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Letter to the editor

The president's response Add to ...

Thank you for recognizing the changes at The Toronto Humane Society from a "killing" society to a caring facility.

We are the first to acknowledge the challenges of caring for about 10,000 animals each year, but I clarify the following:

1. The advice of junior veterinarians is not "dismissed" but is taken into account by the chief veterinarian, who is the manager of veterinary services, including euthanasia. This is a proper reporting relationship.

2. Harley was not given to an adoptive family "with a broken leg." Rather, Harley has a limp because her leg had been broken and had healed prior to coming to the society. Our chief veterinarian and an outside consulting surgeon (in a reporting letter) determined that Harley is not a candidate for further treatment and can live her life normally. At the Toronto Humane Society, animals, including Harley, receive a vet check, shots and any necessary treatment prior to adoption.

3. Bobik passed away one day after being admitted to the clinic by his palliative foster parent. He was under the care of the society veterinarian and an outside veterinary practitioner during his life and at the end. Bobik received excellent care and love until he passed away and was in no way neglected. He is an example of volunteers and professional staff working together to help the animals.

4. Animals are not "living in their own excrement." At present, there are about 1,000 animals in the shelter and there is a large professional cleaning staff who clean their cages on an ongoing basis all day, every day. Just as in a home, cats have a litter box and dogs get three walks a day outside in the dog park.

5. It is inaccurate that cats die unattended. Sick animals do pass away under veterinary care in the clinic and nurseries in the same way sick people pass away in a hospital. The point is that sick animals are given a chance, not simply euthanized on entry because they are abandoned and homeless. We are proud of this and our members support it. Animals are never alone, the society has management and staff in place 24/7 and ongoing access to private emergency clinics if needed.

6. Many of the pictures posted on The Globe and Mail's website are prejudicial as these animals in our clinic are sick under veterinary care and receiving treatment. All animals in all clinics look sad when they are ill.

7. It is not now, nor has it ever been, the policy of the society to refuse to admit any animals in need. Animals are not turned away.

Tim Trow, president, Toronto Humane Society

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