Saturday, June 4, 2011

Reform Advocates For Animal Welfare Founder Lynn Perrier Speaks On The Troubled OSPCA


Once again the OSPCA tries to spin the truth and mislead the public. They are so obvious in their lies and cover up attempts that it would be funny if it were not so tragic.

The results of the investigation into the needless killing of 102 animals at the Newmarket headquarters in May 2010 have been released.  While I am relieved the public finally knows there was no ringworm and understand those animals died for no reason, there is more to this story the public deserves to know about.  Some points in the report need to be clarified.

I do not fault Justice Patrick LeSage or Dr. Alan Meek for anything in their report. They had a difficult job to perform and they were obligated to base their findings on data and information submitted to them by OSPCA. They were not appointed until 3 months after the crime had taken place. Time enough for records to be altered or shredded. They could only conduct their investigation on rudimentary records of which they mention, more than once, were inadequate and sometimes nonexistent.

Let me first address the number of animals killed. To euthanize an animal means to put it down for medical reasons. To kill an animal is to take its life for no reason. OSPCA killed animals.

Initially it was reported OSPCA planned to kill all 350 animals in their facility. That story later changed and in numerous interviews and press releases OSPCA said the number 350 was a miscommunication. They then listed the 102 animals which had been killed and others that were fostered or sent to other clinics.   At no time did they vary from that story.

In this report a year later we see the number 57 with the explanation that because records were inadequate or missing, the previous number was incorrect. Additionally Rob Godfrey,  after going into great detail and explanation about the virulent strain of ringworm being the reason for the killing, now says:   “Those animals (57)  were euthanized for a variety of reasons, including ringworm, though Godfrey could not say how many had the infection”

Really? What exactly were the variety of reasons? This is the first we have heard about this. There is room here for misunderstanding. Although the investigators were only able to find records for 57 animals killed that does not mean only 57 died. They could only find records for 57. What we don’t know is even more horrifying to think about.

OSPCA had their feet to the fire. They knew they had to admit there was no virulent strain of ringworm because we had documented proof. This fraud they perpetrated on the public is unbelievable. Imagine the theatrics we witnessed as workers in hazmat suits lead healthy beautiful animals to their death. How heartless and unconscionable these people are but more than that they are liars and killers who do not care about animals.

After lying over and over about how virulent the strain was, after claiming to bring an expert up from California to support their decision and attest to the epidemic and the necessity for the cull, after Kate MacDonald stated publicly the ringworm was so serious she likened it to H1N1 posing a public health risk. After  Jim Sykes COO publicly said if all 350 animals were not killed they could infect thousands of animals that would subsequently come into the shelter. After Rob Godfrey stated the ringworm was so unique and aggressive no vet in Ontario had ever seen anything like it! And after Tanya Firmage stated firmly there was no chance even one animal was not infected. They now admit there was no ringworm and they “stumbled”

Well Ms MacDonald, Mr. Sykes, Ms Firmage  and Mr. Godfrey you did more than stumble.

You lied and deceived the public and generous people who donate to OSPCA who thought you cared for those precious beings who ended up in a shelter through no fault of their own. They  believed your stories and commercials believing you were taking good care of the animals put in your care.

You took advantage donors generosity while you spent donor money and tax payer dollars staying in an expensive hotel downtown while investigation the Toronto Humane Society;

You took advantage of donor generosity while you spent almost $3 million dollars on that botched investigation;

You took advantage of donor generosity when you  went on your four day weekend for your Annual Meeting at Casino Rama.

The CEO took advantage of donor generosity when she accepted a salary in 2009 of $193,000 without having any experience with animals or shelters or the heart for the job;

You took advantage of donor generosity when spent  $250,000 on renovations for a building that did not need it. Popular belief is the reason they were killed is because of your planned renovation. Obviously it is easier to renovate an empty building than one with 350 animals in it. There is no proof  however people can connect the dots when they realize when the killing took place, how long the building was closed down and when it finally opened. A bright new sparkling facility, which cut the capacity for animals to less than half of its original size, geared to making money, yet the report states unequivocally there was no ringworm.

You took advantage of donors when you paid $500,000 for an investigation in order to keep up your farce when it wasn’t necessary since  there was no ringworm to begin with;

Now you attempt to take advantage by making them believe the government does not give you enough funding to prevent a “stumble” yet according to Revenue Canada in 2009 OSPCA Newmarket had over $55 MILLION DOLLARS in revenue and assets and received over $5 MILLION DOLLARS from two levels of government, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars you receive for contracts from Richmond Hill, Aurora, Markham and other municipalities.  (Financials CRA 2009)

It seems there is no limit to how low OSPCA will sink to get money from the public, whether it is donor money or tax dollars.

You originally blamed volunteers, then you blamed the shelter manager for not following protocols. At Friday’s press conference the staff, the volunteers, the vet (whose name you refuse to release) and the government were blamed for this “stumble” Make up your mind. I have my suspicions there was any vet there at the time. I believe those you take shots at are blameless and the fault lies firmly on the shoulders of Kate MacDonald, Jim Sykes, Tanya Firmage and Rob Godfrey.

I do not know of any other organization that would not immediately fire their officers for such a “stumble” The whole management team needs to be fired and the Board of Directors needs to be replaced with people who care about the welfare of animals. For any of them to remain is the same as cleaning up a crime scene, getting rid of the evidence and letting the criminal remain on site. Talk about the fox guarding the hen house.

Despicable, heartless liars and killers who should serve time in jail for their crimes against animals.  If ever charges of animal cruelty were justified it is now.

As long as there are irresponsible pet owners and unwanted animals we need the OSPCA. We need them to do what they were mandated to do. Care for animals. We need them to make the care and comfort of  animals their priority, not money.

What we don’t need is the mind set and management that is in place now.

The Spin Stops Here! - Tick Tock, Tick Tock

Lynn Perrier
Reform Advocates for Animal Welfare
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ADMIN said...

Thanks to Lynn for sharing this article. Not only is it well written but it shows, in as simple and direct as one could be, those who may not be educated on the issue just how much reform is needed within the OSPCA. Anyone who may have not previously known the extent of the problem surely can not say that after reading this piece!

Anonymous said...


redstarcafe said...

It's now time for the provincial government to step up, as they should have last year when MPP Frank Klees put forward the recommendation to investigate the role and governance of the OSPCA. We know which MPP's supported Mr. Klees, and which were indifferent.

This is an election year. Let's not drag out task force work. Get on with it and demonstrate that the required changes will be made. That means a clean sweep of the current board and management, and democratic election of a new board that will move the OSPCA out of the dark ages.

The Toronto Humane Society could teach these people a lesson.

Anonymous said...

The board and management must go. Can you imagine if that had happened at another shelter - the OSPCA would have come down on charged them with cruelty, yet it is quite alright for them to kill animals for no reason and lie about it. Provincial oversight is something we all knew they needed from the beginning. It is nice to have that confirmed by professionals hired by the OSPCA!

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