|Just a typical day...|
The ACRB was founded in 1969 to hear appeals against the OSPCA. It's members are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. Currently there are seven members, including one who has a 30 year history as a professional chiropractor, because that of course is integral in deciding the fate of animals in Ontario. Not all members hear each appeal. The Board falls under the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. On the official website of the ACRB, the board is self-described as a, "quasi-judicial tribunal". I don't know about you but for me the term, "quasi" does not exactly instill much comfort, nor do the actions of the tribunal itself.
Why do I say that? Well let's take a look :
Appeals brought before the ACRB are heard province wide and often take place in small conference rooms in hotels. As all parties involved in the appeals stay at the hotel, members of the tribunal have full opportunity to mingle with OSPCA investigators and witnesses throughout the day and over lovely dinners where they can all catch up personally. Of course they never compare notes on the case as it as evolves, that is strictly forbidden by the ACRB! Why then, have I spoken to three individuals who have had their animals seized by the OSPCA who say they have witnessed such interaction on several occasions? As for those appealing the seizure? They are not invited to the dinner table. Not even the kiddie table.
By the way, if you're looking for a transcript of ACRB hearings? They don't exist. There is no stenographer, no artist depictions. The proceedings are recorded with a hand held camera....I sure hope the batteries are in there! "Quasi", indeed.
Let's just think about this for a minute. Can you imagine if these methods were adhered to in an Ontario court of law? The government would be forced to spend hundreds of millions in settlements for violating our very basic charter rights. How consoling to know that child abusers, rapists, and murderers are afforded an actual court proceeding while an individual who has had their animals seized by the OSPCA? They get kangaroos and the Holiday Inn.
So there you have it! If you ever find yourself in the unenviable position of having to get your animals back after an OSPCA seizure? Just remember it can take months, throughout the entire proceedings the OSPCA will keep your animals and rack up boarding fees, they will threaten to kill them, and for added insult, you have to eat alone.
Feel free to comment below. I'd be very interested in hearing from even more people who have had direct experience with the ACRB.