The Toronto Humane Society has made headlines. Toronto police and officers from the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals executed warrants at the River Street Animal Facility operated by the not- for- profit Toronto Humane Society and arrested 5 men -Tim Trow (volunteer president), Dr. Steve Sheridan (vet), Romeo Bernadino, Andy Bechtel, and Gary McCracken (mgr.). The charges range from cruelty to animals and obstruct peace officer from a June 2nd inspection under the Criminal Code to charges under the Ont. Society for the Prevention to Cruelty Act. Other charges have been laid against several others including Bob Hambly (new president) under the provincial offences legislation. Frank Addario, is representing the latter group who claims that his clients have been “unfairly demonized”. Mr. Addario showed a certificate from the College of Vets indicating that the facility was inspected most recently and followed the standards set by the College. The facility has been in the news since 2006 and most recently in June 2009 when 200 protesters showed up complaining about the operation of the facility. The Ministry of Natural Resources 3 months before this incident removed all the wild animals. The facility is presently shut down. The facts are in dispute as there appears to be different points of view from the different sides. The courts will have to decide these issues. At one point, a mummified cat was found above one of the ceiling tiles. The City of Toronto under the Toronto Public Act operates 4 other Animal Service Centres. Toronto animals continue to be looked after while this mess is sorted out. The most recent news claims that the Society owes a number of creditors including a vet that worked at the facility. This is again disputed by the Society. Apparently, the Society receives $10 million in donations annually.
UPDATE: August 17, 2010- Source: The Globe & Mail
Prosecutors dropped all 46 charges against the Toronto Humane Society, its former board and some senior staff members. The organization who laid the charges (Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) were very upset. The crown attorney detailed a long list of constitutional violations by the OSPCA which made it impossible to use evidence gathered by the raid. Some of the violations: in searching through then-president Tim Trow’s home, investigators took personal items; use high-profile public relations firm to help maximize exposure such as documenting the finding of the mummified cat that eventually found its way to youtube. Also, the defence alleged OSPCA brought charges in order to stop THS from competing donations. The point being made by activists is that a single organization (THS) operating shelters & enforcing animal cruelty laws represents a conflict of interest.