Angry dog-walkers and humane society supporters blasted the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals after six pit bulls were put down on Friday.
During a Sunday afternoon protest at the Toronto Humane Society’s River St. shelter – temporarily operated by the provincial organization – demonstrators said the new administration was “murdering” pit bulls.
“They say they are protecting animals – but they are murderers,” said Rosana Martins, a volunteer who walked several of the dogs that were euthanized.
“There is no mercy. This used to be a no-kill shelter, now it is a high-kill shelter.”
The OSPCA took over the animal care at the shelter last November, accusing THS leaders of allowing animals to live in inhumane conditions so that it could claim low euthanasia rates. The provincial organization charged several THS officials with cruelty to animals and requested a court-appointed receiver take over the THS. The hearing in that case will begin in early April, said THS spokesperson Ian McConachie.
Volunteer Andy Blau said there shelter is a “hot bed” of rumours right now with few answers from either organization and the issue of euthanasia is huge for the volunteers and donors.
“It leaves a great sense of futility for the volunteers to think “I am doing my best to make this animal’s life better but they are just going to kill it tomorrow,” Blau said.
Rosaline Ryan, a spokesperson for the OSPCA said veterinarians for both organizations made the decision to euthanize the dogs.
Ryan said she understands that emotions are running high. “The OSPCA works and deals with animals all the time so we totally understand, despite with another might say. We have feelings too, where the animals are concerned.”
The THS’s McConachie said the shelter has not adopted a “high-kill” philosophy but said a new euthanasia policy is in place that takes into account the future of very aggressive or sick animals.
“We can’t be a sanctuary. We have to be a shelter. We can’t house animals indefinitely.”
McConachie said that when the OSPCA took over animal care in late November, there were 1,100 animals at the shelter.
Since then, he said, 129 animals have been euthanized. Another 793 have been adopted (these figures include animals from the shelter’s Victoria Park location.) There are roughly 300 animals left in the shelters or foster homes. Of the 18 dogs remaining, McConachie said five or six of them are adoptable.
**Taken from the Toronto Star