A long-awaited report into a severe ringworm outbreak at the Newmarket OSPCA shelter a year ago reached a surprising conclusion: There was no ringworm outbreak.
Not only that, but after months of public criticism stemming from the shelter’s much-publicized decision to euthanize 99 animals last year due to the outbreak, the report found this, too, never happened.
In fact, only 57 animals were euthanized last May, and for a variety of reasons. It is unclear how many of the animals were infected with ringworm, OSPCA chair Rob Godfrey said Friday in announcing the report’s results.
The chain of events appears to be a result of sweeping mismanagement at the Newmarket shelter. “The report states that the events at the Newmarket shelter were due to inadequate policies, procedures, training and record keeping,” Mr. Godfrey said.
More details will be coming in the next days, as there are far too many questions still unanswered :
According to OSPCA Chair Rob Godfrey, "The veterinarian who made the call is no longer at the shelter, nor are any other staff or volunteers who worked there at the time". ***This begs the very important question, "Why are upper management and board members such as Mr. Godfrey, Kate Macdonald, and Tanya Firmage still in control of the OSPCA?"
The report is now up on the OSPCA website. It is over 90 pages. As I go through it, I'll be posting some more findings :
At least three times the need for provincial oversight of the OSPCA is recommended.
Another statement from Mr. Godfrey : "I believe that the Ontario SPCA board and management has a track record of acting on recommendations and I firmly believe that great organizations rise in times of trouble..." - The current board's "track record" demonstrates poorly trained staff, volunteers, and enforcement officers. In addition, the same "track record" is filled with immeasurable abuses of power and lies to the public. Quite simply, it is too little and to late for Mr. Godfrey to be extolling the current OSPCA board and management. It was under HIS WATCH that these animals were needlessly killed.
My proposed solution? I've said it time and time again - Start fresh with a NEW OSPCA BOARD AND MANAGEMENT, and ensure that their actions are closely monitored by the provincial government.
The report also recommends that the OSPCA's roles as an animal welfare organization/shelter and animal policing force be separated, as the two roles are in direct conflict with one another. ***Again, this has long been stated by critics and MPPs (in particular MPP Frank Klees, who in November introduced a private members bill in the provincial legislature). Why is the current OSPCA board now suddenly in aggreement with such a recommendation? Time, and ANIMALS' LIVES, could have been saved had they acted sooner.
UPDATE : Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services James Bradley has stated that, "as a result of the findings from the investigation done by Justice Patrick LeSage and Dr. Allan Meek, the government will implement a task force to look into OSPCA and the condition of shelters in Ontario." **Why has the minister waited so long? The need for such oversight was introduced over SIX MONTHS AGO in provincial parliament by MPP Frank Klees, who had THOUSANDS of petitions signed by the citizens of Ontario. Unfortunately, Minister Bradley went with the party line, as the liberals did not want such a resolution to pass. As so many have stated before, when it comes to the welfare of our animals, political agendas should be thrown out the window!
While I am elated at the prospect of such oversight, I am so disappointed that it took so much effort, and so many animals killed, to reach this milestone.