Canadians Step Up for Animal Advocacy: Protesting Unreasonable Animal Euthanization

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.

Image Credit: HeraldPost via flickr/CC License

11 thoughts on “Canadians Step Up for Animal Advocacy: Protesting Unreasonable Animal Euthanization”

  1. Thank you for posting this information. I am not sure where your readership is from but it doesn't matter. The world needs to know this is happening. I am one of the protesters who have been at the Newmarket shelter. There will be a huge protest taking place in the future. We are not going away any time soon. We need laws changed. It doesn't matter now who is responsible. What matters is that we put the right people in office who will carry out their duties in order to help animals, not kill them. Politicians need to recognize the important of pets to many, many owners who are also voters. Thank you again for your time and attention. If you like I will keep up updated on any new information resulting from our protests.

  2. This has to do with the government because they passed laws that gives the OSPCA not only power as a charity (which received over $4 million government dollars last year) but as investigators of animal cruelty, who do not even answer to the police! When you have an organization with an obvious conflict of interest (in this case, the OSPCA would have been "investigating" their own actions for animal cruelty had the public not LOUDLY protested and eventually forced them to call for an independent investigation), there needs to be a separation of powers. The OSPCA has been given more power by the Ontario government than Children's Aid has! And when there was an obvious misuse of power and judgement at the OSPCA, every member of the government that should have had the authority to call for an inquest suddenly said "I don't have the power to do that". This situation is not only highlighting the fact that shelters in Canada are euthanizing far more than they should be (check out the "Stop the Slaughter fb group posted above, one of the reasons on the OSPCA's list of acceptable reason to slaughter animals is ear mites – and those are not usually a life threatening illness either), but also on the fact that Ontario dropped the ball when it came to animal welfare legislation.

  3. Peter – sadly they are also responsible for moderating behavior in the humane societies and other shelters, which makes it even scarier! And yep, my husband has had ringworm on a couple of different ocassions in his life (from who knows where)…people are responsible for spreading it too. I’d be pretty disappointed were they to follow through on that with humans, but maybe I should be looking into life insurance considering his history πŸ˜‰

    Selkie – yes, the remaining 100 are being “individually evaluated” and if necessary euthanized, though definitely at a slower pace while putting more “thought” into the options (apparently). Still not right, but at least some notice was taken followign the bad publicity.

    Amy – very true, although from my understanding it only applies to those that were born following the pit bull ban that has been in place for quite a few years (I’d have to check the dates, but I believe it’s those under the age of 4 or 5 who in theory were bred illegally.) Otherwise, there is a strike 3 rule for reports of aggression or improper care by owners (like failure to abide by the muzzle rule that’s part of the same law). I don’t agree wtih it at all, particularly since ANY aggression with ANY breed is usually a result of mistreatment, irresponsibility, or poor training from the owner. Those that exhibit signs need to be rehabillitated and perhaps removed from homes if they demonstrate they are a danger only. Very good point!!

    Jeannie – nothing more to say but yes!

    Kel – thank you for everything you’re doing. We all need to try and make a difference in some way or another to put a stop to things like this. People may not realize it, but simply by showing support on commenting on related articles can have a bearing!!

  4. Unfortnately, they are STILL killing them… just more quietly. The OSPCA is notorious for its euthaniza policy and due to the Liberal government, there is currnetly NO recourse, agency, ombudsman, government department or board that can control them. They are, for all intents and purposes, above the law.

  5. Something else that deserves attention is the Ontario Liberal Party's law that calls for the euthanization of all pit bulls, regardless of whether or not they have ever shown aggression in their lives. Puppies included. Innocent lives are taken simply because of how they look.

  6. Peter Van Dalen

    I thought that OSPCA stood for
    Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. I think they
    should change the name as they clearly are not protecting the animals by
    euthanizing them. Not sure how you feel, but euthanasia is a pretty
    cruel punishment for a disease that can be treated. Why dont the police
    do so…mething about this instead of wasting time
    harassing the T.H.S.The OSPCA is completely out of control it seems.
    Way to go Dalton McGuilty, another screw up from the shameful Liberal

    Time to send the Liberal Government a strong message in the next election as they have clearly lost all touch with reality.

    1. I'm no fan of politicians of any stripe but I don't see how this has anything to do with McGuinty. Both Godfrey and MacDonald were appointed by the OSPCA board of directors, not the provincial government.

      The McGuinty government did bring in the flawed pit-bull ban but unfortunately an ignorant public was, and still is behind them on that count. There is a private member's bill on the table to rescind the ban but the uninformed public does not want it overturned so it does not stand a chance.

  7. Fantastic article. Thank you!!! I haven't slept in days because I have been doing everything I could to fight against this atrocity!! Thank you for taking the time to write this. It means a lot!

  8. Do not kill for conditions that are treatable.It is not the fault of the animals that they are homeless or sick-it is the fault of humans.Even though many people feel that animals are replaceable,look alike & act alike-they are not.Each & every one is a living,breathing,voiceless,defenseless & beautiful being.Wer as humans are supposed to protect,care for & do everything in our power to make them happy & comfortable.A LIFE IS A LIFE-DOES NOT MATTER WHAT SPECIES OR BREED!ALL LIFE DESERVES TO LIVE & LIVE FREE OF HARM,BUSE,EGLECT,DANGER & MURDER!

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