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The Toronto Humane Society's Annual General Meeting was held two nights ago and five of the board seats were up for grabs. Four board members were seeking re-election: Marcie Laking (President), Dr. Karen Nasir, Stephen Steele (Treasurer) and Wendy Strickland (Vice President). Along with Dean Maher, these five candidates comprised the board endorsed slate and all five were elected.

I've always had the utmost respect for Marcie especially since that time we drove to Montreal for a vacation of cleaning poopy dog cages on hands and knees, getting dog pooped on in the car and carrying scared, poopy dogs around to bring them outside for their walks. She's a no nonsense President who isn't above getting her hands poopy when necessary.

Dr. Karen Nasir is a vet - one of two vets on the THS board. She gave the most eloquent speech, I thought, quoting Ghandi (you know, The greatness of a nation etc.) and another famous guy I can't remember (I should've taken notes but the seats were too jammed packed and I'd already knocked a cup of water out of Johanna Booth's hand and onto my shoe giving myself a soaker and so I wasn't going to be swinging my elbow around trying to write because who knows what further damage that would've caused). Karen also does track days on a motorcycle which may not have anything to do with being on the board of an animal charity but it is kinda cool.

Stephen Steele, I have never met but he gave a good speech about how the THS board is the best board he's ever been on and he's been on lots of them being one of those movers and shakers who does those sorts of things. He also seems like a good treasurer type in that he wasn't too crazy and sounded like he knows some math or at least knows his way around a calculator.

Wendy Strickland is a very well respected long time volunteer at the THS. Wendy gave by far the most heart felt speech of the evening and got a loud round of applause and cheering from the audience. I think she might have gotten a bit emotional by the end of her speech but I'm not sure because I was distracted by that water I'd spilled on my shoe which was soaking through and making my socks wet. I hate that feeling.

Dean Maher, I have never met and don't really know much about him but the people around me seemed to like him so I checked his name off on my ballot.

There were a bunch of other people running under the banner "Animals First" or something like that. They had names like Bob and Tim and some other names and they mostly complained about how terrible Toronto Animal Services is which made it seem like they were running for a management position at TAS instead of a board seat at the THS. Think of the kittens, Tim said at one point and I did and I thought about this cat which was trapped and left to die in a ceiling at the THS when Tim and Bob and those other names were in charge of the place. Unfortunately, there were police present so I couldn't throw my wet shoe at anyone.

Anyway, congratulations to the elected board members. I know you'll do your best to continue to improve the Toronto Humane Society and I'm looking forward to an even stronger and greater life saving partnership between the Toronto Humane Society and Toronto Animal Services.

16 Comments to “Toronto Humane Society stays on course”

  1. selkiem says:

    Good synopsis Fred, but hey, could you and James and the guys stop killing all the damn strays we dump on you? Along with the what? 6,000 cats you kill each month? Wasn't that the number Tim/Bob accused you guys of slaughtering each month? I think I want them doing my income tax - I like their creative use of numbers! Seriously, I was glad to see everyone be civilized about things. Also felt the tempo of the meeting was far more professional ... all in all, vast improvement over last year's

  2. GoLightly says:

    (collapses with relief)

    Reason has won, those names... Gone?

    That was totally hilarious, and excellent. Thank you!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Unless you are too young or a newcomer to Toronto you will know of the many takeovers of the Toronto Humane Society Boards over the years. Remember Tom Hughes, Vicki Miller and others? Sadly given this history one day Marcie Laking may be as reviled as Tim Trow is today. I hope not for she seems to be good for the THS ! But as hard it is for some to believe given the current spin Tim Trow was also once greatly admired. if for nothing more than working to get the poor Carriage horses taken off Toronto's streets. Anyone who saw them struggling through heavy traffic, noise and the 30+ degree heat of Toronto's steamy summer will at least think of him kindly at times. You've won give it a rest.

  4. Anonymous, what happened to those carriage horses? Did they go to a happy retirement on a farm, or were they sent to slaughter for meat?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Social Mange, probably even more cynical than you, I too always expect the worst ! I think the carriage horses retired well given the public outcry, but believe me I know that most of the bad things done to animals are out of the public's eye. Even in the most respected institutions. Still if nothing more resulted from the ban than horses never having to pull carriages through the streets of Toronto isn't that a good thing? Toronto is respected around the caring world for the ban (see the carriage horse sites) and that's not a bad thing either!

  6. Fred says:

    Anonymous, as long as Trow tries to stage comebacks to the THS, I will not give it a rest. When people run for office, the voters are allowed to critique before, during and after the election. Them's the breaks in a democracy.

    I'm glad you think Marcie's doing a good job for the THS. One day, she may start doing a lousy job, at which point I will start criticizing her. Of course, one day, she may be doing an even better job, in which case she will continue to get my support. The crazy antics of THS past do not necessarily predict the future - unless you let the crazy past sneak back in.

  7. Anonymous says:

    That you bring up the cat in the ceiling as if it was for real, proves that you really know do not know the facts. It is disheartening that people are so intent on hating Tim Trow that they don't care about the facts. It is a fact that TAS euthanized almost 6,000 cats last year (almost a 50% euth rate). This info was obtained by Trow through a FOI request and is posted on his website. But if you don't want to believe it, it was also reported in the METRO newspaper a couple of weeks ago.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Fred you are a hero to me but you must know that "democracy", "critique" and "crazy" mean different things to different people. So please do keep an eye on the Toronto Humane Society for all of us in Toronto who have kept it going over the years. Through volunteering at the shelter during its battle with the union, "older ladies" slopping out cages of worm filled faeces with the best. When City council and OSPCA tried to close THS down we fought. We have rejoiced in THS good times and there were some! And felt betrayal at its bad times and there were some. One good time certainly being NOW with the wonderful feral cat programs and compassionate workers and volunteers. Perhaps I am too sensitive and see on going critique from the winner as "hitting a man when he is down" Them's the breaks of being a being a dreaded tree hugger we try to protect everything! and often fail! Good luck Fred I shall just enjoy your photographs and keep quiet from now on!

  9. Fred says:

    You're saying the cat in the ceiling wasn't for real? If you can prove it was a fake, I'll post it.

    Also, I didn't say TAS didn't euth all those cats. The number of cats that are killed at TAS is way too high a number. I know that but that doesn't change my opinion that Trow was a lousy president of the THS in his final years.

    I'm not trying to kick Trow when he's down. I'm trying to keep him from becoming THS president again and that's because I want to see the most number of animals saved in the best way possible. Even if I didn't like Trow personally, if I thought he would do the best job of saving the animals, I'd support him.

    The politics of animal welfare mess people up. I see it all the time. I see it in myself. So maybe you're right. Maybe there was a side to Trow once upon a time I don't know about.

  10. Anonymous never truly answered the question.

  11. As for the cats euthanized by TAS...THS under Tim Trow adopted out sexually intact animals, thereby probably contributing to the excessive number of cats surrendered to pounds. NO reputable rescue or shelter adopts out sexually intact animals.

  12. olddog says:

    Posting as anonymous I said I would not join the TAS/THS fray again. But I just wanted to say that not everyone posting as anonymous is the same person. In my anonymous post I did not mention the cat in the ceiling or the TAS euthanasia rate. For I believe that the gentle death of euthanasia is often the last kindness that can be given when there is no hope for a cure or for a life free of misery. I also believe that many concerned people are working extremely hard with feral cat colonies, adoptions and the proposed spay neuter clinics to try to ensure that eventually no healthy cat will have to be euthanized. Until then we should all support any good we see being done for animals wherever it comes from, take the good and not quibble about our differences.

  13. Anonymous says:

    You said the cat was "trapped and left to die in a ceiling at the THS". The cat's body was planted there deliberately before a "tip" was called in to the OSPCA. Many of the staff have always known this. The body was found in a spot directly above a high traffic area and where people congregated. The body was identified via microchip and was a cat that had been euthanized by THS. Some months before this, shelter staff at THS had been warned about removing animal remains and told to treat animal remains with dignity.
    I don't care about Tim Trow!! I do care about 6,000 cats being euthanized last year at TAS!!

  14. Fred says:

    Anon, sorry that's not proof. That's hearsay. Many of the staff also know the lengths to which the old THS management would have gone to hide the truth. Still, your comment is posted so readers can make of it what they will.

    If you care about the cats being euthanized at TAS then please do something about it if you're aren't already. Volunteer and help get more cats adopted. Help with spay neuter release programs. And most importantly, contact your city councilor to pressure the city towards a no-kill solution - which, by the way, can only happen if THS, TAS and all the local rescue groups work together.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I'm not talking about "old THS management". Again, people really don't want to hear the truth!! Fred you should stick to your photographs!!

  16. Fred says:

    Don't be silly. Of course I'm not going to stick to my photographs. This is my blog and I can choose to post what I want. You can choose to debate these matters in an adult and logical manner or you can choose to ignore my posts. As I've said, if you have proof, and not just hearsay, then point me to it and I'll post it for all to read. If the OSPCA is guilty of planting evidence as you are accusing them of doing, then they deserve to be called on it.

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A request

The reason for this blog is to help get specific dogs adopted from TAS but equally important is to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals. The single greatest stigma shelter animals still face is the belief that shelter animals are substandard animals. Anyone who has had enough experience with shelter animals knows this is untrue but the general public hasn't had the same experiences you've had. They see a nice dog photo in a glossy magazine and too many of them would never think of associating that dog with a dog from a shelter. After all, no one abandons perfectly good dogs, right? Unfortunately, as we all know, perfectly good dogs are abandoned all the time.

The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

So, here's the favour I'm asking. Whenever you see a dog picture on these pages you think is decent enough, I'd like you to consider sharing it on Facebook or any other social media sites you're using (I know many of you do this already and thank you for that). And when you share it, please mention that the dog in the photo is a shelter dog like so many other shelter dogs waiting for a home. If we can get even five percent of the pet buying public to see shelter dogs differently, to see how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are, and to consider shelter dogs as their first choice for a new family member, we can end the suffering of homeless pets in this country.