Hundreds of dogs and cats at the OSPCA in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada were set to be euthanized due to the spread of ringworm amongst shelter animals and people. Many were saved as a result of positive human impact.
Something has been happening in the Toronto area in Canada that hasn’t been receiving the international coverage that is deserves. In the past week, a horrifying situation occurred at the Newmarket OSPCA. After the shelter’s 350 animals were found to have ringworm, the facility announced that all of the resident cats and dogs would be euthanized. Amongst all of the horror, Canadians proved that they will advocate for animal rights despite the belief that North Americans are becoming apathetic to environmental issues.
On Monday, when the initial announcement was made, it was made very clear that all 350 animals at Newmarket’s OSPCA not far from Toronto, Canada would be killed for an illness that could be easily treated. They said that due to “human error” all cats and dogs living at the facility had been infected by ringworm that had also spread to some staff and volunteers. It was the apparent concern that it had spread to humans that seemed to be at the root of the decision. Ringworm, a condition that causes a localized rash and itching in people and is most often treated with cortisone cream, is a minor inconvenience at worst, not a plague to justify putting down hundreds of innocent animals.
With this understanding, Canadians mobilized to protest the mass euthanizations. Animal advocacy groups spoke out along with those with a love for animals to ensure that the injustice of what was happening was heard. While they were successful enough to ultimately stop the killings, the message was not heard right away because 99 animals were still put down.
The injustice of the situation speaks for itself. What should get more focus is that there are still people out there that do care, and that can have an impact when it comes to animal welfare or other environmental issues. Canadians spoke up loudly enough to be heard; enough that the OPSCA retracted their initial statement claiming that they “misspoke” and never intended to put down all dogs and cats at the shelter. Also, more than a dozen mysteriously disappeared from the shelters and it’s been assumed that they were liberated by shelter staff and volunteers who decided to save them from their fate.
The message that’s important to take from this is that apathy is often a result of the belief that effort just won’t make a difference. But people can and they did. All of the animals were not saved, but a large percentage of them have been because people refused to sit back and let life be taken from this planet for nothing.
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