Tuesday, February 8, 2011

OSPCA Responds To Canadian Horse Defence Coalition's Claim That The OSPCA Is Responsible For Horse's Death

For the second time in recent months, the OSPCA has come under fire by the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition for failing to act on complaints of animal abuse. Unfortunately, the latest occurrence ended tragically with the death of a horse, Cocoa. According to the article published on the CHDC's website (be advised that some pictures on the site may not be for sensitive readers), two mares were held in horrific living conditions, and local residents' complaints were not acted upon. In addition the CHDC claim that after Cocoa passed away, his lifeless body remained on the property for seven weeks. Finally, through the help of local residents and a horse rescuer, the second horse, Gem, was removed from the location.

In response to the allegations, OSPCA Chief Inspector Connie Mallory has issued the following statement. :

"The Ontario SPCA has received numerous concerns about an unreliable blog article profiling two horses “Cocoa” and “Gem”. As these horses were housed in London, Ontario, the Ontario SPCA reached out to the London Humane Society, who is in charge of responding to animal cruelty complaints in that region and was provided with the facts of the situation.
This is not the first time this blogger has provided inaccurate information and photos to the public. If you have evidence of animal cruelty, be sure to report it immediately.
The Ontario SPCA is concerned because as graphic and horrific as these images are, they cannot be submitted as evidence in a court of law because they are neither dated nor do they make any reference to where the images were taken.
The Ontario SPCA reminds the public that if you have evidence of animal cruelty, be sure to report it immediately. We are then able to respond appropriately and in a timely manner. In your report provide as many details as possible, including the type of cruelty witnessed, the date of the incident, where it took place, and who was involved. All information remains confidential."

In addition, the OSPCA addresses particular concerns raised in the blog article : 

Below is a step-by-step de-construction of the said blog, endeavouring to set the record straight and provide accurate information pertaining to the situation of the horses, “Cocoa” and “Gem”.
Ontario SPCA answers in grey.

§  The neighbours that tried to help first noticed that things were going very wrong in November 2010.”
o   The first call regarding this complaint was received by the London Humane Society on December 9, 2010. Agents attended the site that same day.

§  “Because of their concern for Gem and Cocoa the neighbours began making calls to the London Humane Society (LHS) on December 5th.”
o   Inaccurate.  The first complaint was received on December 9, 2010; the complainant stated that they were concerned for a skinny horse they had been monitoring throughout November, 2010.  The London Humane Society has NO records of any calls made before December 9, 2010.

§  “Tragically, Cocoa froze to death in the snowstorm that night in the same spot she had laid for days.  They called and left more messages, never once getting someone live on the phone at the London Humane Society.”
o   Inaccurate.  There are no records of any calls made before December 9, 2010.

§  “Finally after nine days, the London Humane Society responded on December 14, 2010.”
o   Inaccurate. The London Humane Society responded on December 9th, 2010.

§  “They said that they could do nothing about the dead horse but said they would take the other horse to foster care at another farm, to keep feeding Gem over the fence and they would inform them when to stop feeding.”
o   Fact:  Neither the London Humane Society or the Ontario SPCA have jurisdiction over deceased animals and their removal. This Act is monitored by the Ministry of Environment. 
o   Inaccurate.   The neighbours were not asked to continue to feed the remaining horse.

The horse’s owner gave the following details:
  “*no orders were issued to provide food or water (the only source of water was a completely frozen water trough, pictured here).”
o   Fact:  Animals must have access to water at all times; however, in the winter there is some expectation that the water will freeze. This was not the case during the London Humane Society’s visits to the farm. 

  “*no orders were issued to have the dead horse removed (Cocoa’s body had lain there for 7 weeks).”
o   Fact:  Only the Ministry of Environment has jurisdiction in this situation.

  “*no orders were issued to have Gem’s hooves trimmed.”
o   Fact:  The concern for the horse’s hooves did not become an issue until December 30, 2010. The horse was removed from the property on January 1, 2011.

  “*no orders were given to address the hair loss on Gem’s face or to have a vet check her.”
o   Fact:  The fur loss concerns on Gem’s face are being addressed.

  *nothing was mentioned about the very thin dogs left outside 24/7 with no food or water and one duck locked in a cage with no fresh water.”
o   Fact:  The dogs were never part of the initial concern and have only been brought up since the horses were removed.

  “The only instructions given were for the neighbours to keep feeding the remaining horse and to keep monitoring the situation.  No orders for the owner of the animals – only for the neighbours trying to help!”
o   Inaccurate.   The neighbours were not “ordered” to continue feeding the remaining horse.

  A small group of Gem’s fans pooled together and now she is in a brand new roomy box stall with straw up to her knees, good quality hay and fresh water.  She is finally showing signs of renewed life, after an aggressive deworming program, good hay, grain, shelter and rest.”
o   Fact:  The blogger never mentions a veterinarian examining the horse and what the subsequent findings were. It is a veterinarian who properly documents the medical findings that demonstrate whether an animal is in distress; and it is a veterinarian’s report which becomes the basis of animal cruelty charges being laid.

As I have discussed in a recent post, this is yet another example of citizens getting away with animal abuse. While the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition and the OSPCA will undoubtedly continue to point fingers, the question must be asked, "Why have charges not been laid against the individual who kept these horses in such horrible conditions in the first place?" In addition, why have charges not been laid against the owner of Appalachian Chief (the OSPCA's response to this matter can be found in the comment section of the post), a horse who suffered similar treatment a few months ago?

As always, feel free to comment below & share your thoughts.