Animal Rights Zone

Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

Call To Review OSPCA Police Powers...

Here in Ontario, Canada, one of our MPPs (member of provincial parliament) is tabling a private members' bill calling for the removal of police powers from the authority of our provincial SPCA; this has long been an issue here in Ontario and throughout Canada as we have the OSPCA mandated by government as a registered private charity with the authority to lay charges both provincially under the Ontario Animal Welfare Act and federally under Canada's Criminal Code; there has long been widespread evidence of conflict of interest in OSPCA operations, particularly in their abuse of their policing role:specifically farmers, cattle owners and landowners have been unjustly charged and many forced into financial ruin because of court and other costs...even where charges have been dismissed in a court of law; indeed,  victims of search and seizure have routinely had their rights violated under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom; at the root of these abuses is the OSPCA's non-stop drive to maintain its financial coffers through FUNDRAISING at any cost and often by means of unsubstantiated charges and costs recovered unjustly from animal owners; of course, there are other serious problems with the OSPCA that have long needed addressing such as its 70%(it's probably higher!) KILL RATE of healthy and savable animals...a provincial average which is certainly higher in individual OSPCA affiliates or shelters(and NO, IT'S NOT EUTHANASIA!) At any rate, where I live, animal advocates are forced to believe that an animal (especially a stray or feral) has a longer life expectancy trying to survive on the street than in an Ontario shelter.

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Comment by red dog on March 23, 2012 at 10:29
Comment by red dog on March 12, 2012 at 11:20

Thanks for the update, Tony--I'm glad they didn't take such a huge step backward. Now let's hope the animal people of Ontario will push for meaningful laws to help homeless animals and reform shelters and pounds.

Comment by Tony Porcaro on March 12, 2012 at 5:12

Hope this helps to clarify  even further, with special note to RedDog...Bill 37 has been withdrawn and is now dead before it got to second reading; this was accomplished in large part through the vociferous resistance put forth by animal advocates in Ontario and across the country with a steady stream of e-mails, phone calls, internet coverage and petitions; we stopped a possible piece of legislation that would have opened the door to a new "dark ages" of animal cruelty!

Comment by Tony Porcaro on March 2, 2012 at 14:41

Thanks, red dog, I appreciate your comments and words of advice and support; I can assure you that my vehement opposition to bill 37's amendments and its intention aligns me very much against the "slaughterers" and those who would support them; thanks again for your thoughtful response...

Comment by red dog on March 2, 2012 at 14:08

Thanks for clarifying your position and I'm glad you're still fighting. I support your fight for no-kill and TNR, but I really feel your initial post and some statements on your website give the wrong impression. You may want to revise your site to make it clear that you oppose institutionalized violence against animals and are not aligning yourself with slaughterers whose motive is not to help animals but to be above the law.

Comment by Tony Porcaro on March 2, 2012 at 13:33

P.S. And no I do not support institutionalized violence or any kind of violence against animals for food or otherwise and while we all fight that together we have to deal with the sad realities as we face them; I have had to spend thousands in legal and other fees just to protect feral colonies even though they were all spayed/neutered and vaccinated and well taken care of by their caretakers because there are those who will not support TNR programs and still prefer to kill healthy and defenceless animals; this is beginning to change as more humane societies and municipalities realize that TNR does work; unfortunately, many OSPCA affiliates have resisted adopting TNR or even allowing individuals like me to operate..hence the thousands it cost me to fight my local oSPCA shelter and the city's local bylaws dept.....and I am still fighting them!

Comment by Tony Porcaro on March 2, 2012 at 13:04

Red Dog, if you read my follow-up comment you will see that I in fact cannot and will not support Bill 37 and for many of the reasons you state and I am against animal cruelty of any kind, including inhumane treatment of farm animals; over the years I have worked with and supported such groups as AlleyCatAllies after which I model my TNR program and,of course, Nathan's No Kill Advocacy; I stand by my claims about the OSPCA which has long become a rogue agency in Ontario because of government indifference to calls of reform and the severe lack of oversight and transparency with which the OSPCA has gotten away with until they became a law unto themselves; sadly, Bill 37 turns out to be a sham perpetrated by a farmer/landowner MPP who is trying to score political points by gutting all of the safeguards in the present OSPCA Act so that his farm animal "friends" will have carte blanche to do what they want with their animals without interference of any kind and, of course, I would never support anything like this; in fact, without the legal provisions against cruelty and what constitutes cruelty my feral cats and any animal becomes fair game and will no longer have the protections that I not only fought for but wanted to extend into law; of course the issue of whether the OSPCA as a charity should have police powers is another legitimate matter that needs examination as does the entire OSPCA Act; I hope some of this helps to clarify and there is a petition circulating to stop Bill 37 which I have signed...all the best,Tony

Comment by red dog on March 2, 2012 at 12:35

Hi Tony, I'm not sure what to say and I think other ARZone members probably feel the same way judging from the lack of replies. While I agree there's a need for better leadership at the Ontario SPCA and was disgusted by the events in Newmarket two years ago, at least some of your claims about the organization appear unsupported or out of date. Also, the bill to amend the Ontario SPCA Act seems like a huge step backward that will make it much more difficult to remove animals from abusive and neglectful situations and rehabilitate them if they need it. (Abusers won't even have to pay for care and boarding! How can this be a good thing?)

If this bill passes, the only recourse for a person who witnesses abuse or neglect (and by that I mean conditions that are already recognized as abusive or neglectful under existing laws) will be to call the police. What will the police do? They don't specialize in these cases and will almost certainly assign them a low priority.

I did a Google search after reading your posts and found what I think was your site. If so, I see you're a good animal person who has devoted your life to TNR and I’m sure you’d like to see positive change—not a step back to the dark ages. I think your initial post may give the wrong impression by suggesting you’re sympathetic to “farmers” who’ve neglected animals so badly as to attract the attention of speciesist authorities with no vested interest in focusing on animals raised for slaughter. Humane societies are likely only to intervene in the most extreme cases—for example, when a mentally ill person stops feeding a group of pigs and they all starve. Do you really recognize a “right” to raise animals for slaughter, let alone a slaughterer’s right to be virtually above the law? On a vegan-oriented and rights-oriented website like ARZone your comments come across as supportive of institutionalized violence against nonhuman animals and are very out of place. After looking at your site I’m confused as to where you stand and would appreciate it if you could clarify your position so there’s no misunderstanding.

Are homeless animals in Ontario still under the jurisdiction of the Animals for Research Act? I think they still are, and that the mandatory holding period before lost animals can be killed or sold to vivisectors is only 72 hours. Why not start an initiative to overturn the Animals for Research Act and replace it with Nathan Winograd-style legislation to protect lost and homeless animals—to give them a fair chance to be reunited with their families and adopted out to good homes if that’s not possible? A law that would forbid animals from being sold for vivisection and force shelters/pounds to implement effective adoption, sterilization, fostering and TNR programs? Of course the new law would have to apply to Ontario SPCA-run pounds/shelters as well as municipal pounds, pounds run by private companies, other charity-run shelters, etc.

Comment by Tony Porcaro on February 29, 2012 at 5:05

I have just read the aforementioned MPP's  proposed  Bill to amend the OSPCA Act with its specific objective to remove police powers from the OSPCA; as pointed out in the Blog above this proposal is intended to address a long history of OSPCA abuses of such authority as chiefly related to farm animal owners although there certainly have been occurrences of unwarranted seizures of other animals, including family pets, in other circumstances; while a number of the amendments proposed clearly provide for more legal protections and rights of appeal, its focus appears far too narrow and even self-serving as it relates to the group seeking redress while almost totally ignoring the issues related to the general animal population; this may be understandable in light of the fact that this MPP happens to be a farmer and landowner himself but this Bill(if made law) will affect all Ontario citizens , not only his own constituents or those in the cattle raising business; sadly, and without apparent reason or justification, the Bill repeals or revokes numerous provisions for standards of care and even removal of definitions of what constitutes cruelty; I find this extremely troublesome, to say the least, and personally could not support these amendments as they now stand; is this nothing more than another politically motivated act which does not have the best interests of all our animals at heart? Questions need to be asked and I have asked them and am waiting for a response but I think there is a lesson and WARNING here for all of us who strive on behalf of animals: we must be ever vigilant and always try to know the difference between posturing and real efforts to change the status-quo.

Comment by Tony Porcaro on February 28, 2012 at 6:59

It should be noted that OSPCA agents have no police training or knowledge of animal husbandry ; job requirements are a high school diploma and a driver's license; after successfully completing a TWO-WEEK (inspector) or ONE WEEK(agent) training course, police powers are granted! 


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