Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One Reader's Take On The OSPCA Situation - Feel Free To Comment

YOU are a member of the Ontario Legislature, an elected representative of the people of Ontario. As such you recently received (hand delivered to Queen’s Park) legislative petitions from your constituents in support of governmental oversight of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

On November 18th a motion will be tabled. We expect you to support it. It is a non-partisan motion in support of governmental oversight of the OSPCA. It directly affects the safety and well-being of every person and animal across this province.

The OSPCA is a self administered charity, a self funded police force. OSPCA inspectors and volunteer agents have police powers the OPP can only dream of - the right to warrantless entry. THIS IS IN DIRECT VIOLATION OF MY CHARTER RIGHTS.
The OSPCA received 15.5 million in public donations in 2009 plus another 5 million from government. The OSPCA is not subject to Freedom of Information.

Attached is a recent statement by Toronto’s Crown attorney in the wake of the OSPCA’s investigation of the Toronto Humane Society, their largest affiliate and direct competitor. OSPCA senior staff and executives oversaw and conducted the THS investigation, which was arguably the most important in the history of the OSPCA.

If this is how the OSPCA’s finest conduct themselves WITH all of Toronto watching, you can only imagine what rural people and animals are subjected to by the OSPCA.

The people of Ontario have had enough. We are tired of being terrified of the OSPCA. We are tired of them abusing and killing our animals. We are tired of watching them seize healthy animals only to offer them back to the owners in exchange for money. We are tired of the lies and the grandstanding. We are tired of the secrecy and the lawlessness. We’re tired of the belligerence and the lack of training and internal oversight. We are tired of the expensive, inane courtroom battles. The antics of this private, powerful, self-funded provincial police force have gone unchecked for far too long. We demand governmental oversight of the OSPCA before someone gets hurt. Tensions are at an all time high. A farmer in Massey Ontario recently attempted suicide during an OSPCA raid - driven to do so by their bullying and threats. This family’s animals were taken. They have never been charged with animal cruelty. The Hervieux family is suing the OSPCA.  
There is currently a Statement of Claim against the OSPCA by the Belair family. Inspector (Lynn Michaud) is the Timmins and District Humane Society manager, an OSPCA enforcement agent and also a member of the provincial board. She wears three hats. What a total conflict of interest.

Legislation grants the OSPCA extraordinary enforcement powers yet exempts it from oversight, transparency or accountability. That these powers were considered let alone granted after twenty nine OSPCA directors resigned; eight of them begging Premier McGuinty to strip the OSPCA of police powers is shocking.

The province of Ontario has no power over the OSPCA. The Honourable Dwight Duncan, former Minister Bartolucci and Minister Bradley openly admitted this in the Legislature following the events of May 11, 2010.

On that date, the OSPCA confirmed all 350 animals in its Newmarket shelter would be killed. They cited an exceptionally virulent, aggressive, never before seen strain of ringworm. Public outrage ensued and the killing stopped, but not before 102 animals lay dead. Unbelievably, the OSPCA admitted none of the remaining animals tested positive for ringworm. Yet, they would have been slaughtered if the public had not stepped up. The Newmarket “ringworm shelter” remains closed to the public, contaminated and under investigation to this day. Is anyone checking on this, or are you all content to let the OSPCA continue to do as it sees fit?

The following excerpt is from a 2003 ruling naming Tanya Firmage, currently the provincial director of Animal Care, overseer of OSPCA shelters province wide. (see attached)

“As to the seriousness of the breach, I find that this was a breach that was quite serious. The inviolability of an individual's home from improper searches by agents of the state is one of the oldest principles of our law dating back to the Magna Carta. It is a principle that has been reinforced and re-emphasized repeatedly in recent years by the Supreme Court of Canada. A breach of the right to be secure from an unreasonable search of a home is a breach of the highest order.
This is not a technical breach of small importance. If the full facts as to the date of the informant's information were before the Justice of the Peace she could not possibly issue a warrant. The breach then is neither minimal nor technical. I do not hold an inspector for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to the same high standard for search warrant drafting as I would a peace officer. If I did, I would find that the inadequacies of the information in Appendix A are so many and so obvious that only bad faith could explain them.” (R vs Burns Massey JUSTICE P. GRIFFITHS on APRIL 22, 2003, BROCKVILLE, Ontario)

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services is committed to ensuring that Ontario's communities are supported and protected by law enforcement and public safety systems that are safe, secure, effective, efficient and accountable. That is clearly not the case with the OSPCA.

We therefore ask that you publicly read a petition in support of governmental oversight of the OSPCA.

The people of Ontario will be heard on this matter.


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