For Icy

Earlier, we blogged about Akiak, a children’s book about the Iditarod and a brave old husky who helped win the race. Akiak was considered too old to lead the team, but she was wise, and without her, there would have been no victory.

Icy and DiabloLast month, an 11-year-old husky was surrendered to Toronto Humane Society along with her younger husky companion. Her name was Icy, and her life-long bonded friend was Diablo.

Diablo was fortunate to be rehomed.  Icy was not.

Within hours of intake, this beautiful husky was summarily killed. An investigation has been taking place over the past several weeks.

Members, donors and the community are keen to know how this happened and what safeguards have been put in place so that this does not take place again.

Icy’s owner had mentioned that she was healthy for an older girl, with only a benign growth on one leg. Icy had been a family pet for 11 years.

This blogger cannot fathom how a veterinarian could have determined, in a matter of hours, that Icy was too sick and suffering to be adopted, and needed to be killed. We know that staff, management, volunteers and members of the board were devastated that this was somehow allowed to happen.

It was a combination of factors, according to the THS – a vague reference to their new euthanasia scorecard. We would like to see their euthanasia policy published on their website, hopefully with revisions that promise a no-kill direction where the pink needle would be reserved only for animals who are terminally ill and suffering, or who have irredeemable behavioural problems. Otherwise, all animals at THS need to be given every chance to be adopted.

We would like to know what course-corrections have taken place with respect to existing policies that allowed a veterinarian to cut Icy’s life short. We understand that the SAFER test (a behavioural measure) has, since, been discontinued as the determinant as to who lives and who dies. The THS board has amended its intake  policy since Icy’s killing, but we want to understand what that means and assure ourselves that it is adequate.

We would like a commitment from Toronto Humane Society to a no-kill objective, as defined above. We are thrilled that Bill Bruce, head of Calgary Animal Services, has accepted an invitation to consult with THS at the end of August. He will surely bring some no-kill best practices to the shelter, and there are staff and board members who would eagerly embrace such practices.

Please read Selkie’s eloquent analysis of the complexities of this case at Tailspin.

In honour of Icy,  I’ve created a totemic necklace and earring set with a fine silver origami focal, sterling, quartz crystals and labradorite. The silver focal was originally intended to commemorate Hiroshima. Labradorite is a grey stone with a fierce internal blue fire like the Aurora Borealis. A beautiful stone with a soul.

Icy necklaceIcy fine silver origami

2 responses to “For Icy

  1. Pingback: Theoria › OSPCA vs. THS (yet again)

  2. Craig, re: the husky, Icy, whose death haunts many of us, may I offer that the board was devastated when Icy was killed.

    Please don’t assume that THS is aligning itself with OSPCA which has at least a 50% kill rate.

    This one was a terrible mistake and they know it.

    Policy was flawed. It’s my opinion that a needle-happy veterinarian followed the flawed policy. The intake policy has now been changed – hopefully that is the policy with the loophole and we would like to know exactly what that policy states – if it is not, we will be relentless in ensuring that there is complete, 100% clarity that the only reason for ever killing an animal at THS is that s/he is terminally ill AND suffering, or that s/he has a behavioural issue that cannot be redeemed. Every animal there needs to be given the chance to succeed and find a home.

    A good first step would be to ensure that policy is in place to ensure that rehoming is the default, and if anyone questions that, it had better be a committee who can justify any killing to the members and public.

    THS has started to publish statistics on their website. I would like to see a breakout of euthanasia statistics by reason.

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