Posts Tagged 'THS'

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.

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OSPCA opportunism

Toronto Star‘s The Fixer isn’t surprised by controversy at OSPCA.

The Durham Region OSPCA took complaints over several years about a herd of 70 to 80 sheep suffering hoof rot, with some limping in pain, which we saw for ourselves. We also found corpses of dead sheep stashed around the property, as well as body parts from an illegal butchering operation.

The barn hadn’t been mucked out in at least four years, with the entire floor more than a metre deep in sheep dung. A well inside the barn was so contaminated from dung that the environment ministry ordered it sealed, but was still used to water the animals.

The OSPCA said the hoof rot was due to standing in boggy fields, and that it was working with the farmer to improve the health of his herd, adding he’d gone “above the call” in caring for his animals. Neighbours who complained about it were astounded.

OSPCA spokesperson Alison Cross told us it could be good for sheep to live in a barn so deep in dung that we watched one standing on a high pile bump his horns on the ceiling.

Toronto Humane Society

New director allegedly messed up.

Garth Jerome is among a group of personnel named in a document forming the basis of the search warrant executed in November. In that 140-page document, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals details hundreds of allegations against THS administration, many pertaining to former president Tim Trow.

Citing an interview with a staff doctor, one item alleges Mr. Jerome – who was a microbiologist at the time before being promoted to facilities manager late last year – improperly treated kittens at the shelter.

“It was discovered that in order to facilitate the ease of kitten feeding, that sick kittens had been mixed in with the healthy kittens at the direction of microbiologist Garth Jerome, thereby placing the healthy kittens at risk of disease,” the warrant document alleges.

“Many kittens in fact became infected and some died… The decision to mix sick and healthy kittens [was] taken without consultation with veterinary staff,” the document continues, noting many kittens were found in the room “sick, dehydrated and suffering.”

Toronto Humane Society

Seven animals leave.

Animal lovers trickled through the Toronto Humane Society’s doors yesterday, the first day that the shelter has opened the doors of its River Street facility to the public since Nov. 26, when five senior managers were arrested and charged with criminal animal cruelty.

THS spokesman Ian McConachie said that at least seven animals were adopted, including a young German shepherd-cross named Dixie.

Toronto Humane Society

Wildlife licence revoked.

Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield said the THS’s licence was issued under the name of head veterinarian Steve Sheridan, who now faces criminal animal cruelty charges and is barred from the shelter.

“We cancelled it because the charges and the conditions of his bail are such that he can’t function as a wildlife custodian, so there’s nobody there that has that authority and it’s non-transferable,” she said.

Three wild animals put down.

The Toronto Wildlife Centre confirmed Monday three of the animals — a mallard, house sparrow and eastern gray squirrel — had to be put down because of their injuries.

TWC executive director Nathalie Karvonen said the mallard had severe tissue damage from a fishing line injury and the foot and possibly the end of the leg would have had to be amputated. Mallards need both legs to survive in the wild, she said.

The squirrel had permanent brain damage. When it was taken into the Downsview Centre, it could only climb a few inches and officials said at the time if the damage was going to resolve itself, it would have happened sooner.

An old healed fracture in one leg meant the sparrow no longer had use of that leg and an old healed fracture in his shoulder meant it would likely never fly again.

Allegations continue.

“Every day of this investigation reveals more about how the THS was managed prior to the execution of the search warrant on Nov. 26,” OSPCA investigator Kevin Strooband stated in a press release yesterday. “We continue to find more evidence supporting our search warrant and the charges laid. But most importantly, the animals are finally getting the attention, care and treatment that one would expect from an animal shelter.”

The OSPCA listed the cases of four animals including Larry, a 15-year-old cat at the society since 2008 who was euthanized last Wednesday. The last time he was seen by a vet was in 2008, officials said.

Sarnia Humane Society comfortable with kill policy.

Holmes addressed the issue of whether shelters should euthanize animals who are grievously sick or in pain. Last year the local shelter took in 3,300 stray animals and those rescued by OSPCA officers from cruelty cases, housing them in 28 dog kennel and 150 cat cage shelter. About 1,600 animal had to be put down.

“Euthanizing is never an easy decision for us or any shelter,” Holmes said.

With limited funding, the shelter focusses on animals that are relatively healthy and adoptable.

“Unfortunately the cat population in Lambton County is extremely high right now,” Holmes said. “We have too many coming in to be able to house.”

Toronto Humane Society

Ottawa Humane Society assisting OSPCA investigation.

One of the rescue agents is in Toronto to assist the investigation at the request of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

A blog post that, coincidentally, considers THS, OHS, and OSPCA.

The Ottawa Humane Society, a model “humane society” in the Ontario system of OSPCA affiliates, has since weighed in with a press release aiming to distance themselves from the THS and bring themselves closer to the OSPCA. The OHS continues to refuse to publicize its own euthanasia statistics, no doubt because revealing the truth of its own record would jeopardize its widespread public support and, thus, its dream of building a $9.5 million shelter (conveniently located next to a brand new Lexus dealership!). Based upon data presented on the OHS’s website, we can indirectly determine that the OHS must euthanize 65% of the animals in its “care.”

Trow’s trash led to warrants.

Court documents released yesterday allege that the investigators, working for the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, uncovered a handwritten letter terminating an employee for a comment posted online, a cat’s kennel records and a Post-it note to “destroy records” among the trash at the curb outside the home of THS president Tim Trow.

The discarded documents were included by the OSPCA in its more than 100-page submission to obtain a warrant to search Mr. Trow’s Davisville home, his Chevrolet sedan and the THS’s River Street shelter. Lawyers for Mr. Trow and some of his co-accused have raised concerns regarding the scope and validity of the warrant.

In his summary of the investigation, OSPCA agent Kevin Strooband writes “the shelter and all responsibility for the cruelty ultimately lies at the feet of Tim Trow.”

Toronto Humane Society

Employees blame management.

“Bob Hambley is saying the same thing over and over, that it’s all politically motivated. And it’s not. The facts don’t lie,” said Russell, 24. “I’m in there every day. I’m working with those animals hands on. I see what goes on. … I know that the accusation that animals are suffering is 100 per cent true.”

“People don’t know what to believe about all this,” said Davidson, 35. “They keep hearing it’s politics. … There is, of course, a big feud between the THS and the OSPCA. But there’s so much more.”

Volunteers blame management.

Despite the effects of extreme understaffing on animal care, a problem linked to recent charges of animal cruelty against top THS officials, many potential volunteers have been turned away over the years or quit in frustration amid plummeting morale, sources say.

One woman was even told by senior management to “take time out” as a volunteer after raising an alarm about the treatment of nursery kittens.

“We’ve lost a lot of people,” said Jill Maddams, who has been volunteering at the humane society for six years. “We have a lot of trouble retaining people because of the way volunteers are treated there…. What we’re finding now is that they’re turning people away, saying they have enough volunteers, when in fact they don’t.”

Experts call for national governing body to audit shelters.

“There’s actually very few federal laws protecting animals and the degree differs from province to province,” said Tina Widowski, the director of the Campbell Centre for the Study for Animal Welfare, at the University of Guelph.

For Widowski, the idea of a national body ensuring standards of care for domestic animals is possible.

According to Widowski, an infrastructure exists for animals used in research and teaching under the Canadian Council on Animal Care, which requires all university and research organizations using animals to receive regular auditing of its facilities before they receive funding.

“That’s the one area that we’re really well organized on for ensuring minimum standards of care and it would be very beneficial in all of different animal industries,” said Widowski, “It would be good to have similar sorts of guidelines and similar sorts of regulatory bodies that would regularly audit, in some way, and ensure those standards are met.”

But Widowski acknowledges the creation of such an organization to monitor shelters would be challenging and the price tag, steep.


@AIC

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