Rally for Governance of the OSPCA

Yesterday, a group of us attended a rally at Queen’s Park to support MPP Frank Klees (Newmarket – Aurora) in bringing important amendments to Bill 50 which currently grants sweeping police powers to the OSPCA – powers that have been abused and which were thrust into the public eye most recently with the ringworm outbreak at their Newmarket shelter. You’ll recall that the OSPCA intended to quietly euthanize all 350 animals for a highly treatable condition. The story was leaked and public outrage halted the killing plans. But not before 102 animals had been put down.

My head is still spinning from the heartbreaking stories told by speakers at the rally.

Frank Klees spoke about the need to take legislative change forward demanding oversight by the Ministry of Community Safety, and the separation of policing powers from sheltering within the OSPCA.

Cheri diNovo (MPP, Parkdale – High Park) was present as a speaker at the Bill 50 rally as well as the Civil Liberties/G-20 rally which followed, and she eloquently pointed out the chilling comparison.

The stories followed.

SusanSusan Pitney recounted the seizure of her elderly beagle, Little  One, who is diabetic and blind. This happened last August. A year ago. And Susan has been fighting relentlessly to overturn the OSPCA’s decision and get her companion back. She does not know where Little One is or whether she is still alive.  Read the story in Susan’s own words.

SunnySunny Reuter became interested in provincial animal legislation after the OSPCA seized and killed her dog Arko while she and her daughter were on vacation in August 2003. Arko was a Turkish Akbash dog, a lean white sheep guarding breed. Elderly and thin, he was mistaken for an emaciated Great Pyrenees while being boarded at a Schomberg facility and euthanized hours before Sunny returned. Sunny faced criminal charges which were dropped when she was able to produce a veterinarian’s report verifying Arko’s good health prior to boarding.

Sunny also recounted the story of the “Limping Pig”, whereby a rare 800-pound prize black boar was seized by the OSPCA at Canaan Farm in Niagara. Jack, the boar born with a limp, was inhumanely shot in his pen because the OSPCA assumed he had been abused. The farmer was criminally charged. Those charges were dropped pre-trial.

Sunny’s eloquent remembrance of her dog, Arko, and her summary of the issues with the OSPCA is here and here.

ColleenColleen Hervieux passionately recounted the seizure of the horses on her northern farm and its devastating effect on her family.

As Cheri diNovo stated, “I’m more and more concerned, the more I hear deputants today, that the OSPCA seems to be some kind of rogue organization with no accountability, no oversight from anybody, and, for those who are caught by the OSPCA, no right of appeal.”

Another family had 87 animals seized on a first visit. The father suffered a heart attack immediately thereafter. The animals were ordered returned to the farm by the Animal Care Review Board. The family could not afford to pay OSPCA seizure costs. Criminal charges were laid. The farmer states he pled guilty to a single charge of a dirty budgie cage. The Ontario SPCA is currently suing this family civilly.

The rally was organized by “Reform Ontario Animal Rights” (R.O.A.R.). Join their Facebook page for more background.

Download Frank Klees’ petition here and present the original signed copies to your MPP. Ask your MPP to read the petition into Hansard and notify you when that is done. Although you can forward the signed petitions to Frank Klees, this is preaching to the choir. It’s important to get the word out to your own MPP and ensure that s/he is onside with these important changes to the legislation.


7 responses to “Rally for Governance of the OSPCA

  1. excellent coverage and the stories make you weep and gnash your teeth with rage all at the same time! have attached link on my facebook page. If I ever get this bloody cast off I will update my own site too

  2. Good article, this is coverage that needs to happen.

    The truth needs to get out there to the public. Why is it, that the main stream press does not carry these stories?

  3. Thank you for your articulate representation of these instances of OSPCA abuse of power. Let’s all keep sharing the truth & refusing to accept the status quo. The OSPCA must be reformed.

  4. A throughly professional write up on the rally’s events. Thanks for getting the truth out there.

  5. Please make sure you get the whole story. Susan Pitney’s story on the petition site does not mention that she was initially given a compliance order to obtan proper veterinary care for her dog, based on investigation from a complaint being lodged. Being transient at that time, she disappeared with the dog. Subsequently another complaint was lodged, and the OSPCA realized that this was the same woman. The dog was seized. The dog is diabetic and was not receiving treatment for the diabetes. It was very thin, had ear infections so bad that you could see pus coming from it’s ears, had a bladder infection, an abdominal mass and dermatitis. It clearly was not being well cared for. It is now in an OSPCA foster home being well cared for. Is the OSPCA perfect? Probably not. There is always room for improvement, and we are all responsible to continue asking questions so those improvements happen. But before making up your minds, please make sure you have all the facts.

  6. I thoroughly understand that there are two sides to every tale but I must relate our experience, here, regarding Ms. Pitney and her extreme over-abundance of cats, in our building. These cats were not given litter but carpet to excrete upon, stunk up the whole building with urine and feces which ultimately led to Ms. Pitney’s vocal departure. I have *never* seen anything like the deplorable condition of her living space, quite unfit for human, never mind animal, habitation. I so pity the animals which were housed there, under such filthy, squalid conditions. It certainly makes one question the plight of her little dog, while under her care. One should not believe all one reads from the standpoint of one who cries perhaps too loudly about being wronged by the Humane Society. What went on here under her jurisdiction was certainly *not* humane!

  7. This is happening to me the cops had a detention order on the animals for over a year then they lift it an i am handed a bill for over $136.136.22 they retained my vet of 16 years.. which is a huge conflict of interest.. when he never had an issue with my farm horses or the care i was giving my horses.. untill being retained by the ospca.. and he is the only large animal vet in this area. now they give me five days to pay an are going sell the horses they took.. an it has not gone to court yet .. i f anyone out there can help me or guide me in what i should do please.. contact me.. this is a link to my story…http://www.sootoday.com/content/news/details.asp?c=51394

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