Friday, October 8, 2010

OSPCA Debate Continues

OSPCA fallout. Back in May more than 100 animals were culled at the Newmarket office OSPCA. Protesters came out every day to show their annoyance at what was happening. File Photo

Klees retables motion to examine authority's powers

The long debate over OSPCA law reform continues to push forward. Newmarket-Aurora MPP Frank Klees has re-tabled his motion for the provincial government to review the powers and authority of the OSPCA.

“(Ontario SPCA) agents are endowed with police powers and are authorized to lay criminal charges,” he said. “But they receive less training than shopping centre security guards. That’s unacceptable.” The animal agency is an arm’s length organization of the Community Safety and Correctional Services Ministry, but Mr. Klees wants the newly appointed minister Jim Bradley to support a resolution calling for the shelter’s powers to be reigned in and under government scrutiny. After a ringworm outbreak that resulted in 102 animal euthanizations at the York Region SPCA branch in May, Mr. Klees called on former minister Rick Bartolucci to intervene. Since then, thousands have signed petitions in support of the resolution, which are being sent to different ridings throughout the province, Mr. Klees said.  There have also been numerous complaints against the organization, ranging from gross mismanagement, incompetency and abuse of power, Mr. Klees added.

“I want residents to know, this issue is very much alive,” he said. “It’s not going away. We’re hoping this government will act. But if this government chooses to ignore it, it’s on our agenda and action will be taken.”

The shelter is still undergoing cleaning and decontamination procedures.  It is expected the shelter will re-open in about three months, shelter spokesperson Alison Cross said. “We are not rushing to open,” she said in an e-mail. “The Ontario SPCA is as eager as everyone to have the facility open and serving the community. We are restructuring and aren’t commenting beyond that at this time.” Mr. Klees’ resolution will be debated in the legislature Nov. 18.



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