Greater problems

How to get Ontarians mad.

Clearly, if you mess with Fluffy or Fido, you’ll soon have an angry Ontario populace on your hands. But there are far greater problems facing this province today.

As cute as cats and dogs are, we had better learn to muster up a similar level of outrage about the more serious issues that impact on restoring Ontario’s place as the economic engine of Confederation.

Toronto Humane Society

OSPCA holds town hall meeting.

Volunteer Ligita Mikelson, one of about 100 in the room, said she left the meeting with just as many questions.

“When the OSPCA came in, I was very upset. I’m less fired up now. But they couldn’t answer many of the questions about who will run the THS,” she said. “The real problem now is that before, yes maybe it was crowded, but the place was crawling with animals and people wanting to adopt.

“Now it’s clean. It’s tidy. But it’s half-empty. It’s lost its soul.” 

The OSPCA, which has been criticized for speaking too openly to the media, barred reporters from attending the meeting.

The OSPCA “certainly haven’t been welcoming to us and they’ve been treating us like we’ve done something bad,” said Sheenagh Murphy, a volunteer dog walker who left the meeting feeling that she only got partial answers to her questions.

Toronto Humane Society

And then there were eight.

Vijay Kumar, a former supervisor at the THS, was arrested Saturday afternoon.

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the suspect was accompanied by his lawyer when he turned himself in to the lead investigator, Kevin Strooband.

“Our first priority is the on-going safety of the animals,” Strooband said in a news release sent to the media Sunday afternoon.

Kumar has been charged with two counts of animal cruelty – – a charge that is an indictable offence under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Toronto Humane Society

OSPCA will look after admissions and adoptions; only 373 animals left at THS.

The once crammed and bustling hallways of the Toronto Humane Society have emptied, as shelter managers have laid off staff and the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has blocked new animal admissions.

This has sent the Humane Society into a “death spiral,” lawyers for the shelter argued, but a judge ruled yesterday in light of concerns over adequate staffing the OSPCA will oversee the intake and adoption of animals at the shelter.

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

THS and OSPCA will meet with mediator in attempt to reach out-of-court solution; independent financial monitor releases some figures.

The Toronto Humane Society failed to pay off its hydro bill last year, but spent nearly half-a-million dollars on legal fees, a report compiled by an independent financial monitor found.

The balance on the THS’s hydro account peaked in September at more than $71,000, while more than $423,000 went to lawyers. That figure doesn’t include an additional $400,000 transferred to a lawyer to be held in trust shortly after five members of the shelter’s senior management were charged with animal cruelty in late November.

Toronto Humane Society

Tim Trow resigns from board; OSPCA to continue looking after animals at THS.

Trow’s ability to discharge his responsibilities as a member of the board is seriously compromised while charges against him remain outstanding, Andras Schreck said Tuesday.



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