Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Collateral damage

Alright, this is pretty hokie maybe but would you all mind taking a moment and clicking over to this page. Yeah, it's the Toronto Humane Society adoption listings. Here are some of the animals that have been malingering at that facility for who knows how long and these are going to be the creatures who are going to suffer the most through all this turmoil at the THS.

Word is, THS phone staff have been fielding calls all day from people calling in to cancel their donations. Who's going to feel the pain when the money runs out or rather, when the money runs out even more than it already has? It's like sanctions against North Korea. The elite still binge at their banquets but the common folk starve.

And are people ready for what will happen if and when the current THS administration is replaced? That place is overcrowded, with a large population of animals that are supposedly unadoptable. Like feral cats. If the OSPCA take over the joint, I'm not sure they'll have much sympathy for those critters. What about the dogs that fail their behaviour and health assessments? And I would wonder how many of those dogs could have passed those assessments when they were first brought into the shelter but because of long term exposure to less than optimal conditions, they have become "failures". What about all those illegal Pit Bulls on site?

Are people ready to face the music and make the hard decisions? Is this what will happen?

And for this ultimate sacrifice imposed on these ill-fated animals who have spent their last weeks, months, years in a cage, will there be a worthy replacement administration ready to step in and do right in their memory and for all future shelter animals at Toronto Humane?

The THS can't be allowed to go on as is. The animal suffering is too much to bear. But in the transition, I'm fearing a lot of dead animals.


Jenn said...

I have been monitoring rescue sites for about 6 months, waiting until "my" dog comes up (and the time is right for me to adopt). Many of the faces on that site have been there all that time, and longer, I'm sure.

Money talks, so if the donations do stop pouring in, I'm sure that will effect change. I'm not sure the OSPCA investigation is going to reveal much - noone is saying the conditions are always terrible in the THS, just that they are horrible more often than they should be. I'm sure the THS cleared up whatever mess was lying around after the series came out on the week-end.

Anyway, my hope is that if a permanent and real change is effected, the animals in the shelter will be fairly assessed. I'm sure rescues will step up to the plate and help where they can. And those who need to be will be euthanised. It may look like a bloodbath, but the reality is those unadoptable dogs cannot have any quality of life living in a downtown shelter for the rest of their lives. Let's face it, the THS is no Dogtown which is in a rural setting and set up to house dogs indefinitely if required. It's unfortunate, but for some of those dogs who are totally stressed in that environment and have no chance of adopting out, euthanasia is the kindest thing we can do for them.

Social Mange said...

I think you may be right, OneBark. My concern has always been that the board and Tim Trow had to be replaced, but a worthy successor with the necessary skills and dedication must be found. This public outrage had to happen for change to happen. With luck, Tim Trow will gracefully step down, the board will step down, and a proper board election will be held. I'm still waiting for my membership application so I can vote..and perhaps run for the board.

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

Good questions. Hopefully it doesn't come to this, but I would expect it to. Regardless of what they do to change things around ... replace Tim Trow or replace the board of directors ... I doubt that OSPCA would begin to run the joint, though I could see them going through and "Culling the herd".

I guess time will tell, eh?


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you, OneBark. The dwindling donations are going to make it even harder to afford the vet techs we need in there. Until new management steps in to redistribute the money at the shelter (maybe fires some “shelter supervisors” and hires some techs), the animals are going to be the ones to suffer.

And I also agree that it is going to be a bloodbath at the THS if and when new management comes in. And I’m not sure if I’m going to like them any better.

One of the things I love about the THS is that they are willing to give any animal a chance to heal and find a home. The problem is that they have taken it too far and animals are languishing to die in their cages. But I’m worried that whoever takes over will pull the line too far in the opposite direction and end up euthanizing animals that I think could have survived if we had given them antibiotics and waited a few days.

I guess it is true that some things are worse than euthanasia – being stuck in a cage in a shelter for *years* with little to no human contact; slowly dying of painful, untreated illnesses. But for those of us who have to watch the cull happen, it’s going to be heartbreaking. And the idea that it is all so future animals can have a better shelter seems like a useless platitude when you’re watching the animals you’ve nurtured and become attached to disappear one by one.


LynnO said...

Fred, what does it cost to adopt an animal from THS? I clicked on the link, I looked at every single page and clicked on a few of the dogs.
The Ad Council says that 17 MILLION people will add a pet to their family in the next year. Why can't we just get these dogs ADOPTED!?!
Instead of crying about what might happen and who will be in charge and how they may or may not change anything, if we pull these dogs into rescue or find them adopters, problem solved, yes?
(I know, let's not talk about how they were supposed to have been rescued BY THS in the first place...)
One Dog at a Time...we can do it!

Fred said...

LynnO, there is no adoption fee at THS however there are "recommended" adoption "donations" and from what I understand, those donations vary significantly depending on the dog.

If it were a simple matter of pulling the dogs out of THS and putting them into rescue, I'm sure people would be doing that right now. Unfortunately, the behavioural and physical conditions of many of the dogs there, especially the long term dogs, are questionable and I'm not sure there'd be enough rescues around who would be prepared to deal with them.

Even just getting the dogs out would be a problem because I don't think THS has a good working relationship with many rescues.