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Archive for November, 2009

Toronto Humane Society Arrests

Friday, November 27th, 2009

This morning’s news was plastered with news of the arrests of Toronto Humane Society President Tim Trow, the shelter’s lead veterinarian and three other senior staff. If you’ve been following this story, you’ll know that the OSPCA’s investigation at the shelter has been ongoing for more than 6 months now. Based on our own experiences with the shelter and the recent news broadcasts about the animal cruely within, we can all form our own opinions about what may be happening inside one of the largest shelters in Ontario. Amongst many of my own opinions, one thing that pleases me about this coverage is the “exposure” that the Toronto Humane Society is NOT a part of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The OSPCA runs shelters in most communities in Ontario, and is the governing body for cruelty to animals and animal safety. This province is very fortunate to have such a group, and they are responsible for saving the lives of thousands of animals every year, including those at Toronto Humane Society.
This news story is an ideal example of how a ‘rescue organization’ is not always operating with the good of the animals in mind. Like many organizations, there is the drive to make money, the politics in offices that promote these profits, and the suffering of animals as a result of these profit seekers. Unfortunately, animals are not products, and simply refusing to ‘shop’ at these non-SPCA related rescues will not end their suffering, in fact it will prolong it. So how can we as animal lovers bring an end to money-hungry rescues without denying the animals within them a home?
First of all, support the rescues you do know and love. I am a volunteer with two purebreed rescues, and an advocate of many other purebreed and all-breed rescues. I encourage everyone I know to contribute financially or with their time to these rescues, and as a result these reputable rescues can operate better and place their animals quicker. I am confident in these rescues’ skills and integrity as charity organizations because I see what lengths they are going to to provide good, lasting, ‘forever’ homes for their animals, the extent of fundraising and commitment for veterinary care and the heartfelt decisions made for animals who really do need to be humanely euthanized. They do NOT base their fundraising on low euthanasia rates. nor do they ply you with sad stories of abused animals with horrifying stories – although every rescue sees and cares for such victims regularly. Rather, many reputable rescues and SPCA shelters will show you the practical ways that your contributions can be applied, demonstrate their dedication to the animals, and show you the happy side of adoption.
If you’re planning on adopting from a shelter or rescue group, do your homework, and beware the organization that sends you home with an animal without doing THEIR homework on YOU. If they have a shelter space, visit it several times to ensure that there is consistency of care in a shelter. Every shelter has a back area for animals who are sick in order to prevent spread of infection and quality of care – but if this area is larger than the shelter and seems to be the busiest place in the shelter, combined with a no-kill policy, do some extended community research on the shelter before you adopt. Ask questions first! A shelter or rescue who is wary of answering your questions and tries to avoid them generally has something to hide. Most of the rescues that I work with are more welcoming of potential adopters who ask questions about the animals because it demonstrates a genuine interest in the animal. However, a good adoptions volunteer will never tell you right away that you’ll be getting an animal – and the one who is does belongs to the shelter that should be questioned. Good volunteers with good rescues and shelters always care about where their animals end up – and that decision to allow you to adopt is usually not easily arrived at.
Remember – just because a shelter or rescue group claims to care about animals, always question whether or not there is something else they care about first. Rescues and shelters should be exclusively for and 100% involved in putting animals first.

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