Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some More Great Pumpkin Carvings!

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.

Cesar Millan Coming To Toronto On Monday

Cesar Millan -- the so-called Dog Whisperer -- is probably the most famous canine trainer on the planet, and launches his first Canadian speaking tour in Victoria on Tuesday. There's nothing like getting pet advice from the top dog. Cesar Millan -- the so-called Dog Whisperer -- is probably the most famous canine trainer on the planet, and launches his first Canadian speaking tour in Victoria on Tuesday. Fittingly, for a man boasting rock-star status in the dog-obedience world, Millan presents Cesar Millan Live in a 7,400-seat arena previously host to ZZ Top, Billy Talent and Motley Crue.

Since leaving his native Mexico two decades ago and briefly living on the streets of San Diego (he survived on hotdogs), Milan has become a cultural phenomenon. His TV series on National Geographic Channel, Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, is seen in more than 100 countries. He has co-authored six books, including the just-published Cesar's Rules: Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog. Last year, the New York Times reported Millan -- whose Cesar Millan Inc. sells everything from dog food to pet-training DVDs -- is on his way to becoming a $100-million business. As befitting any pop-culture superstar, he has been lampooned on South Park and Saturday Night Live. Millan, a 41-year-old with salt-and-pepper hair, has glamour appeal, too. His celebrity clients include Oprah Winfrey, Nicolas Cage, Charlize Theron and Scarlett Johansson.
When he phoned recently from his Los Angeles home, I was keen to score free doggie advice from the king of the canines. The problem? Our pug dog, Ollie, has a funny habit. When we take him somewhere in the car and one person leaves the vehicle, he howls and whines. This, despite the fact that other family members are still there to keep him company. "That, to me, says he controls the situation," Millan said immediately. "My question would be: How are the walks? When you take this dog out for a walk, is he next to you or behind you?" "Um ... usually in front," I said. "That means he's the pack leader."

And therein lies the key to the problem. When it comes to dogs, Millan stresses that owners must, at all times, be the pack leader, not the dog. And we must always project "calm, assertive energy" to the animal. Millan typically focuses on the actions of owners as much as on their dogs' behaviour. In Cesar's Rules, he writes: "Like children, dogs are always watching us and learning from our actions and reactions." His training methods recall the British Second World War slogan: "Keep calm and carry on." He said his clients tend to be "very intelligent" and "very emotional." Talking with Millan, one senses that, if dog owners would only be less silly and indulgent, things would go better all around. For Cesar Millan Live, he will talk -- often in a humorous vein -- about common dog problems and his own experiences. Crowd participation is encouraged, although audience members cannot bring pets to the show. He said the first half is about "understanding the psychology behind a dog." He'll also discuss his own uncanny empathy for the species. It was actor Jada Pinkett and her husband Will Smith who tipped Millan on his journey to dog-coaching stardom back in 1994. Impressed with his expertise, they recommended him to showbiz friends. The word spread like a runaway greyhound. One of Millan's clients is Oprah, whose spaniel Sophie was attacking other dogs. To help rehabilitate the animal, he took Sophie for a stroll with six other dogs. Oprah, meanwhile, failed to project calm, assertive energy while observing this exercise. Recalled Millan: "She was very, very scared. This is a woman who is fearless. But when it comes to something so personal (as her dog), this comes out. In the animal world, she's not Oprah. In the animal world, she's the energy she's projecting." When it comes to working with famous Hollywood actors, Millan has no qualms about telling them to get over themselves.
The first thing I say is, 'Your dog doesn't know you're a movie star. You know that, right?'" Being in a position to scold Tinseltown royalty is especially astounding, given Millan's humble origins. He was born in Culiacan, Mexico, to a dirt-poor family. They survived on what they raised: chickens, vegetables, fruit. Millan said that, on the days there was no food, his parents gave them coffee to quell hunger pangs. After crossing the border illegally in 1990, Millan -- then a non-English-speaking 21-year-old -- spent a desperate month living under freeway bridges in San Diego. The homeless formed different "packs;" he avoided those dependent on drugs and alcohol. Millan existed on hotdogs. He could buy two a day for 99 cents. It wasn't so bad. After all, back home in Mexico, hotdogs were a delicacy. "We could only have them ... at Christmas time, or somebody's birthday. In America, I was having hotdogs every day. It was like, 'Whoa, I'm, like, super rich,'" said the Dog Whisperer, laughing quietly.

Canadian appearances include: Victoria Oct. 26; Vancouver Oct. 27 & 28, Nov. 9 & 10; Toronto Nov. 1; Ottawa Nov. 3; Montreal Nov. 4; Edmonton Nov. 6; Calgary Nov. 7; Saskatoon Nov. 13; Winnipeg Nov. 14.

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