OSPCA Kills Pets, Keeps Public in the Loop

An update on what’s been happening with the Ontario SPCA since the public outcry over the mass killing of pets afflicted with ringworm at their York region shelter, via OSPCA’s website:


– 99 animals have been humanely euthanized to date.

– 96 animals have been fostered out to other accredited agencies, clinics, shelters and institutions capable of caring for them in isolation from other animals.

– 15 animals have been stolen.

– 15 animals who are not affected by the outbreak are in isolation in a portable structure on the site.

– 23 dogs and 91 cats need to be tested further. We are seeking temporary shelter for these animals for up to a month.

May 14:

Rob Godfrey, Chair of the Board of Directors for the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Ontario SPCA), announced that an independent investigator will examine the ringworm outbreak at the Ontario SPCA’s York Region Shelter will be appointed by Friday May 28, 2010.

The report, when complete, will be made available to the public.

May 19:

As mentioned last week, an independent investigator will carefully examine all of the issues around the ringworm outbreak, and their report will be released to the public. More information on this investigation will be provided May 28, 2010, as promised by Rob Godfrey, Chair, Ontario SPCA.


The York Region facility is currently being cleaned and disinfected so that it can get back to work treating sick and vulnerable animals and preparing them for adoption into loving homes.

May 28:

An external investigator is being appointed to examine the ringworm outbreak that occurred in the York Region Branch of the Ontario SPCA.

A short-list of candidates, qualified to conduct an investigation of this type, was provided by University of Guelph, home to the Ontario Veterinary College.

Due to the candidates’ availability we have not been able to discuss the terms of engagement for the investigation. Early next week we will be in a position to do so. We will then announce the candidate and the date the investigation will begin.

June 6:

The Ontario SPCA does not have a date set for the re-opening of the York Branch. […]  While the shelter is closed we are taking the opportunity to do some much needed renovations to the facility.


As mentioned a few weeks ago, an external investigation on the ringworm outbreak will be conducted. The Ontario SPCA takes its responsibilities as a public trust and the governing body of animal-care regulations very seriously. It’s board chair, Rob Godfrey continues to take the steps he said he would regarding the appointment of an arm’s-length investigator who will examine the protocols and procedures, and determine whether they were breached.


May 14:  The public can rest assured, an independent investigator into the ringworm killings will be appointed by May 28.

May 19:  We really promise.  May 28 is THE DAY.  Meantime, we’re cleaning the place up so we can re-open.

May 28:  OK, we know it’s the 28th but we don’t have our act together.  We’re working on it though – just give us another week and we’ll get that independent investigator named.

June 6:  We decided to go ahead and do some renovations while we’ve got the place closed.  No clue as to when we might re-open or what we might think up next in order to extend the closure.

Also, quit nagging us about the independent investigator thing.  We never said we’d have anyone appointed by May 28th – where did you even hear that?  We promised we’d type about it and we’re keeping our word on that.

June 7 – present:  [insert tumbleweed, wolf howling]

Does anyone know where the 23 dogs and 91 cats that were supposed to be tested further and sheltered elsewhere “for up to a month” are now?  Any word on how 15 pets got “stolen”?

4 thoughts on “OSPCA Kills Pets, Keeps Public in the Loop

  1. June 22 press release by the OSPCA can be seen here:

    The 96 animals they speak of in foster care were in foster care before they closed the shelter for the ringworm outbreak. They have publicly admitted this so I don’t know why they continually report this number as it is unrelated to the 350 animals they planned to kill due to ‘virulent ringworm’.
    The ‘virulent’ strain of ringworm was so aggressive that all 113 animals transferred out are testing negative for ringworm (there was 114 but apparently one animal was killed due to unrelated medical issues…or imagined ones).
    The OSPCA states the animals are testing negative due to the sulphur dips each animal received prior to and on arrival of the clinics they were sent to. Yes, they said it themselves, this ‘virulent and aggressive’ strain of ringworm was eradicated with a few sulphur dips. Wait a minute….so why did they all need to be killed again?
    CEO Kate MacDonald publicly stated to media in the initial days following the outbreak that ‘it is unlikely there is a healthy animal in there’. 31 cats were sent to one clinic in Aurora Ontario. They all tested negative for ringworm and the vet stated none showed any signs of ringworm lesions and all appeared in good health.
    The Newmarket shelter has yet to be disinfected as the OSPCA has decided to undergo some ‘much needed renovations’. They have no date for when the shelter will reopen and still have not announced their investigator. The OSPCA previously stated they were having trouble finding an investigator to agree to their ‘terms of engagement’. If they do ever hire an investigator it’s evident the report will be meaningless and well edited before released to the public. It would not be the first time.
    A facebook group 39,000 strong is actively pursuing the issue of corruption and unaccountability of the OSPCA. A rally is planned for July 10th that will include political speakers and numerous bands held in Queens Park Toronto. Here’s a link to the facebook group if interested:

    As for the fate of the animals, no one has any answers right now. There were a few dogs that were previously up for adoption and had adoptive families in the process of finalizing taking them home before they shut the shelter down. Staff and management refuse to answer any questions regarding the animals. They will not tell adoptive families whether their dogs are alive or dead and will not answer any questions regarding exact numbers of animals and their whereabouts. Only one of the ‘outside clinics’ these animals were sent to is known. All others are a mystery.

      1. No problem, it’s incredibly frustrating and I’m happy you are still covering the issue. Unfortunately the media, like always, has lost interest.
        Banging your head on a wall is more productive than trying to get answers from the OSPCA

  2. The OSPCA claims 15 pets were stolen by staff members and are investigating.
    Unfortunately the numbers the OSPCA have released change continuously and there is no accounting for their accuracy. A true independent/external investigation that reports back to a body independent of the OSPCA needs to take place. Otherwise I fear many animals’ lives will have been lost in vein, concealed by the ever changing numbers.

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