for all his victims.”

Turned tables

The more things change

Now, as the THS approaches a board election in which both competing candidate slates promise a clean break from the troubles of the past, the OSPCA’s building is the site of emotional protests.

That the public outcry targets the OSPCA is a change. That it was prompted by a euthanasia decision is not. Euthanasia policy, always the most contentious issue related to animal shelters, was the primary substantive disagreement underpinning the OSPCA-THS dispute during the tenure of controversial former THS president Tim Trow.

New alliance

Development in upcoming THS board election.

Now two of the slates — Representing Animals in Need and Faces of Change — have joined forces in an attempt to consolidate their vote and keep the third group from being elected.

Save the THS — according to their opponents — is connected to the former leadership of the humane society.

The groups that have combined “have very similar passions,” said candidate Marcie Laking. “Our heart and souls have been in it and we thought it made perfect sense to fight together.”

Laking says the former leadership at the THS “can’t be running the animal shelter. They’ve proven they can’t handle it. Everything has to change.”

Three slates

List of fifty candidates for new Toronto Humane Society board of directors released.

The list includes contenders of every stripe – business executives, veterinarians, lawyers, volunteer dog walkers and a Tennis Canada executive. A source said that the list consists of three likely slates of 15 members and a handful of independent candidates, including acting THS president Bob Hambley.

Some candidates have ties to at least two reform groups, the Association to Reform the THS and Representing Animals in Need, and others appear to have ties to the former board of directors who were charged with animal cruelty in November.

“A fresh start will require more than just a coat of paint,” said Marcie Laking, a former THS employee, member of ART and one of the candidates. “It will require new policies, new procedures and new leadership.”


Bandit is dead.

On Wednesday, a judge issued an ultimatum to the THS: either euthanize Bandit or hand the dog over to an agency that would.+

“Let me be blunt,” said Judge David Brown. “Stop playing games, it is time for the THS board of directors to start acting professionally in its governance of that organization.”

The THS decided to comply with the court order and Bandit was euthanized Wednesday morning.

“Bandit has been euthanized to the dismay of many THS members, staff and volunteers who cared for the dog over the years,” THS spokesperson Ian McConachie said in a statement. “The staff and board of the organization thank those who worked hard for a different solution.”

A more detailed, more reflective piece here:

Whatever you have done, Bandit, whatever was done to you, I hope you are finally able to rest in peace.

That’s that

Toronto Humae Society empty a day ahead of deadline.

Ian McConachie, spokesperson for the THS, said the revitalization effort will officially begin at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“We are excited to take this time to improve our operations and come back stronger and better able to serve the animals of Toronto,” he said in a news release Saturday evening.

“This short-term closure will reap long-term benefits for the Society and the thousands of animals we help.”

 Broken spirits

Adoption blitz launched ahead of Monday’s THS closing.

THS officials maintain there are no plans for large-scale euthanasia, and “adoptable” animals that remain after the Monday deadline will be transferred to Victoria Park or other local shelters.

“I don’t believe any euthanasias are planned at this time, but that is a veterinary decision that will be made if they feel it is the right choice,” spokesman Ian McConachie said today, noting he is “confident” many of the animals will be adopted over the weekend.

Volunteer cat worker Heather Brown said a number of the remaining cats have special needs that cannot be addressed at the smaller Victoria Park facility, so she is hoping they will find homes in the next couple of days. Some of the cats have been living at River Street for up to three years, she noted.

“There is not one cat there that is not adoptable,” Ms. Brown said. “The ones left, they’re so sweet, and you can kind of see their broken spirit a little bit. It’s almost like dodgeball, when you never want to be the last one picked for a team.”



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