Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Keep Toronto Animal Services PUBLIC - back off Ford! - Letter to my councillor ...

Laura (from Feathers, Fur and the Occasional Fang blog) here and here.
Social Mange here.
Pound Dog (also TAS volunteer)  here , here and here.

July 26, 2011


Councillor Michelle Berardinetti
Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West, Suite A8
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Dear Ms. Berardinetti:

RE: Toronto Animal Services

As a constituent in your riding, I am writing to ascertain your stand on the Ford-endorsed, KPMG suggestion that animal services in Toronto be privatized.

While already disappointed, with your short-sighted take on the bike lanes in our City, I am hopeful that you realize that to privatize TAS would be morally repugnant and a grievous step towards undermining a moral and compassionate society. Simply by googling Berger Blanc - the 'for profit' animal services in Montreal, you will see how horrific an environment is created when animals are relegated to a commodity. There are a plethora of article on recently revealed atrocities which have been - and continue to be - endemic to this type of organization.

Toronto Animal Services has made tremendous strides towards becoming a truly compassionate, healthy and positive guardian of animal welfare in the City of Toronto, and hopefully will be accorded the opportunity to continue to work towards an even more animal-positive environment. While there are still strides to be made, I have been favourably impressed with the positive changes I have witnessed over the past 15 years. Their trained staff are informed, educated and compassionate while their volunteer base is superlative. The euthanasia rate has steadily declined and most animals are given every opportunity to find a forever home in a welcoming, positive environment while waiting. This excellent care is provided at a very reasonable cost to the City. Further, the recently reformed Toronto Humane Society and TAS have established a positive and dynamic relationship which has resulted in the smooth transition of animals between their facilities in order to maximize adoption opportunities.

Animal services in any city must be a publicly funded and integral part of the infrastructure. A moral society recognizes the philosophical imperative to “do no harm” and an enlightened society strives to embrace an understanding of responsibility to all the denizens of the enclave. Calgary has done a superlative job of creating a publicly-funded service which many cities throughout North America seek to emulate. Strong licensing, cost-effective spay/neuter programs and close to a ‘no kill’ rate of euthanasia are among its successes; Toronto should continue to work towards a similar infrastructure NOT follow Montreal’s outrageous, inhumane and, ultimately, inefficient example.

Please advise of where you stand on this issue and some indication of where you intend to vote. Are you in favour of privatizing TAS or invested in keeping it a public service?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours truly,

Sheenagh Murphy

(faxed as of 8 a.m. July 26 - not optimistic as my councillor has been remiss in responding to other issues I've brought up)


  1. Hi Sheenagh, I've also written to Ms.Berardinetti about animal related issues. I read her profile and thought that since she was a founding member of the University of Windsor’s first animal rights organization she would be compassionate about Toronto citizens’ concerns about keeping our animals safe and free from harm, I have never heard a response from her and that was a month ago. I am disgusted with Ford and his 'gravy boat' complaints, I am sick of the councilors trying to make cuts to programs that matter to the public. I am fed-up with the City of Toronto not caring about issues we bring up (such as trying to improve the lives of animals in the City of Toronto). Right about now, I am very disappointed in the majority of our Toronto councilors and their lack of support for their citizens' concerns.

  2. I've written to her about a few issues and been VERY unimpressed - get trite, obvious party-line answers that don't deal with the question nor even come straight with her view on the issues (through email). Very clear her assistants sent our generalized emails. With you on everything else.

  3. Agree with comments above. I am a perpetual council watcher and find her either quiet (absent), uninformed or making meaningless statements. She is a Fordite thru and thru. See my weblog fordetailed monitoring of council's core service review, scroll down to 5. Licencing and Standards:

  4. Bythe way, over 186 people signed up to make 5 min deputations direct to Mayor Ford's executive committee on Thursday, July 28.
    City Council votes on all this Sept 21 I think.

  5. thanks Ken - will follow up on that - I have been COMPLETELY unimpressed with her to date

  6. Excellent letter, selkie. Don't hold your breath waiting for an answer; the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor and the councillor for a friend's ward (not yours) haven't even acknowledged her fax communication. She is not impressed, either.

    Write the Mayor, write your city councillor, sign the petition. There's a widget on Feathers, Fur & The Occasional Fang to sign the petition.

  7. Great letter selkie!

    If anyone else would like to put the petition widget up, I'd be happy to send you the code. More signatures are always good!

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