The Toronto Humane Society was back in business Monday — and begging for donations.
Seven months after it was raided by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and its senior officials charged with animal cruelty, the River St. shelter announced it is now once again accepting surrendered pets and adopting out animals.
New THS president Michael Downey told reporters, staff and volunteers at the announcement that donations are way down.
“It should come as no surprise that during these turbulent times many long-serving donors took a wait-and-see approach and curtailed their generous support,” Downey said Monday. “Halfway through the year, our donations are down 55% versus this time last year.
“Many of you took a wait-and-see approach to your historical giving at the Toronto Humane Society,” he said. “You wanted wholesale change at the board level and you now have it.”
When asked how they’ll avoid turning back into the old THS, Downey said “it’s all about transparency and good corporate governance.
“It’s also learning from the mistakes…and our board is committed to making sure this is a very transparent and professional organization,” he said.
The shelter officially closed to the public on April 11, when the last of the animals inside before the raid were adopted out.
So far the shelter has 35 cats, one dog and one rabbit waiting to be adopted.
Downey vowed the shelter with its new board of directors will be “compassionate” and “transparent in how we do business and how it cares for the animals under our roof.”
Toronto Centre MPP Glenn Murray brought along his dog Cardiff for the opening.
“She was found in a farmer’s field staked to the ground and unconscious,” Murray said.
Murray thanked the board for reopening the shelter and “bringing 60 jobs back to Toronto.”
THS volunteer Bev Bonsell was holding Floyd, a two-year-old cat, waiting to be adopted. It was Bonsell’s first time back since the shelter closed to the public.
“I think things are going to run a lot better now,” she said.
Clarence Rothman made the first adoption from the reopened shelter. Rothman adopted Genevieve, a one-year-old cat, that came to the shelter last August and has been in foster care.
THS senior communicator Ian McConachie said there are some visible changes inside the shelter, including larger cages for cats, but many of the changes are invisible.
“We have new protocols and procedures in place that will help us better serve the animals going forward,” he said.
*Taken from the Toronto Sun