The article is here in the Globe and Mail and the details are here in Garth's affidavit.
I have to say I'm impressed by the affidavit which details Garth's plan for transforming the Toronto Humane Society. There are some points I'd disagree with, especially with regards to the limited membership of the euthanasia committee, but let's pick at that some other time.
If this plan for the THS had come out, say, 5 or 10 years ago, I would've been much more inclined to support it. It hits all the right points, addressing issues that need addressing from animal care to building overhaul to staffing requirements.
This all looks great on paper and that the THS has even gotten to this point where they are willing to admit their past mistakes and ask outside consultants for help is a huge improvement.
The question is, can the present THS board and management be trusted to carry out these changes or is it just a ploy to win favour with the courts and public. In the end, will all this new openness to ideas save more animal lives?
I think we all saw the answer to that on Friday last week.
I'm sorry, Garth, you may have the best intentions but I don't believe they are the best intentions for the animals.
The deaths of the five Pit Bulls, Captain, Peti, Socks, Tiger and Smokey sullied the names of both the Toronto Humane Society and the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - the THS because of its role in devising and carrying out an animal euthanasia policy which is too draconian in spirit and the OSPCA for not using its role as animal guardian in the facility to offer alternatives to these dogs.
I am not a believer in keeping a suffering animal indefinitely in a cage but these five dogs were not suffering and had the luxury of many human companions and were well loved. And, perhaps most importantly, they had a rescue to go to out of the province with transport available to take them there. There was significant hope for these five.
Several of the five had bite histories recorded from within the THS facility so they were labeled as dangerous dogs and on top of that, given the fact that they were Pit Bulls in this province where the law kills Pit Bulls, I can appreciate the legal headache they would have presented to the lawyers on both sides but I sincerely hope they were not euthanized wholly or in part for reasons of legal expediency.
I'm not going to debate the validity of those original bite reports as no one knows the truth behind them except the persons bitten and the dogs involved but given that these dogs have had hundreds if not thousands of non-aggressive interactions and indeed highly affectionate and playful interactions with a multitude of volunteers and staff, did that not grant them some degree of hope for rehabilitation, some measure of charity and mercy?
I know, there were legal issues, there were liability issues. Well, there will always be liability issues when it comes to dog adoption. Were all five of these dogs so out of control that they presented liability risks above and beyond most other dogs that have been adopted out of the THS, and so much so that they could not be given a chance in a rescue? As for legal issues, we all know that there is some room to move within the law when it comes to Pit Bull rescue. Was it not within the mandate of both charities, while staying within the constraints of law, to try to provide safe haven for these five dogs?
These dogs were well loved. I don't think the people who signed off on these dogs' deaths really understood this. What they've done is they've taken beloved pets which didn't just belong to one or two people but to several people, euthanized them without any warning and then announced their deaths with a short on-line posting the day after. Not only is this action insensitive, to say the least, but also a gross misunderstanding of the strength of the human-animal bond and the love people had for these animals. In one night, not only were the lives of 25 animals taken, but many staff and volunteers were devastated and the public's faith in the THS shaken.
If this is an indication of how the new Toronto Humane Society will function, then no words on paper will get me to support it.
Actions speak louder than words and so far the actions that have been taken are not in line with any charitable animal welfare organization I would wish to support.