OSPCA Under Fire for Exterminating Shelter Pets

It sounds as if the public outcry over OSPCA’s plan to kill every living thing in their care because some of the pets have ringworm is helping:

The Ontario SPCA is asking qualified residents and local veterinarians who can treat ringworm to contact them with services you can offer to help save the remaining animals that were scheduled to be euthanized today.

Thank you to the boots-on-the-ground protesters and everyone who contacted the OSPCA, government representatives and other authorities to voice their condemnation of the mass killings.  I have no idea how many pets the OSPCA may have already needlessly killed over this ringworm outbreak but at least there is hope now for however many are left.

It is also unclear to me what responsibility, besides killing, the OSPCA is willing to accept in saving the remaining pets.  While I applaud the decision to reach out to the community for assistance, it should be plain to the OSPCA that care for these pets is their responsibility.  They used the press to lay blame for the outbreak at the feet of the recently fired shelter manager (charges the shelter manager denies).  But regardless of how the outbreak spread to such epidemic proportions, it is the OSPCA’s responsibility to treat these pets.  Unless they are claiming poverty, which I would doubt since they report millions in annual donations, most of which is spent on “animal care/investigations” (pdf), OSPCA should be the primary entity purchasing the necessary medications and treating these pets.  Support from the community is essential to the success of any shelter who wants to save pets but the reason donors give these millions to groups like the OSPCA is because they expect their money to go toward caring for animals.

I want to be optimistic but when the CEO of OSPCA speaks, it’s hard to keep your hopes out of the dirt:

Farming out animals for adoption or to other shelters would only spread the outbreak, Ms. MacDonald said.

The euthanization has already started despite protest signs, tears and pleas from animal lovers and volunteers.


The exact number of animal contaminated with ringworm is unknown, but it is expected to be quite high, Ms MacDonald said.

“We will not euthanize animals that are healthy,” she said. “But finding a healthy animal is unlikely. The chances of an animal not affected by the epidemic are very slim.”

For the record, when she says “an animal not affected by the epidemic”, she’s not referring to the plague.  It’s ringworm – a treatable fungal infection similar to athlete’s foot and jock itch.  While no one is saying it’s a walk in the park to eradicate ringworm, I don’t recall any mandate from the OSPCA to only deal with walk-in-the-park situations.  When you take money from people, promising to use it to care for the community’s pets, you have a clear obligation to do just that.  Unless OSPCA plans to redesign its fundraising materials and website to ask for donations to help animals when it’s convenient and free and sunshiney, they need to do right by their donors and the animals in their care.

8 thoughts on “OSPCA Under Fire for Exterminating Shelter Pets

  1. I thought I might add some of the search terms bringing readers to the blog in the past 24 hours, just in case OSPCA is wondering what the public is thinking:

    what is the law killing an animal over ringworm
    ringworm outbreak in a shelter
    ringworm means death
    ringworm epidemic sparks mass euthanasia
    ringworm at ontario animal shelter
    why is the ospca being so secretive

    1. Here are today’s search engine terms so far:

      ospca ringworm
      ringworm ontario
      ringworm shelter dogs
      ospca killing
      ospca kills
      12 may 2010 ospca protest
      ospca pitbull
      ontario ringworm
      where does ospca get money from

      I guess the public isn’t buying what your selling OSPCA.

  2. I want to know how many have been destroyed and how many more are going to be killed before I start celebrating. And of course a part of me is bitter that no one made a fuss when they murdered hundreds of animals at the THS when that whole thing was going down (remember? 1100 animals to start- in the end less than 300?) – regardless, this underlines AGAIN the need for a non-partisan body that can monitor and oversee the ospca and deal with challenges and/or complaints. Right now they are COMPLETELY autonomous – compounded by sweeping powers given to them by the Ontario government.

    1. Thanks for the update on the THS animals. I wondered about them “out loud” on my own blog entry early this morning although I’d guessed nearly all were killed. I wish I could say “unbelievable” about both these “shelters” but it’s all too believable.

  3. I could say so much about how whiny and picky they seem to be. Haven’t people seen how this stuff is like obsessive-compulsive disorder or Munchausen’s? These aren’t people who are used to working with things that they know are going to be dirty and sometimes infectious. These are people who act surprised when a dog smells like a dog and when poop smells like poop even after you’ve scrubbed the floor with soap and water. They are simply strange. They get mean.

  4. Start checking how many animals are killed by municipal pounds in the course of a year. The body count will make the OSPCA count look trifling. Then crawl on your city councillor to get animal services improved.

  5. I think the OSPCA has gone against its mandate to protect animals–it has betrayed the trust of the people and most certainly not in the best interest of the animals–they should all be fired–Independent Rescues no kill rescues do a much better job at finding homes for animals–I would NEVER take an animal to a shelter !!! I don’t trust any of them and if they carried out the same protocol on humans they would be called Nazis !!!

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