Monday, June 27, 2011


Visualize if you will a childrens' birthday party. Sticky fingers, sugar-highs, shrill voices and hyper excitement ... nothing out of the ordinary and nothing wrong with it. Kids, after all, will be kids.  However, having personally experienced on numerous occasions the sheer volume and activity level of a kids' party, I am cognizant it is NOT for the faint-hearted.  You need to gird yourself with patience, tolerance and strong alcohol gallons of black coffee (in a vain attempt to match their sugar high with your caffeine-driven frenetic energy).

Visualize then the animals in a shelter environment.  Relegated, through necessity, to small cages for extended periods of time.  Nervous, anxiety-ridden and often frightened.  If strays, adjusting to a life so foreign to its known world, it is earth-shaking.  If owner surrenders, then confused, scared and prone to uncharacteristic behaviour fueled by the animal's world being rocked on its axis.

Then think about the latest "brilliant" OSPCA endeavour - putting the two TOGETHER.

For $175, up to 12 children are invited to, among other things:
  •  An exciting, informative talk about the Ontario SPCA and the animals that stay with us
  • A tour of the Center
  • Hands-on socializing with our animals

Up to 12 children with no known degree of animal-husbandry.  Up to 12 kids with no insight into how much- if any- exposure they have had to animals.  Up to 12 kids, pumped on sugar and excitement - wanting to touch, fondle and "play" with animals which are already in a heightened state of anxiety and often, fear.
I wonder who thought up this BRILLIANT idea?
Could it be Kate Macdonald with her gaping paucity of knowledge and experience with animals?
Or perhaps Jim Sykes for whom the bottom line is MONEY not the humane, informed and proper care of animals?
A Board of Directors who see the OSPCA as a money-making endeavour with little connection to its stated mission?
I don't know what "genius" came up with this idea, but if we actually HAD a provincial humane organization that cared about animals - I would COMPLAIN to it!!  Oh, hold on - it is the actual provincial organization that SETS the rules, purports to spell out the parameters and has politically been allowed to dictate the measures that is actually DOING this.

This kind of grossly misguided way of raising funds for a "shelter" with almost NO animals simply highlights how unaware the individuals are who are running it. The fact that they proudly display this on their front page truly illustrates their ignorance when it comes to animals .
Ontario SPCA Humane Education Mission: By utilizing the bond between animals and children, the OSPCA is dedicated to providing leading edge education involving our environment, the animal kingdom, community and social justices to empower youth to become an informed, respectful & compassionate generation
I fail to see how putting up to 12 kids in close proximity to stressed, anxious animals is "humane".

I am perplexed how ANYONE with even a modicum of intelligence would believe that placing already excited kids around animals the organization purports to "protect" teaches anything but that animals are meant to be "playthings".

I believe that educating the public is crucial to moving froward an animal-friendly agenda in our society.

The obvious place to begin  is with children, many of whom in our society have had little to no chance to interact with animals, and many who may come from backgrounds due to a variety of factors that do not place the same value on animals that they deserve.

A birthday party is NOT one of the venues that would further that agenda.

Animals that interact on a regular basis with the general public, such as therapy dogs, require a certain temperament.  These animals are rigidly tested, exposed to a plethora of stressors and environments, are extensively trained and have one on one handling with beloved caretakers.

That does NOT encompass shelter animals.

These animals are dealing with enough terror in their lives, please do not contribute any more. Say NO to birthday parties at the OSPCA.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

We went, we protested and NO, OSPCA Brass- we are NOT going away

A determined group of people gathered yesterday outside OSPCA headquarters on Woodbine in Newmarket yesterday to demand again the resignation of OSPCA brass and killers extrordinaire Kate MacDonald, Tanya Firmage and Jim Sykes. Also on the agenda is a demand that the Board of Directors of this increasingly beleaguered organization resign due, among other things, to gross mismanagement and a failure to provide quality of life and a duty of care to the animals in their possession.

Terry Davidson of the Toronto Sun gives a succinct overivew of the situation, including a heartrending interview with Gianna Tramontin who recently had her old dog seized and summarily executed without due process nor any real attempt to contact her. Ms. Tramontin's veternarian Dr. Hannah who has bravely spoken out about the gross negligence involved in killing Rocky - an aging but happy dog who has been under her care for 14 years - also joined the protest. She was outraged that when the story was originally carried on CBC, her subsequent rebuttal of the OSPCA version of events was never aired and the CBC continued to present the OSPCA as a humanitarian organization only concerned with the suffering of an old "neglected" dog. This in fact was the farthest thing from the truth as Rocky was a beloved, cossetted and well cared for senior who is much missed by his family.

Carrying signs and bearing silent witness to the death last year of 102 animals at the Newmarket facility due to a since disputed "ringworm" outbreak (not only did the "outbreak" NOT occur, but even had it been present, ringworm is very treatable), protesters refuse to back down. Spokesperson Lynn Perrier (right), a tireless and determined animal advocate who has spearheaded the past several years campaign against OSPCA mismanagement, is determined to keep up the pressure.

Ms. Perrier and many others are seeking a number of actions:

  • For government step in to fire senior management (Jim Sykes, Kate MacDonald and Tanya Firmage and Connie Mallory)
  • Rob Godfrey and the entire Board of Directors be removed
  • A forensic audit of OSPCA finances and spending
  • An investigation into OSPCA charity status
  • Charges of animal cruelty to be brought against those responsible for the needless killing of 102 animals in May 2010 and the other animals like Rocky
Other than the occasional car driving out or in infrequently (faces frozen and determined not to look at the protesters), the building was silent.  Apparently, as Mr. Davidson said in his article:

A woman who came to the entrance of the building’s administrative offices said the agency was not commenting to the media, and that the shelter would stay closed until Thursday because of security concerns. OSPCA officials were not available for comment, she said.

Security concerns? 
In keeping with Ms. Perrier's request to keep the protest legal and civil, no one at yesterday's demonstration blocked the driveway, heckled, created issues or in any way disturbed the peace. 

With all respect, the thought of OSPCA brass who with impunity have broken the law, been caught out in lie after lie, unapologetically slaughtered animals for which they were supposed to care, NEVER apologized or even admitted to wrongdoing, the thought of these individuals cowering inside a locked building, in fear of a largely middle-aged (although there were a fair sprinkling of young ones there too!! YEAH kids - bring it on!) women (and a few men) - is somehow both compellingly hilarious and outrageously silly.  Not sure if they expected us to storm the gates and batter down the doors with our signs, but we, unlike them follow due process.

The reality is that while the OSPCA would like to paint Ms. Perrier, myself and many, MANY other individuals as fanatics and liars - FACTS belie their assertions and efforts to undermine a determined group of individuals who hope to rid of the OSPCA of the deceitful, immoral and negligent management and directors that are currently destroying it. 

I admit to being perplexed, disappointed and shocked that so many continue to swallow the party line - that the OSPCA is an animal advocate and protects Ontario's animals when so many stories, studies and realities clearly show otherwise.

The OSPCA is, when all is said and done - a KILLING machine.

Monday, June 20, 2011

OSPCA RALLY- Newmarket - this Wednesday, June 22

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is an anathema to animal rights.

They are self-serving, deluded, corporate pigs (no offense to pigs who are smart, intelligent and loving animals – but using this word in the colloquial sense) who see animals as an unfortunate side effect of their bloated organizational morass – and thus ultimately disposable.

The reality is the OSPCA KILLS the majority of the animals they purport to “save”.

The reality is that it is their right (thank you Liberal government for facilitating this gross miscarriage of justice) to decide whether an animal is being treated improperly and their RIGHT to walk in and take the animal. The fact that after STEALING the animal they then kill it is indisputable and there are many PROVEN cases of this occurring.

It has now been clearly established beyond doubt that the OSPCA – the same organization which has attacked and destroyed both individuals and organizations for the same reason – have clearly contravened policies and procedures set out by the College of Veterinarians.

Just a few of the contraventions are as follow:
  • Inadequate record keeping of animals brought into the ospca Newmarket shelter.
  • Inadequate record keeping of animals killed and/or euthanized;
  • Inadequate record keeping of controlled drugs and medication;
  • Absence of even the "Minimum Standard" for the care and compassion of animals as specified in the Animals for Research Act and the Pound Act;
  • Inadequate training of supervisors and staff;
  • Allowing the killing of animals to be carried out by staff and/or auxiliary personnel without direct or immediate supervision of a registered veterinarian;
  • Inadequate performance and unacceptable services carried out regarding the most basic procedures
It would be ironic if it weren’t so heartbreaking that this bloated bureaucracy uses those same contraventions (often unsubstantiated) to harass and torment other individuals and organizations.

Premier Dalton McGuinty MUST immediately fire senior management Jim Sykes, Kate MacDonald, Tanya Firmage who have consistently, arrogantly and without conscience been caught out in lie after lie after lie.

In an independent review, J. Scott Weese, detailed failure after failure on the part of this nightmare for animals of an organization.
  • Variable and sometimes contradictory statements.
  • Content or factual errors.
  • Inadequate consideration of many broad issues that contribute to infectious disease transmission.
  • Inadequate provision of information to personnel for routine practices, health risks and disease control issues.
  • Reliance on passive suggestions rather than firm requirements, such that much of the specific information in the documents can be interpreted as optional.
  • Inadequate description and delineation of roles and responsibilities of different personnel, reporting mechanisms and the decision-making process for many important decisions.
  • Excessive marginally relevant material that detracts from more important information.
  • No indication of clear, formal, documented and mandatory training for most areas.

 I highly recommend interested persons read the report cover to cover , but some salient issues include the fact that there is “here is no formal mechanism for properly addressing outbreaks” – yet in their deluded, arrogant ‘wisdom’ they decided to MURDER all 350 animals in their facility last year at a purported – yes purported – it was LATER proven the “virulent strain of ringworm” they claimed justified the slaughter – NEVER EXISTED.  Further, as quoted from the Report: 
An additional concern with in-house testing is quality control. Improper use or interpretation of tests can lead to erroneous results being reported, as may have been the case in this ringworm 'outbreak' i.e. misinterpretation of the Fungassay screening test.

 Even the most basic requirements are flouted and “Currently, there is no requirement that animals be vaccinated against rabies prior to adoption.” This from an organization that purports to speak for the animals of ONTARIO?

This organization, which says styles itself the EXPERT on animal care, animal husbandry and animal welfare in the province of Ontario had as a directive to its employees instructions like:
For example, people are to "Walk through all rooms and ensure all dogs are ok ... .,

 OK? What in the name of GOD is OK? As in alive (possibly an important directive as the OSPCA is so keen to kill). Clean? Unstressed? Talk about vague and this from an organization which MAKES the directives and rules!

Kate the BITCH Macdonald and her minions lied outright in many of their dealings with the Toronto Humane Society last year. They lied about the “virulent ringworm” outbreak. There has been lie after lie to owners about their beloved pets which were summarily executed without even a chance to say goodbye. The lies are legion yet these people continue to rule.

What is wrong with the McGuinty government that they continue to allow this travesty of an organization to continue under the aegis of individuals who so clearly are liars, cheats and charlatans?

FIX this, McGuinty and FIX IT NOW.

Let our voices be heard at the highlest level of government; come to the Rally this Wednesday, June 22. 



Peaceful Protest at Newmarket OSPCA

WHEN:    THIS Wednesday, June 22, starting at 1400 hrs (2:00 p.m.)

WHEREOutside OSPCA Headquarters, 16586 Woodbine Avenue, Newmarket, ON

See Facebook details here.

An emphasis on the peaceful nature of this protest.  We are there to bear witness to the atrocities committed by the OSPCA and their management.  We are there to show the government and the people of Ontario that we remember.  We are there to be credible and sincere voices AGAINST the continuation of the OSPCA in its present guise under its present leadership.

Be there!! 

you GO Shirley!! Memphis, grow up and FACE your problems!

Shirley at Yes Biscuit has been doing a superlative job of bringing to light the atrocities at Memphis Animal Shelter (albiet "shelter" is a misnomer... more like Memphis Torture Chamber or Memphis Kill Room).  Two years ago, this instiution STARVED a healthy puppy to death.  This horrific deed promoted the installation of webcams so the public could keep tabs and the hiring of new manager - Matthew Pepper.

Astonishingly, as anyone who follows Biscuit can see (to their horror), being in camera seems to have had NO effect on the sitaution whatsoever.  MAS admits to a 70% kill rate with little to no effort going into creating a kinder and more hopeful environment for Memphis animals.  Shirley captures frame after frame of animals being dragged to the kill room, dogs being stuffed into TINY cages, cats being poked with prodded and puppies dumped into a garbage can, hauled straight to be killed.

It has astonished and perplexed me for many months now how the Memphis public stands by and watches this - how the City government continues to laude director Pepper and councillor after councillor shrugs and somehow DOESN'T see a problem.

Shirley began a "chip-in" account to provide rescue and care to animals who never see the light of day and are hidden from the public and offered no chance of adoption. 

In response, she received a pathetically couched piece of crap which threatens her with "legal action" based on an obscure piece of legislation that some law student probably spent days searching through archives for.  See Shirley's blog on it here.

KC Dog Blog covers it here.

Pet Connecton here.

Then Raised by Wolves and Smartdog weigh in here and here.

So rather than try to fix what is clearly a very broken system, they would rather waste money on threatening an individual who offers her time, money and effort to help some of the animals so summarily dismissed in Memphis Animal Shelter. 

Pathetic doesn't cover it.

Stand up and be counted Memphis citizens. The world is watching.  Your city is being portrayed in a supremely negative light - so where are you?

This is all too reminiscent of our own issues here with the OSPCA.

That organization too is politically shielded, tacitly and overtly supported despite horrendous and incontrovertible contraventions of law and morality and their upper echelon of management is also lauded .  Lies and omissions, immoral and outrageous - some major fixin needs doing in these organizations.

So let them hear our voices.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's not the end... it's the BEGINNING

Biscuit gave an equally erudite overview on Fred's blog here.

The line wound from the front lobby, up the stairs and slid sinuously around, looping back upon itself as an unprecedented number of members turned out for last night’s Annual General Meeting at the Toronto Humane Society. Perhaps most striking were the number of young faces in the crowd – an encouraging sign of renewed interest in this venerable institution. There was also a respectable contingent of long-term donors, individuals who have unstintingly supported the THS through thick and thin for more years than I can count and provide the solid foundation of membership needed to keep this a viable and growing refuge for animals.

Overall, with a few exceptions, the meeting was far more professional and civil than I anticipated – a welcome relief. The numerous articles in the various media adequately cover the bare bones, I intend to make just a few salient points, garnered from various Board members through the evening and from the Strategic Plan provided by Board admin:

  • Wildlife Rehabilitation:  January 2012, THS is hoping to be reinstated by the Ministry of National Resources as a place certified to deal with wildlife (on a limited basis).
  • CVO: The THS has currently passed four out of a needed five inspections by the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (“CVO”) which would give them a 5 year accreditation from that body; Mr. Downey speculated that they had not received it to date (having anticipated it would have arrived mid-May) due to the uncertainty respecting who would be spearheading the organization up to this point
  • Future Plans: A Strategic Plan has been created which includes future plans for a low cost spay/neuter clinic, reinstallation of the right to take in strays, continued building of ties with rescues and other shelters and reopening the satellite office at Victoria Park
  • Victoria Park Satellite: Hope to reopen in 2012
  • Animal Investigations: Regain right to investigate animal investigations throughout GTA.
President Michael Downey exhorted all members to put aside their difference and concentrate on creating a healthy, viable THS. He pointed out that the dissonance and sniping “rattles the financial foundation of the animals that we are collectively trying to help.” Downey spearheaded a competent and professional team as the meeting moved forward. He provided figures and answers in response to the storm of accusations and insinuations which have been bandied about in the flurry of action leading up to the AGM.

Most notable at the start, was Mr. Downey’s report on the proxies submitted prior to last night: out of 704 valid proxies (there were a small number that were disallowed due, he indicated, primarily to individuals not signing them), 183 were Trow’s and the balance (504) were the current Board’s. To many who have worked tirelessly to reanimate the THS which teetered on the edge of dissolution for a while last year after the disastrous and horrific OSPCA raid last Spring, this was a welcome and hopeful signal that the current direction was being received positively. Interim CEO Christopher Barry gave a dry, but succinct report on the direction he feels the THS has been taking and why. He also lauded the efforts of the numerous committees and time and commitment from staff and volunteers.

After standard votes on passing meeting minutes, a concise auditor’s report and similar AGM business, the real reason most of us were there, arrived.

Candidates were grouped in contingents of 6 and listed alphabetically. Out of 18 candidates, one (Andrew Balodis) was ill but a speech from him was read out, several did not attend. The following are my own take on the ones who did talk:

Daniel Belanger: Daniel, who is a no-kill advocate based on Winograd’s equation (as outlined in Winograd’s book, Redemption) gave a passionate argument for making the THS into a shelter that reflects those values.

David Bronskill: Board-sanctioned candidate David Bronskill offered a balance of professional experience and what seemed genuine care for animals (he has 6 himself). While his election (with which I concur) brings the number of lawyers/legal persons on the Board to a curious high, my initial impression was that his slick presentation offered some possibilities and good ideas. Jury is out but cautiously hopeful on this.

Lisa Gibbens: This is where I digress from other reports – in that I thought her presentation unprofessional and at times, vindictive. Her comment “"They haven't been in the building since they were led away in handcuffs." was ill-advised, gratuitous and contemptible. It had no bearing on what she brings to the table as a candidate. {Note: it was this remark that agitated a member (the one with long blonde/gray hair quoted in some news stories) and resulted in his continued agitation and subsequent departure from the building escorted by police officers. His reaction was also out of line but so was her remark}.[Thanks to Anonymous - this gentlement was NOT escorted out as I had been told.]

Brenda Grant: From my perspective, Brenda had a sincere, well thought out presentation with solid animal experience to back her up. I think she would have made a terrific and solid Board member.

Bob Hambley: This was probably the most agitated candidate; Bob forcibly expressed his disgust with the manner in which the THS is being managed and yelled at members of the audience who disagreed. My biggest issue with his address is his description of Toronto Animal Services as a “killing machine”. He also asserted the THS routinely handed over animals to be “murdered” – which is simply not true. Further, I know from my own research, TAS while not perfect, has made HUGE positive changes and has an increasingly close and positive relationship with THS wherein they figure out which animals would thrive in which environment.

Carol Hroncek: Carol, although somewhat nervous, acquitted herself well.

Margaret Ann Johnson: My own impression of Ms. Johnson was her address was somewhat rambling and disjointed. Through justifiably proud of her history (going back to her own mother) in animal welfare – I found her focus was somewhat uncertain and her points unsubstantiated and unclear.

Dean Maher: Dean gave a passionate if somewhat “off-the-cuff” speech which was backed up by his current efforts at City Hall to ban the sale of dogs and cats at pet store. Someone to keep an eye on for future elections.

Tony Marner: Tony, who presents himself as a “long-time” dog walker (which many long-term dog walkers I know would dispute), trotted out the same tired “truths” and accusations that other Trow slate members spouted. As I already dealt with his assertions in a former blog, will leave it there.

Ian McConachie: Same old, same old – remarkably similar remarks from many of the Trow slate.

Crystal Tomusiak: To my mind, Crystal gave the best speech of the evening. Taking the high road, she refrained from Trow bashing and gave a passionate and honest talk about the direction she envisions the THS to take. Backed up with some real research, Crystal’s talk struck a chord with most of the audience.

Tim Trow: Tim appeared fragile and somewhat nervous. There was a part of me that felt bad for him (how the mighty are fallen). His plea for the “animals that aren’t here” struck a chord (and has an element of truth to it), which was undermined by his promise to bring back the “right” to take in strays and wildlife. The reality is that these privileges were lost under his aegis due to mismanagement and a gross dereliction of duty and an indisputable betrayal of the animals he purported to “save”. My own feeling about Tim is that his vision is quite wonderful (which I’ve asserted before) but ego, a hoarder mentality and a determined and stubborn refusal to see realities end up derailing any possibility of bringing that vision to fruition.

Thomas G. Ungar: Mr. Ungar, who served on the Board for the past year, presented a decent argument for re-election, but to no avail.

Ken Wood: Mr. Wood was a pleasant, quirky surprise to me as I went in ambivalent about his candidacy, knowing nothing about him. But he has the type of fanaticism I can live with so found him quite charming and sincere. If he can bring the same determination to animal welfare as he does to his defence of trees, we have a good Board member there. [UPDATE: Re: Anonymous below - didn't realize he said that at the end - we on the patio missed a bit and while some could be heard clearly, others not so much - thanks for that - I think it might have changed my mind too]

Needless to say, these are my opinion only on the speeches and based on the response from the audience, not everyone was in agreement. I will say I was disgusted by the occasional lapse in civility – a democratic process must allow for ALL viewpoints to be considered. Heckling and name-calling were unprofessional and ultimately, detracted from the validity of the proceedings.

Finally, during a Question and Answer session, one individual (unfortunately didn't catch her name) brought up a valid point respecting voting.  There was some confusion as there were individuals who had tendered proxies who then turned up - and were entitled to vote on various motions (if not on the candidates).  This individual pointed out that in the confusion it was entirely possible that someone could have voted TWICE on candidates.  She tendered a motion to look carefully at the voting protocol and fix this potentially problematic form of procedure.

Finally, as a member of the THS, a very BIG thank you to the Scrutineers Wendy Lopez, J.D.  and Grant Bowers, LLB who generously donated their time and considerable expertise to scrutinize the AGM, thus saving (as CEO Barry indicated) upwards of $10,000 of donor money which can now be used for the animals.