As some of you may know, I have spent much of the past year fighting for provincial oversight of the OSPCA, an organization that I feel has gone "rogue". If the past year has taught Ontarians anything, it is that in its current form with its current board and management, the OSPCA is simply unable (not to mention seemingly unwilling) to handle animal welfare in this province.
Like many of you, for years I looked upon the OSPCA as an organization that simply tended to adoption needs throughout the province, and one that investigated any allegations of animals in distress. The truth of the matter is, while there was once a time that the OSPCA performed these duties nobly, this is no longer the case.
The OSPCA's decision to try to euthanize all animals in its care in Newmarket last year demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge and/or care on the part of its board members to effectively speak for the animals. Many contend that the OSPCA put such a plan into action simply to make room for a long planned renovation. Others contend that the organization simply did not have the education and/or tools to deal with such an event. Really, in the end, does it even matter? Is this the organization that YOU want determining the welfare of YOUR animals? Let us not forget that for all of the board's contention that the reason for the euthanasia was a "massive" ringworm outbreak, scientific proof determined that this was not the case. I used to donate to the OSPCA, but I can no longer support an organization built on a foundation of lies.
Now let's focus on where things stand today. If the mass euthanasia taught the people of Ontario anything, it's that the OSPCA rules as an ultimate power, one not answerable to the government or Ontario citizens (both of which actually still fund the organization through grants and donations). In addition, with public outcry and publicity came further examples of the power hungry OSPCA. Their raid on the Toronto Humane Society last year alone proved to be illegal in a court of law (with over 40 Charter violations!!). What's even scarier is that more and more cases are being discovered where the OSPCA has acted in a completely illegal manner in pursuing cases against innocent animal owners throughout the province. Perhaps most disgusting was the way in which the OSPCA dealt with the Toronto Humane Society situation in the first place. Even before they had attended to the needs of so many animals they purported to help, one of their first actions was the publicity stunt of uploading a video of a mummified cat found in a trap in the ceiling of the THS to youtube. To this day, I keep searching on youtube for a video of OSPCA staff euthanizing 102 animals in one sitting, though I can only assume such sensationalism does not fit their needs. At least you can remember why we continue to fight by watching this video.
Let's finally examine what I consider to be the final straw (though if recent history has taught us anything, it's that the current OSPCA will undoubtedly make horrible decisions until the board is ousted or the provincial government finally has oversight). This past week, it came to light that the OSPCA board had, in its hands, a copy of an external investigation into the mass euthanasia of last year. Remember, this is a report the board said would be made public as an act of transparency to Ontarians. Well, the board has had the report for some time, yet still refuses to release it. When questioned, the OSPCA released the statement that what they had in their hands was merely a "draft" of the report. The statement has proven to be yet another lie told by the OSPCA, as the law firm that composed the report has made a statement of its own, that the FINALIZED report was sent to the board of the OSPCA.
All of us must be asking ourselves, "How much longer can this go on?" Well, simply put : "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!" It is time for a complete revamping of the board of the OSPCA, and for the provincial government to attend to the matter at hand. To those of you who might use the example of the Toronto Humane Society and its recent turmoil, all I can say is, "Do you really think things can get any worse from where we stand now with the OSPCA?" No matter what the report originally shows, it will undoubtedly be spun to the liking of the OSPCA by board members.
If for some reason you are currently donating to the OSPCA, keep in mind that you are supporting an organization that :
-Has shown time and time again to be misleading to the public for its own benefit
-Consistently solicits donations/grants from the public and government without answering to either one
-Provides what many would consider to be next to no training or supervision for its investigative officers
-Uses many of your donations to settle lawsuits brought against them, rather than to help needy animals
In the long term, it is my hope that the OSPCA can once again prove itself a beacon for animal welfare organizations. In the meantime, it is time for the present board to step down, and for the provincial government to step up.
As always, please consider donating to a local, no kill shelter in your area.