Imagine this infection spread to most people in the building.
Imagine it was too expensive or time consuming to treat, so the governing body of the apartment complex decided that everybody in the building – whether infected or not with this treatable disease – had to be euthanized. Killed.
This is only imaginary, thank goodness. Because something like this would never happen… to humans.
Something like this is happening right now however, to dogs, cats, and other animals - about 350 of them.
An animal shelter just north of Toronto, in Newmarket, is in the process of killing 350 furry creatures that may or may not be infected with ringworm, because of human error.
Six staff members also contracted the mild disease. Why not put them down too?
“We have some standard protocols as would any shelter when there is an outbreak of this type,” said Kate MacDonald, the CEO of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
“Unfortunately, we have determined in this situation that due to human error, the protocols were not followed.”
MacDonald would not say which protocols were compromised, but did say she believes it was not “willful.”
The treatment for incompetency is yet to be discovered.
The treatment for ringworm on the other hand, was discovered many years back. The fungal infection (also the cause of athlete’s foot) is treated with three antibiotics and a special twice-weekly shampoo.
So, why destroy 350 innocents when there is a proven, accepted, well-known fix?
In 2007, the OSPCA had a budget of over $11 million, more than half of which came from donations.
Granted, ringworm can be difficult to control in a crowded environment, such as the overcrowded (and well-funded) Newmarket shelter.
As such, many rescues, volunteers, organizations, and members of the community have stepped forward, hoping they could help find a solution other than slaughter.
The shelter is in lockdown though, barred by police and security. Nobody can enter the premises.
People have offered to adopt animals, and pay for medication at their own expense. The OSPCA refused the help. It poses a threat to its liability.
But, isn’t it already grossly liable?
Even the embattled Humane Society, recently chastised by the OSPCA for its cruelty towards animals, disagrees with MacDonald’s handling of the situation.
In a press release issued Monday, its president, Bob Hambley stated, “This type of action to respond to a treatable condition such as ringworm is unprecedented. The OSPCA is taking the easy solution rather than working to save animals lives.”
An Oshawa-based Humane Society has had two ringworm outbreaks in the last 10 years. It never even lost one animal to the non-deadly disease.
MPP Frank Klees (Newmarket- Aurora) has called upon Ontario’s premier, Dalton McGuinty to step in immediately. But the OSPCA is an arms-length agency of government, so the province does not have the legislative power to intervene.
This is an organization that reports to no one, acts autonomously, and polices itself.
And it gets away with murder.
Now, Kate MacDonald and the OSPCA want to start over by wiping the blood-stained slate clean.
So, let’s start with the Web site.
The shelter’s site proclaims, “Protecting Animals since 1873.”
Well, its tombstone should read, “Protected Animals: 1873 – Kate MacDonald.”
We have the voice to speak out against the Holocaust. We have the voice to speak up and help out those devastated in Haiti. We need the voice to help members of our society, who live right here. Right now.
They don’t have a voice.
Let’s give them one.
Note: After the publish time of this story, the chairman of the Ontario SPCA, Rob Godfrey, said about 20 animals that are less severely infected have now been identified and will be put into isolation at other vets’ offices.