Two days before Christmas and about the last thing I want to write about is the mess that is the Toronto Humane Society right now. I've been staying away from blogging about it the last little while because while I've been somewhat involved with it, it's so messy that going home afterward and writing about it is too much like homework. Of course, the thing with homework is that eventually it has to get done.
Many of you have probably already heard about the court ruling yesterday which basically allows almost all the workers on the OSPCA's "do not admit" list back into the building. The OSPCA didn't want them in there because they didn't want people interfering with their investigation. The judge basically told the OSCPA, you've had enough time, let the workers back in. The judge, however, did not give control of the animals back to the THS. The care of the animals is still in the hands of the OSPCA.
I don't know what the work environment will be like now with the old THS staff mixing with the new OSPCA staff along with the old THS staff who switched sides and are now on board with the OSPCA.
Yesterday as well, a separate hearing was made in front of another judge by the OSPCA to remove the old THS board, who are in theory still in charge of the THS, and appoint someone else to run the whole operation until the whole board mess is sorted and a new board is elected. I think this decision is supposed to come down in early January.
Meanwhile, Tim Trow will be making his own court appearance tomorrow to face his charges and do whatever it is that accused persons need to do. In case you're interested in seeing this first hand, show up at Old City Hall, Court Room C at 9 tomorrow morning (no guarantees on the accuracy of this info so phone first to confirm).
If you want to try to untangle this furry ball of confusion further you can read about it here, here and here.
And what of the animals at the THS you might ask. Well, that's one damn fine question to which I wish I could you a damn fine answer but I can't. There are a precious few people who are working their asses off trying to give the best care they possibly can to the animals in need at the THS facility but there are not enough of them. When the OSPCA took over the facility, many of the animals were in abysmal condition and perhaps the OSPCA underestimated the amount of care necessary to bring the animals back to a proper state of health. The vets are run ragged, there are not enough volunteers, the animal care workers are, well, they're doing the best they can. And then of course there's the overriding situation whenever a sudden vacuum is formed in any organization of too many bosses, not enough leaders.
There have been attempts to adopt some of the animals out through the Victoria Park satellite facility but the public hasn't been well informed about that and so animals are not exactly flying out the door. There's been efforts made to find better temporary accommodations for some of the animals but with the threat of legal action from the THS board casting a black cloud over everything, those efforts have been somewhat stymied.
In conversation with several people who actually deal directly with the animals, there's a common opinion forming that the building should be emptied. Foster out the animals to other agencies, rescues, individuals so that all the accumulated filth and shit and disease can be scorched out of the building. Let the animals live in temporary peace while the humans continue their fight. Right now, we can keep telling ourselves that we are doing the right thing, trying to make the future a brighter future, but we need to remember that many of the real victims are still suffering in the background.
Update from Mel who is volunteering several days a week at the THS: The situation is better than it was week ago. The place seems more organized or on the way to becoming more organized. Though still not ideal, the cleaning is better, the feeding is better with discussions ongoing on how to improve the schedule so it gets done earlier in the day. The small domestics have got their own vet now. The vet techs are trying to get caught up on routine care of the cats but there are still too many cats and sick cats. There seem to be a few more dog walkers. No word yet on allowing in more general volunteers (anyone who's tried to volunteer will know how nearly impossible it has been up to now to get on the volunteers list). That may come when the THS staff start working again. After all, if the old THS staff are allowed back in the building then what would be the reason to keep volunteers out?
Let's hope the good news for the animals keeps coming.