Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Guidelines At The THS

The “new” Toronto Humane Society (THS) has been re-opened for a month now, and a significant change is it will be more selective than in the past.
With a new president and board of directors, the THS acknowledges it sought advice and adopted recommendations from the University of California — which has some uneasy about the future.
With some 123 years of experience, the THS is well versed in humane animal care.
At the time of the celebrated “raid” by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (OSPCA) to Animals on the THS shelter — with media alerted in advance to photograph the principals being escorted from the facility in handcuffs — up to 1,200 animals were housed there.
The “new” THS supposedly will accommodate 250 to 300 animals maximum and, according to its website, will only admit animals by appointment, and charge $50.
It will not take in stray dogs or cats, and can refuse to accept some animals. It will take two hours of paperwork, etc., to surrender a dog, and one hour to surrender a cat. So says their website.
Rejects can go to Toronto Animal Services, which is an animal-control agency — basically the pound, whose its prime role is to kill unwanted animals.
Little of this sounds like the Humane Society started in 1887 by 22-year-old Toronto newspaper reporter John Kelso, with a $2 donation aimed at protecting children and animals.
On its website, the THS describes it function as “dedicated to providing compassionate care, shelter, adoptions to caring homes and a voice for abandoned, abused and injured companion animals.” No mention of “by appointment only” in this mission statement, or of two hour checks and medicals and forms to fill to ensure the animal is healthy — otherwise, off to the TAS for disposal.
No mention by Kelso or his successors that “strays” are not welcome at the THS.
At the moment, the THS does not seem to be operating as a refuge to the sick and homeless, but as a private shelter that picks and chooses.
There may have been a lot of things wrong with the “old” THS, but no animal was ever refused admission, turned away, or sent to another facility for “disposal.”
On the contrary. The THS was criticized for being overly concerned about animals in other jurisdictions, even helping with injured animals elsewhere.
One of the OSPCA’s complaints against the THS was it wasn’t killing enough animals (7% and not the average 50%), hence the raid and charges that it was keeping injured or sick animals alive and suffering instead of killing them.
The “new” THS will apparently be selective in kittens it accepts, which is perhaps understandable, considering that previously the THS had too many cats, and crews of volunteers were recruited to feed very young kittens. No longer.
Kittens under three weeks will not be accepted, as their death rate is around 30% no matter what.
None of this is meant as hostility to the THS. Anyone concerned for animals has got to support the shelter and hope it succeeds. But the stray animals of Toronto are a worry — as they were for John Kelso in 1886.
One hopes someday the welfare of all animals will be a concern to the “new” THS, as they were for the “old” THS.

*Taken from the Toronto Sun