Anticorruptionnz's Blog

20/10/2010

RNZSPCA same issues different country

Filed under: Uncategorized — anticorruptionnz @ 1:25 pm

Animal Advocates, British Columbia

We, Animal Advocates of British Columbia, figured out why there is so little concern for animal welfare, and protection from cruelty for animals in BC. This led us to the reform of the BC SPCA, for which we are being sued. http://www.animaladvocates.com/about/history.php

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to see the work which  Judy does visit

http://www.youtube.com/user/AnimalAdvocates#p/f

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details of the charges which were withdrawn against the Toronto Humane Society

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Dear Judy,

Thank you for your email in support of the campaign for accountability, transparency and governmental oversight of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.   Problems with the Ontario SPCA appear to be similar to what you are experiencing with the British Columbia SPCA.  Indeed, Ontario and BC SPCA’s have a long history of exchanging staff.

In Ontario, a motion calling for governmental oversight of the OSPCA was recently tabled by PC MPP Frank Klees.  Both the provincial PC caucus and several NDP MPPs have publicly endorsed the motion.

FYI, the following is a broad overview of the components of our advocacy campaign.

Ontario web designer Doug Brown.  A man touched by the May 2010 goings on at the Newmarket SPCA, he built the www.ospcatruth.com website independently.  Doug’s  approach is measured and lawful.

Gord Macey ably administers a 40,000 member FaceBook page entitled  “Stop the Slaughter of over 350 animals at the Newmarket OSPCA!!!”   A independent, passionate, multifaceted group with the skills and tenacity needed to understand and reform this flawed SPCA system/model.

We have been inadvertently blessed by major faux pas on the part of the OSPCA, the timing of which has been very much in our favour.

  • The OSPCA’s 2009 investigation of their largest and most troublesome affiliate, the Toronto Humane Society, culminated in the withdrawal, by the Crown Attorney, of ALL  animal cruelty charges laid by the OSPCA against THS management and directors.   The Crown Attorney publicly, scathingly cited multiple, serious charter violations.  As this was arguably the OSPCA’s most significant investigation ever, and as such, it would have been in the hands of management and senior staff, let the Crown Attorney’s statement be a clear indicator that investigative and enforcement powers of any kind, let alone the right to warrantless entry, do not belong in the hands of this organization.
  • The emptying of and subsequent shut down of the THS on April 11, 2010 following weeks of highly publicised legal skirmishes between the two parties, served only to highlight how utterly dysfunctional Ontario’s animal welfare system really is.  The THS “re-structured”, re-opening with fanfare in June of 2010.  Both the public and the media appeared to take these OSPCA/THS theatrics in stride.
  • On May 11, 2010 the OSPCA confirmed they too would empty their shelter and shut down; citing the need to eradicate a stubborn, exceptionally virulent strain of ringworm which allegedly posed a grave danger even to the surrounding community.  All animals in the building would be euthanized.  In the face of unprecedented public and media outrage, the OSPCA stopped the killing, but not before 102 animals lay dead.  Ironically, testing revealed none of the saved animals were infected with ringworm.  The OSPCA has not seen fit to release information in support of their “ringworm” claims.  They confirm only that the Newmarket shelter remains contaminated and closed until January 2011.  We have noted though, that the organization has begun distancing itself publicly from statements they originally made about the severity of the strain of ringworm.  In the meanwhile, the OSPCA, like the THS, is  busily “re-structuring.      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnocTP8X5po
  • An Ontario Veterinary Medical Association’s http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/November2009/03/c5228.html press release directly linked the practice of importing and selling “Katrina/hurricane puppies” by OSPCA affiliates and animal shelters over the years, to a tenfold increase in heartworm in south western Ontario. Puppies housed in stacked crates were sold by OSPCA affiliates; at times out of transport trucks in mall parking lots.  Press releases confirm sales often occurred within hours of arrival without veterinary examinations.  Ontario dogs were being euthanized while this was going on.
  • Multiple locations in the OSPCA’s province wide network of affiliates and branches recently exhibited examples of utterly dysfunctional governance.  Resigning boards. Ousted boards.  Allegations of misspending. Boards suing and being sued.  Boards attempting to strip members of voting rights.  Directors and management charged with animal cruelty.  Multiple provincial directors earning income working for the very organization whose enforcement activities they’ve been elected to oversee, in blatant violation of Charity Law.

The OSPCA’s head office, the infamous Newmarket “ringworm” shelter,  is located in the riding of a seasoned Progressive Conservative MPP who mobilized every resource at his disposal in the wake of the events of May 11, 2010.  Ontario advocates are truly grateful for the support of MPP Frank Klees and the PC party of Ontario.

Nearly 2,000 legislative petitions covering 101 provincial ridings have been hand delivered and receipted at Queen’s Park.   MPPs are strongly encouraged to represent their constituents by publicly reading at least one petition each.   No Liberal MPP has yet stepped forward to publicly endorse governmental oversight of the Ontario SPCA. Frustrated constituents remind the Liberal Party  – the October 6, 2011 provincial election is just around the corner.

A cabinet shuffle occurred recently.  The new Minister (perhaps inadvertently) revealed the government’s position…. the OSPCA follows a universally accepted model, in use without incident internationally, we therefore see no need for change.  The litany of accusations against the OSPCA and cries for accountability repeatedly heard during province wide Committee Hearings for Bill 50 in July 2008 must have fallen on deaf ears.  Residents of England, Australia, New Zealand, British Columbia, Manitoba and the US  are invited to share with Minister Bradley how well the SPCA is working in their neck of the woods.  Ontarians are also welcome to email the Minister.   jbradley.mpp@liberal.ola.org .  Frankly, the “SPCA model” isn’t working well at all in Canada or internationally.  Animal welfare and enforcement does not belong in the hands of self-administered, self-funded charities.

Faithful protesters represent the cornerstone of our advocacy efforts.  They’ve kept vigil for months holding up their homemade signs on a lonely, windswept stretch of Woodbine Avenue in front of the Newmarket OSPCA.    Although increasingly intimidated by the bullyboy tactics of OSPCA (defamatory press releases, being filmed and followed by security guards), these dedicated women kept the issue of governmental oversight of the OSPCA front and centre.  No doubt, without them, the slaughter of 350 animals by the OSPCA would simply have just gone ahead.

The Ontario Landowners, a powerful provincial advocacy group with approximately 15,000 pre-dominantly rural members, is very aware of, and perturbed by, the OSPCA’s antics.  A 2008 policy statement, drafted in the wake of repeated calls for help from animal owners targeted by inexperienced, overzealous OSPCA inspectors and volunteer agents reads as follows:  “The responsibility for the care of animals rests with the owners. When owners demonstrably fail in their responsibility, it is in the public interest to ensure animal welfare. Public authorities must accept all resulting responsibilities for both their enforcement activities and animals in their care.” The Landowners are renowned for travelling province wide in support of animal owners during OSPCA raids, Animal Care Review Board hearings and court cases.

I mustn’t forget the stalwart victims of the OSPCA and the many animals who have been killed by the OSPCA over the years. Both truly have paid the ultimate price for the flawed legislation that is Ontario’s SPCA Act.

In 1989 Ontario Federation of Agriculture President Brigid Pyke formally lobbied the province to have police powers removed from the OSPCA.  In 2006 twenty nine OSPCA directors resigned, among them the Chair and the Treasurer.  A letter was sent to Premier McGuinty, signed by eight directors, demanding police powers be removed from the organization.  Requests of this magnitude can only be the direct result of systemic, entrenched abuse of police powers by an organization.

The province obviously reacted differently, responding in 2008 with the passage of Bill 50 granting the OSPCA extraordinary new powers including the right to warrantless entry.  For good measure, the OSPCA also received a one time provincial grant of $5 million and a federal grant of $1.8 million among others.

Ontario families, farmers, animal businesses and animal lovers are outraged.  They have silently and patiently suffered the indignities and lawlessness that only a private police force operating entirely without governmental oversight dares to so brazenly inflict.  Families have become outcasts in their communities in the wake of sensationalist, opportunistic press releases seeking  donations, glory and publicity for the OSPCA.  Repeated harassment by the OSPCA even resulted in a distraught Massey Ontario farmer attempting suicide in the presence of the OSPCA.

Sadly Judy, your advocacy campaign for accountability and transparency of the British Columbia SPCA resulted in you being sued by the BC SPCA.

Even more disappointing, frightening even, is the BC government’s lack of response in the wake of your evidence.  http://www.animaladvocates.com/lawsuit/

It would appear then, that our achievements here will be of great import not only to the people and animals of Ontario, but also across Canada and internationally.

Sincerely,

Sunny  Reuter

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