Monday, September 14, 2015

OSPCA Threatens To, "Dispose" Of 70 Seized Dogs Unless Animal Rescue Pays Over $100 000

Rebecca & Randy Ashworth
Taken from www.baytoday.ca
In July, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) seized 71 dogs from Rebecca and Randy Ashworth, who run the animal rescue, Laika Fund for Street Dogs. One of those was the Ashworth's personal pet, the OSPCA euthanized the dog without informing the couple.

The Ashworths retained counsel to fight the seizure and took their case to the Animal Care Review Board of Ontario (ACRB), which overhears cases brought against the OSPCA. In late August the OSPCA presented its case to the ACRB, after which the ACRB scheduled the hearing to resume on October 5, at which point the Ashworths may present their case.

This is where the case takes a horrific turn.

As the case continues the OSPCA has the Ashworth's dogs in its possession, and will have them until a ruling. Last week however, the OSPCA sent a notice to the Ashworths demanding over $100 000 in payment for veterinary and boarding fees. The notice included the following statement :

"the OSPCA may dispose of the animals without further notice if these costs are not met within 5 business days from the date of this notice"

I'd like to find one Ontarian who does not look upon the above statement by the OSPCA as nothing short of extortion. How would you see it if these were your dogs? After being blasted by the media and on social media, the OSPCA quickly backtracked and offered a statement, saying the letter sent to the Ashworths contained, "standard form wording related to the rights and obligations of an animal owner". As far as I can tell, the statement above contains standard wording one would find in a ransom note.

Let's not forget the case is not even over yet. What gives the OSPCA the right to send such a notice, especially considering the ACRB may indeed find the organization acted illegally in its seizure of the Ashworth's dogs? What happens if the Ashworths pay the OSPCA over $100 000 and then the ACRB rules in the couple's favour? Let me guess, the OSPCA will immediately pay the Ashworths back? News flash : THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

This case has led many Ontarians to ask an obvious question : "Has the OSPCA gone too far?"

For animal advocates and politicians who have fought for years to hold the OSPCA accountable the unfortunate answer is, "The OSPCA doesn't know the definition of going too far".

Over the past 5 years I have published over 100 articles outlining the OSPCA's lack of transparency, abuses of power, and outright lies the organization feeds to Ontarians. Here are just four that speak to the issues :

Lawyers Target OSPCA For What The Consider Illegal Investigation & Harassment (2011)

OSPCA Euthanizes Woman's Dog Without Telling Her, Charges Her, Then Drops Charges UPDATED - OSPCA Responds (2011)

Can The OSPCA Be Saved? (2012)

Once The OSPCA Has Hold Of You It Refuses To Let Go (2013)

The case of the Laika Fund For Street Dogs shows yet again, the OSPCA has no intention of acting in the best interests of Ontario's animals. Worse, the Ontario government continues to sit idly by and wash its hands of any wrongdoing by the OSPCA.

If you are as disgusted as I am with the organization there are three things you can do :

1. Stop donating to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. STOP DONATING NOW. Show the OSPCA you simply can not support an organization that acts as a private police force for animal welfare in this province, you can not support an organization that continues to abuse its power and lie to the public.

2. Write to Premier Kathleen Wynne at kwynne.mpp@liberal.ola.org and to the Minister of Community & Correctional Services Yasir Naqvi at ynaqvi.mpp@liberal.ola.org. They need to know that animal lovers in Ontario will no longer sit idly by while they do nothing to reign in the OSPCA.

3. USE SOCIAL MEDIA : Use the hashtag #OSPCA to raise awareness.

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As for the dogs seized by the OSPCA? Over five days have passed since they sent the letter to the Ashworths. We can only hope the organization hasn't taken it upon itself to "dispose" of these poor dogs. 




UPDATE January 13 :

This case has been brought before the Animal Care Review Board, just another kangaroo court in Ontario. The proceedings have gone on for months, and the board is expected to rule within the next two weeks. In the meantime, the Ashworth's bill has reached nearly $400 000, and the dogs have been sitting in OSPCA cages for nearly six months.

UPDATE March 2 :

As expected the ACRB ruled in complete favour of the OSPCA. The Ashworths will now have to pay nearly $400 000 to get their dogs back, and are still facing 4 counts of animal cruelty charges. One must wonder why the OSPCA has no problem handing back these animals to the very people it says are animal abusers. I guess hundreds of thousands of dollars lining the OSPCA's pockets makes for an easy decision.