It would go something like this:
"Your honour, we've been carrying on this way for so long and no one ever did anything about it so we figured it was okay."
It's kind of like a squatter's defense. You know, where someone illegally occupies a building for so long and no one kicks them out and then suddenly the property's theirs.
The amount of ineptitude, indifference and you-suck-mine-I'll-suck-yours cronyism several of our public agencies have shown in their lack of handling of the problems at the Toronto Humane Society is outrageous. Pretty well everyone in the animal rescue community knew what was going on behind those doors of supposed compassion at the THS and there were dozens if not hundreds of complaints lodged but no one, until very recently, was ever willing to do anything about it.
A lot of people already knew what was in the contents of what is known as the Draper Report (Mike Draper being the chief inspector of the OSPCA at the time). It was the result of an investigation into possible wrongdoings at the Toronto Humane Society and it was completed and given to the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (a division of Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General) in 2006 who promptly filed it away somewhere dark and deep.
Now, it's finally being released (here and here) through the efforts of Kate Hammer at the Globe and Mail.
Here are some excerpts from her article:
- Hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations meant for animals are being paid to lawyers. In one instance a witness described $8,000 being paid to a lawyer without an invoice for the lawyer's services.
- A former director of fundraising, Tamara Alexander, described being instructed to remove costs and revenue comparisons from a report submitted to the THS's board of directors. Ms. Alexander also described how the THS operated without an investment policy, and investment reports were never circulated to the board of directors.
- A volunteer described money wasted on replacing sod and trees that were being killed by dog urine in the dog runs, and an obstacle course that was too high for most of the dogs, while the shelter went seriously understaffed.
- An animal technician told investigators that understaffing led to unsanitary conditions because animals weren't being fed or cleaned on a regular basis. She said animals were suffering and dying.
- A fundraising employee said that “records are changed on an ongoing basis in the computer,” and “stats are the main concern not the animals.”
There are also examples of what would seem to be apparent animal cruelty but the cases weren't considered strong enough by the OSPCA administration at the time to pursue.
Again, from Kate Hammer's article:
For example, the report tells the story of Lucky, a Jack Russell terrier discovered by THS cruelty investigators in an apartment in Regent Park. The dog's claws were overgrown, he was severely overweight, and his hind leg had shrivelled as the result of an injury that went untreated.
“The dog was so immobile that it was in its own feces and urine, and the smell of the apartment permeated the whole floor of the apartment building,” the witness told investigators.
The dog was seized and taken to the THS. The witness states that it was clear the dog was suffering with no chance of recovery. “The supervisors would not authorize euthanasia and the dog was allowed to sit for days and die on its own,” the report states.
Yeah, that seems cruel to me but hey what do I know. Maybe the dog was writing its memoirs and didn't want to be euthanized just yet.
This begs the question, why didn't the OSPCA step in back in 2006? Any answer that immediately pops into your head right now is probably just as true as the next. The OSPCA is stepping in this time, though - more like stomping in - and all I can say is, better late than never. The helm of the OSPCA under CEO Kate Macdonald has changed direction in the last two years and without being overly optimistic (because I'm just not built that way dearies), it seems to be changing for the better at least with regards to dealing with the THS.
So what's happening now with all this? Well, right now the Toronto Humane Society is holding its annual general meeting where a bunch of Tim Trow's hand picked, mind numbed cronies will likely be re-elected onto the board by an uninformed membership who have sent in their voting proxies to be use by Trow for his own purposes. There is one reform minded candidate running for the board and it'll be interesting to see if she gets on.
Will there be a revolution there today at the AGM? Unlikely, but there might be some yelling and quite possibly a melt-down from someone who can't control his tantrums. If that happens, I wonder how many people will be pulling out their cell phones to record the event for posterity and Youtube.
Yeah, fun and games but the longer it takes for us to kick out that board, the longer the animals at the THS will suffer.
And what does the THS have to say? Let's check out their