Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Press Release From The OSPCA

Suspension THS Foster Care Program - Myths vs. Facts from the Ontario SPCA

A great many things have been posted online since the Ontario SPCA executed a search warrant at the Toronto Humane Society, resulting in seven arrests on a variety of criminal charges ranging from personating a peace officer to animal cruelty, as well as the Board of Directors of the Toronto Humane Society being charged with animal cruelty.

Many unproven and untrue allegations have been posted online, about the Ontario SPCA and its officials. Certainly all of the most sensational allegations have been posted anonymously. These include serious accusations of misconduct that are untrue, but also defamatory.

The Ontario SPCA realizes that people are compassionate about the animals and very concerned due to the nature of the criminal charges. But the facts are that all the animals housed at the Toronto Humane Society are being treated well, getting the care they deserve, and will get adopted into a loving home if at all possible.

There are many more facts of which animal lovers should be aware, especially regarding the Toronto Humane Society foster care program:

Myth:

The Ontario SPCA cancelled the THS foster care program for pets out of spite.

Fact:

As a result of the Ontario SPCA investigation, THS staff requested investigators inspect the animals in their foster care program.

The Ontario SPCA enlisted the help of veterinarians, the animals were inspected, and serious health problems were found with many animals. As a result of these concerns, the fostering program at the THS has been suspended.

Myth:

The Ontario SPCA has no plans to resume the fostering program.

Fact:

First, the THS will eventually be responsible for animal care policy at this facility. The Ontario SPCA is responsible, by court order, for animal care at the THS until the organization is stable and able to provide the appropriate standard of care in a sustainable fashion.

Second, the Ontario SPCA has advised current THS staff to suspend the fostering program until policies, protocols and care standards can be established that will properly protect the health of animals in the fostering program. Pet fostering can only work when the care and health of the animals being placed is assured, and that was not the case with the existing program.

Myth:

The Ontario SPCA intends to euthanize these animals.

Fact:

As a rule, with no exceptions, the only animals that can be humanely euthanized are those suffering from a terminal illness, with no prospect of a decent quality of life, or those animals that pose grave harm to themselves, other animals, and humans.

The Ontario SPCA wants to make sure the animals in the fostering program are healthy, getting the care they deserve, and are in homes that are capable of giving them the care they deserve. The decision to euthanize has been put in the capable hands of those licensed to practice veterinary medicine, in accordance with the regulations of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario.

The existing program lacked the controls and supervision that were necessary to ensure the pets' health and well being first. That is why the program has been suspended.

The animals that were recovered from the foster homes are now getting top quality care, and when possible, they will be available for adoption by a loving family.

Myth:

The Ontario SPCA is doing everything it can to make the THS look bad.

Fact:

The Ontario SPCA took this action on the fostering program, and other initiatives, based on the advice of THS staff that had grave concerns about the way these programs were being managed. The THS complained, the Ontario SPCA listened, looked into the situation, and then took the appropriate actions to make sure that the animals were getting the care they deserved.

Concerning the fostering program, investigators found the following problems:

* Pets were signed out for fostering without the approval of the appropriate THS official.
* There were incomplete records on the number of animals signed out for fostering, and who they were signed out with.
* Some animals intended to be signed out under the fostering program were instead listed as adoptions.
* Many animals signed out for fostering suffered chronic health issues and needed to be regularly re-assessed to ensure that fostering remained the best care option.
* Diabetic cats that required daily blood monitoring and insulin injections were sent out for fostering. The THS included a six-month supply of insulin and other medicine. There was no follow-up scheduled once these foster homes ran out of medical supplies.
* Animals with medical conditions were signed out to foster homes without training specific to the conditions and without ensuring that the foster volunteer had appropriate medical knowledge.
* Two aggressive dogs were signed out under the fostering program to people with no professional training to manage canine behavioural problems.

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