/CNW/ – Frank Addario, criminal lawyer has been retained to represent several directors of the Toronto Humane Society and contest charges laid by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA), Bob Hambley, President announced today.
Mr Addario immediately identified several troubling issues with the conduct of the investigation to date.
Bob Hambley, President of the Toronto Humane Society
We are disappointed that we continue to be denied access to our facility. We vehemently disagree with the tactics and assertions of the OSPCA and are now working with our counsel to address this situation so that we can return to providing the highest standards of care to the animals entrusted to us.
Joan Milne, Board Member and Vice President of the THS
For more than 30 years I have worked to better the lives of sick, injured and abandoned animals. During this time I have served both the OSPCA and the Toronto Humane Society. For anyone to suggest we would be involved in, or allow there to be neglect of animals is preposterous, I have spent my life caring for animals.
Frank Addario, Criminal Lawyer
It is well known in the animal-care industry that the OSPCA and the THS have been at odds for several decades. The dispute is jurisdictional, professional and philosophical. This chapter is the latest in a series of disagreements between the parties. The raid needs to be seen in the context of that dispute.
These charges relate to allegations that are 6 months old and have already been litigated before the Animal Care Review Board. That Board is currently deciding the outcome of a dispute initiated by the OSPCA. The current investigation side-steps that process. We respect the Board and the process so we will not comment on that issue until the ACRB rules.
The activities of the Toronto Humane Society are regularly reviewed by several independent and unquestionably authoritative bodies. For example:
The College of Veterinarians of Ontario conducted a thorough site accreditation investigation last month as part of normal practices. The Toronto Humane Society received its Certificate of Accreditation for the Companion Animal Hospital November 19, 2009.
Revenue Canada conducted an audit of the Societys finances in September 2009 and raised no issues regarding the organizations finances.
KPMG annually reviews the financial accounts of the Toronto Humane Society. Audited financial statements are presented to and approved by members each year at the annual general meeting.
There are reasonable arguments on both sides of the euthanasia debate. There is no right and wrong but only reasonable opinions held by people on both sides. The THS has been unfairly demonized in the last 5 days. The OSPCA does not have a monopoly on caring for animals. We think that when the matter gets before a judge that the reasonableness of our approach will be shown.
The THS board is occupied by people of good faith with a long-standing and proud history in animal welfare. The claims about their conduct, made in the last week, are extremely unfortunate and not accurate. We will fight the charges vigorously.