I'll let Jennifer Downe, a long time volunteer at the Toronto Humane Society explain via her e-mail:
I just received this devastating news from the THS. They have decided to permanently close the kitten nursery at THS.
The THS kitten nursery offered a home to immature kittens who required around the clock care (as we witnessed last night with Karen), along with vets and technicians to care for these vulnerable little creatures. Newborn kittens need to be bottle fed every 2 hours for the first weeks of their lives, slowly moving up to every 4 hours. Without this around the clock care to abandoned kittens, they will die.
A properly run kitten nursery will help a far more immature kittens survive, rather than solely relying on a fostering program. Yes, fostering is far preferable to staying in the shelter, but the nature of kitten feeding makes it better suited to a team approach with dedicated reliable volunteers to accommodate an every 2 hour feeding schedule. Fostering immature kittens is a huge commitment - you need to commit to be home to feed them every 2 hours - how many people can do this?? By shutting down the nursery, they have astronomically diminished the number of animals we can help (each kitten season (May - Sept) there are literally hundreds of kittens in the shelter at any given time) as I sincerely doubt we can find this many foster parents (it's a very select group of individuals who can help in kitten fostering- people who work from home, retirees and people who are not currently employed who can be available 24 hours a day). The nursery can be properly run - when James was the volunteer coordinator, he managed the nursery by ensuring he had committed volunteers and held them accountable to their designated shifts. We should be preserving this amazing place and committing more resources to it - not shutting it down.
I don't know of another kitten nursery in Toronto, so without it I feel there is little hope for abandoned kittens. Clearly I am extremely disappointed by this decision on a personal level, however I am more upset because I am confident that it means that abandoned kittens will die.
I am desperately hopeful that there is something our group can do about this terrible decision.
By "our group", Jennifer is referring to the Faces of Change slate for which she is a candidate in the upcoming THS elections.
Meanwhile in other THS election news:
From The Toronto Sun, Who polices the animal cops?:
David Turnbull, a former Conservative solicitor general and a member of Save the THS (Toronto Humane Society), said the tragedy in York Region [OSPCA] pointed out a fundamental flaw in the system.
“Clearly, we have a responsibility to look after animals,” he said. “We want the government to join with all of the opposition parties in developing these laws so that we don’t have a recurrence of (the Newmarket shelter situation).”
And also from The Sun, THS supports changes to OSPCA:
When contacted Tuesday, THS president Bob Hambley said the society called for the OSPCA’s powers to be kept in check two years ago.
“Mr. Klees’ proposal for oversight and controls into the unchecked policing powers of the Ontario SPCA is something that the THS, as well as many other individuals and organizations, requested of the government ...in 2008,” Hambley said.
“Furthermore, we strongly support Mr. Klees in his call for an independent investigation to get answers and determine what went wrong and who is responsible at the OSPCA and led to the plan to euthanize 350 animals for a treatable condition.”
Boys, as much as I'd like to see the OSPCA being held more accountable, you might want to consider fixing what's wrong in your own backyard before buggering around in someone else's.