Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Politics of the grapevine

(This first part from a response to a previous comment)

From my perspective, and my perspective may very well have a limited view, TAS is mandated to serve the public interest by enforcing the laws our politicians manufacture including what many consider to be ill-conceived ones. Above and beyond enforcing the murky letter of the law, there are people within the facility where I volunteer who have a genuine concern for the welfare of abandoned dogs (and cats and guinea pigs and hamsters and pot bellied pigs, etc.). In fact, for those good people, I would say that is their prime concern and it is they who have led the charge to turn TAS into a shelter instead of just a pound. There is much done for the care and safety of all breeds that goes unnoticed, largely because TAS would rather spend their money on dog food than on PR.

I can't say I agree with everything TAS does but I have come to realize that there is sometimes a big difference between the politicians and bureaucrats who create laws which pander to paranoia versus the front line workers, who may not necessarily fully agree with those laws but whose job it is to see those laws carried out. It's a difficult balance to keep and I can only hope that one day the laws made to regulate animals will better align with the laws made for the welfare of animals.

A couple of days ago, a letter from a local Border Collie rescue asking for foster families from amongst it membership was cross-posted onto Craigslist. In this huge public space, without any relevant background explanation, the message stated that five Border Collie puppies were going to be euthanized by Toronto Animal Services unless something was immediately done. What started out as a Toronto Animal Services rescue mission for the five puppies had very quickly been internet transformed into "How can TAS be so cruel as to kill a bunch of puppies?" Toronto Animal Services and the people in charge of TAS immediately began receiving outraged e-mails, faxes and telephone calls about this.

In the past, when I said that the shelter program at TAS is a balancing act, I should have said that it is a very precarious balancing act. The recent influx of negative feedback into TAS has put the shelter aspect of TAS under threat because this fallout suddenly becomes ammunition for those who would use any reason, including adverse publicity, to shut it down. These nameless, nervous nelly opponents of a shelter program are more worried about the possibility of generating bad PR than the fact that hundreds of dog lives are saved every year. However well-intentioned the outcry of concern for the puppies was, it may have had an ill effect on the lives of dogs who find their way to TAS in the future.

But, there is a fix for this and it's pretty obvious. Communicate to TAS and the people in charge of TAS to let this public facility continue its good work in dog sheltering and rescue. If you have a voice and are concerned about this, use it now. E-mail them, fax them, call them with an appeal to keep on finding homes for those pets which have been abused and abandoned. Do not let thin skinned politicians and bureaucrats be frightened off from doing the right thing by internet churned misunderstandings. Do not let Toronto Animal Services slide back into being merely a city pound which is more concerned about animal management than animal welfare. If you have a voice, please use it now.

Addendum: This is their main telephone number, 416 338 7297, and this is the fax number for the south branch, 416 338 6688.