Monday, May 17, 2010

Euthanasias done at Newmarket OSPCA - well, at least until they open up again

I can't believe I'm actually linking to The Toronto Sun but they're doing a decent job on covering both sides of the story on this one.

OSPCA sparks more protest:

On the flip side, Sykes argues the mass euthanasia of 350 animals at the Ontario Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals’ Newmarket shelter would have saved 2,000 animals. This is the number of animals which would have be dropped off at the shelter and adopted over the next four months. Now that the shelter is closed to the public and is under lock-down, no animals can be dropped off and adopted out.On the flip side, Sykes argues the mass euthanasia of 350 animals at the Ontario Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals’ Newmarket shelter would have saved 2,000 animals. This is the number of animals which would have be dropped off at the shelter and adopted over the next four months. Now that the shelter is closed to the public and is under lock-down, no animals can be dropped off and adopted out.

Now I'm not sure what that 2000 number stands for. Is that the number of animals dropped off or the number of animals saved because they're two very different things. I think the save rate is about 50% so that would mean either 4000 animals would've been brought in and 2000 adopted or 2000 animals would've been brought in and 1000 adopted out.

Either way that's still a lot of dead animals.

As much as some people like to denigrate the No-kill movement, there's some very handy advice from those quarters when it comes to saving animals and the main one is that it takes a community to save lives. This has been borne true this past week with the community stepping forward to help take in the animals the OSPCA would have otherwise put down.

Let's hope some hard lessons (hard on the dead animals) were learned here about how important it is establish and keep networks into the community if shelters want to lower their kill rates.

I know the OSPCA say that they did a call out to vets earlier on asking for their help before the decision to cull all the animals in the facility was made - and they got no response - but the idea isn't to ask for help at the last minute when the situation is already desperate but to create those networks beforehand and keep them strong all year round so that they are there when needed.

OSPCA lays off workers:

After 102 animals were euthanized last week, the shelter was emptied of the last remaining animals Friday, forcing the charity to layoff staff Monday, Cross said.

“That’s because we have no animals for them to care for,” she said.

Around 15 animals are still on the property in temporary shelters outside the main building. Those pets arrived at the shelter after the ringworm outbreak.

Cross said rumours on social networking websites that the layoffs occurred so three dogs could be euthanized were false.

“We’re not planning on euthanizing any dogs,” she said.

And finally, here's a link to a thoughtful post on the blog GoLightly Facts + Fiction called Letter to John Tory re: OSPCA which calls on people to get off the anti-OSCPA bandwagon. If you follow the link and read the post and decide to comment, please be respectful.


selkie said...

There is a number of points I want to address here. First, as indicated and borne out by many community members and vets- NO request for help went out at all - until the crap hit the fan as it were - and my feeling is only because they didn't anticipate the kind of reaction their decision would engender.

Second, the comment that killing 350 would save "2000" is the kind of logic that makes me want to bang my head against the wall. Because ultimately, it is a comment on HOW the animals in general are viewed. I had a similar reaction when the OSPCA accused the volunteers of stealing a dog from the THS and leaving a "ringer" in its stead (which was clearly refuted and proved to be false regardless). When that allegation was made, after first laughing at what I thought was a "rumour", when confimred that indeed they were accusing us of that - I was outraged. NOT so much becuase they accused us of stealing but becuase they would THINK that any one of the volunteers that walked and loved those dogs would EVER see the potential risk to another dog's life (the "ringer) as LESS valuable than the dog purportd to be stolen.

Do you see the same logic here? those 2000 (again, show me the STATS - the OSPCA is graet for throwing out figures and stats, and making proclomations which are NEVER backed up with science or proof - i.e. the "aggressive" form of ringworm) - those 2000 animals somehow have more WORTH than the 350 ALREADY in the shelter? Who decides which animal has worth and which does not? Surely those 350 lives are valuable too? Or shoudl be when we are talking about an organization that is designed to PROTECT them.

And again they play at will with facts and realities - the three dogs euthanized AFTER they said they were stopping, were clearly not euthanized by THEIR OWN ADMISSION because of ringworm but the lovely Shepherd, Sago, was euthanized becuase of "behavioural" issues. That in itself is rampent lies - I spoke personally to one of the fosters and to the former foster and BOTH confirmed the dog was absoultely lovely and had NO aggression issues. One of the fosters had a sheet she handed out talkinga bout Sago and her history (if anyone is interested let me know)- but in a nutshell, she did not have ringworm (or had not tested positive at that point for it),and ospca DEFINITELY said she was euthanized for "behavioural" issues - which REFUTED by the very people who had dealt with her for the past 6 months.
So , frankly, Fred, I don't believe a word they say. Again and again their lies come back (finally) to hit them in the face.

Finally, the Humane Society of Durham CLEARLY pointed out that they (as a crowded shelter) had successsfuly managed not one, but TWO epidemics of ringworm - without having to euthanize ONE animal - so vis-a-vis your link - sorry, but that doesn't wash. No one every said it was easy to eradicate it - but it most certaintly is possible with some effort, help, money and most of all (what the OSPCA lacks) WILL.

Anonymous said...

The OSPCA are saying that they did call out to Vets earlier and got no response....this is a quote from Dr. Mark Cole of Abbotsford Animal Hospital in Aurora where some of the remaining animals are housed: **All the animals are undergoing physicals but cursory exams done over the weekend found no obvious signs of ringworm or any other conditions, he said.

“All are in good shape,” Cole said, adding it was a shame the OSPCA didn’t ask the community for help earlier.**

So, who do you believe....I know who I believe.

Is Jim Sykes in his newly invented "job" the spokesperson for the OSPCA now?

Fred said...

Anonymous, I don't know if the OSPCA asked for help from vets or if they did, how many vets they approached, but it's obvious that whatever attempts they made were insufficient or at least insufficiently communicated with regards to urgency.

On the other hand, there is something to be said for the power of media in getting people to pay attention. I know that when TAS South asks vets for help, with stuff like spay/neuters for example, the response from vets is lacklustre at best though thankfully there are some much appreciated, notable exceptions.

Let's hope the OSPCA's eyes have been opened and equally that the community of concerned citizens stay involved to keep the pressure on but also to assist.

EmilyS said...

a key point in that blog seems to be that shelters are horrible nasty disease ridden places, anyway, so WYFP? with an attitude like that, no wonder the FIRST line of defense at OSPCA seems to be to kill.

We had a similar situation at my city's shelter a few years ago and it eventually cost the director his job.

Anonymous said...

Did they let some of the animals be taken by those who volunteered to help?

Fred said...

Anonymous, yes, but I don't know what the final numbers are other than 102 animals were euthanized. I guess the rest have either gone out into the community or have been dispersed to other shelters.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea what go lightly's mention of being "the only bread winner" in her family had to do with the situation but I can presume that it was a shot at her husband being allowed to have an opinion of his own...I must say I feel sorry for her spouse.

GoLightly said...

Yeah, me too.

Anonymous said...

You are right Fred that many Vets are unwilling to help in situations. It cuts into their bottom line....I do know for a fact that there are local Vets who do assist when they are asked by the OSPCA. My own Vet is one of them. The OSPCA did not make any appeal prior to the "uproar" that ensued after a "leak to the media".

I volunteered at the York Region Branch a few years back (prior to an accident)...the powers that be actually cared about animals. The CEO at the time was Judy Marshall, she would go into the shelter on Christmas day and take time to wish the shelter workers a merry christmas and a thankyou for being there......My how times have changed!