Thursday, August 19, 2010

Motion For Oversight Of OSPCA Gets ‘Unanimous’ Support

A resolution calling for stronger oversight of the OSPCA, the charity that enforces animal-welfare laws in the province, gained steam Wednesday in the form of a “unanimous” endorsement by the Progressive Conservative caucus.
The backing of the motion, first proposed by Tory MPP Frank Klees in May, comes two days after prosecutors cited mistakes in an OSPCA investigation in deciding to withdraw animal-abuse charges against the Toronto Humane Society.
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals both enforces the province’s animal-cruelty laws and operates a shelter of its own. Critics say this is a conflict of interest in light of the THS investigation and an OSPCA decision to euthanize nearly 100 animals during a ringworm outbreak at its Newmarket shelter last spring.
Mr. Klees argues that an organization with quasi-policing powers should have standards of training and accountability like a public institution, and should be funded by the government.
Cheri DiNovo, New Democratic MPP for Parkdale-High Park, supports the motion. She called on the government to review the handling of the investigation into the THS because of prosecutors assertions that the OSPCA committed numerous Charter breaches.
A ministry spokesman, however, said there are no plans to probe the OSPCA’s investigation or change the legislation.
“The OSPCA is the investigating agency and decisions about the investigation are made by the OSPCA. The ministry doesn’t interfere,” said Tony Brown of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
The OSPCA’s leadership could not be reached for comment. However, the organization’s chair, Rob Godfrey, said earlier this week that decisions on the OSPCA’s enforcement duties should be left up to the government. “I’ve always said it’s not for me to say if the powers should change,” he said.
There is no firm date for the legislature to debate Mr. Klees’s motion, but it could come before MPPs as early as this fall.
*From the Globe And Mail