Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More SPCA Politics

You know, I have to admit that I am actually getting tired of NS SPCA politics. I have to say that I am. I don't know what that means. I know I'm going to get comments to this post telling me "that's good, maybe now you'll shut up about it", and maybe I should - but a couple things today have actually.... you know how when you take a deep breath and there's like a plateau - and you breathe deeper than that - and then you exhale? And it feels a certain way? Well that's how I'm feeling tonight about the NS SPCA. It's like - what's the point. There's nothing there. It's all been exhaled.

I was reading Granny's blog tonight, which is a fabulous local blog and she talks about the NS SPCA even more than me - and she wrote a post about something that I didn't know about - I hope she doesn't mind that I'm going to quote her -

it's from Friday August 29, 2008 - "the more things change, the more they stay the same"

SPCANS now posts the 'publicly available' portion of their BOD minutes on their website. http://www.spcans.ca/

The following are excerpts from the 28 July BOD meeting. ( http://www.spcans.ca/library/BOD_Minutes/PublicMinutes_2008Jul28.pdf, )
Directors Present: Glenda Amirault, Olivier Berreville, Richard Brezet, Carol Doucet, Gordon Finley, Jill Grafton, Kip Grasse, Mary Hill, James Kochanoff, Andrew Morrison, Nancy Northcott, Betty O’Neill, Darrell Smith

5. Review of revoked memberships
Betty O’Neill raised the issue that some individuals whose memberships were revoked did not feel they received a fair hearing. Jim suggested that the process and policy regarding revoking memberships should be reviewed and possibly revised. Andrew Morrison offered to review the current policies and processes and make recommendations to the Board regarding any potential revisions. It was noted that, if asked, Board members can inform individuals that they can appeal membership decisions.

Motion by Jim Kochanoff for Andrew Morrison to review the policy for revoking memberships.
Motion seconded by Olivier Berreville.
Motion carried by majority vote.
No objections, one abstention

So in other words - the five people (of whom I am one) will only get their memberships back if we appeal on an individual basis to the BOD of the NS SPCA.

I DID receive an email August 27th asking me to write a letter to the Board sending them a letter of appeal if I felt that I had been wronged.

I wrote back the following:

I didn't do anything wrong, so why should I have to write a letter of appeal?

I think what should be done is that the Board should go back to the minutes of the meeting where it was decided that all of our memberships were going to be revoked and take a good long look at the real reason why they did it. And the real motivation behind it. It's not the job of the people who were unlawfully booted out to beg for their memberships back.

In another email exchange with a group of people, the discussion came up that one of the first things a revitalized Board should do is to reinstate the revoked memberships - and I said that was something I did disagree with.

What I said to them was:

I don't think having our memberships reinstated is good enough. When you read our letters - at least mine and Janet Chernin's dismissal letters - the reasons
that they gave us for booting us out amounted to libel - and just giving us back our memberships is glossing over how they were trying to attack our reputations in the dog community. And they did that with the UNANIMOUS consent of the Board of Directors - MOST OF WHOM are still sitting on the Board.

For me - they said I had procured a dog illegally from the NS SPCA - I adopted Jack from the Animal Rescue Coalitions. They were threatening to have their Cruelty Inspectors come to my house to seize Jack from me so that they could put him in a cage.

Simply reinstating our memberships is not good enough in my opinion.

The 5 people who had their memberships revoked were some of the hardest working volunteers - and former board members of the NS SPCA - and they were summarily dismissed by the Board of Directors because they were trying to expose what was going on behind the closed doors of the organization - and I don't think the organization is healthy enough yet to give us our memberships back. I certainly would not feel comfortable getting my membership back. And at this stage I wouldn't accept my membership back because it would feel entirely hollow.

I don't know how everyone else feels - but just having it reinstated is meaningless.

And having to APPEAL - having to BEG to get it back? Is ridiculous.

Granny goes on in her post to say many other things I agree with - so with apologies to her - I'm going to quote them here -

So, unless I am misunderstanding things here, there will be no apologies to any of those whose memberships were revoked. Nobody is going to apologize for threatening to send society cruelty investigators to seize Joans dog Jack and put him in a cage so that they could kill him with the rest of the Celtic Pet Six ( Seven? Eight? Nine? ...... ) Seeing as the head of the Kings County Branch was part of that meeting, chances are pretty slim that any apology is forthcoming from her for revoking the membership of a woman whose rescue has been busy doing the work the society should be engaged in.

Like many others, I was caught up in the moment of new hope. I should have remembered that this is not the first time that the society has promised to mend its ways.

I'll believe they are on a new path when:

- appropriate apologies are issued for revoking memberships of long time members for voicing their differences

- use of the gas chamber by the Cape Breton Branch is no longer acceptable

- partnerships with AC do not inhibit the society's ability to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves,

- and when monthly branch statistics are readily available to the public.

"To cure injustices, you must expose them before the light of human conscience and the bar of public opinion." Martin Luther King Jr

And then this afternoon I have a comment left on my post about "the state of No Kill" -

(and my apologies to people who have been reading this post the evening of September 2nd - I've been coming back and making revisions to this section of the post because I keep finding great things to add to this because of the beautiful things this person said)

"Nothing has changed??? What planet do you live on?

Back in 2001/2 precious few volunteers had been "allowed" to help at the shelter and the Metro shelter did NOT work with any rescues groups and the euthanasia rate was very high.

Also - there is now no gas machine in HRM. A euthanasia rate has decreased from over 50% to less than half that. Taking out one of the rescues YOU promoted. Taking out Elliott that had gone on for years. Taking out the Hazelwood puppy mill. The amount of publicity the animals have received in this Province, from none to a lot. Worked for years for changes to the Animal cruelty and for more investigation money - gov't has now agreed. Worked to increase the money for that HRM contract for years - to help many more animals within HRM. The # of cats altered and adopted and saved through the shelter.

Look at the stats. If you don't know what you are talking about, you should keep quiet."

I think a few of us will know exactly who left that comment. In my post what I said was - "Five years later – nothing had changed."

That was five years after - 2003. Five years AFTER the new regime had taken over. I wasn't talking about what had happened pre coup - I agree that what had been happening before was even worse. The C02 box was being used at the Metro shelter. Judith Gass herself smashed the box so that it could never be used again is what I was told. Beforee the new regime took over in 2002 more than 50% of the animals at Metro were being killed - which was inexcusable - and that was lowered amazingly. But it was never lowered ENOUGH.

And they never did anything about Cape Breton. I should say to the commenter - YOU never did anything about Cape Breton. And you were really the only one who had the ultimate power to do it.

Yes, great things happened in 2002 - that was why I wanted to become involved with the NS SPCA at that time, and I did become involved. And then the great things that were supposed to happen, didn't. Where is the new shelter with the attached dog park? Where is the humane education plan for the whole province? Where is the really GOOD anti-cruelty legislation for the province? Mired in politics and personalities. And that is wrong.

A couple other things the person says in their comment that are very telling - they say that "A euthanasia rate has decreased from over 50% to less than half that." I talk about this above - that it WAS lowered from more than 50% to much lower, but not low enough - and this person comes out and says exactly that - what is less than 50%? 25%!!!!!! That is still ONE IN FOUR animals dying at the Dartmouth shelter - does that sound like a good ratio to you? It sounds pretty shitty to me. Especially in this wonderful age of no kill that they were purportedly going to be embarking upon after their year end report of 2003.

And that's the really tragic thing - there was such promise - the C02 box was gone, they had a firm committment to being a "no kill" shelter, great things were going to happen. And then what happened? They cut the kill rate by more than 1/2 to 22%. You also stopped owner surrenders at the Dartmouth shelters - I bet that helped with the statistics too, didn't it? At least Cape Breton has stayed honest and takes owner surrenders. Where else are people going to dump their garbage? But now I'm starting to get dirty, so I'll stop with that train.

And then this person goes on to say the different places that they shut down - "Taking out Elliott that had gone on for years. Taking out the Hazelwood puppy mill. Taking out one of the rescues YOU promoted.

Well I am sorry - but I was just ONE of the people who supported and promoted "that" rescue - and the person who left that comment was also one of those supporters - so I will NOT be villified as the "person who promoted that rescue". Hindsight is 20/20 and I unfortunately am just like everyone else and not blessed with the powers of seeing through walls and into the future.

And that is why the NS SPCA as far as I'm concerned at this point is a dead organization. It's been completely ruined. Something needs to rise up to replace it, and I hope it does. And I hope I get to be a part of it. And I really hope it's not just more of the same.

And I hope if they use quotes from Nathan Winograd - they really understand what they're quoting from.


  1. Anonymous10:05 PM

    I totally agree Joan; the SPCA is a DEAD ORGANIZATION and something new has to rise from the ASSES OH MY, I'm sorry, I meant ASHES! Judith Gass and Pam stated at the AGM that they "videotaped" Judith beating on the cannisters that were at the gas chamber at metro. I did hear them both saying that. AND Judith SWORE as an "election" promise to GET RID OF THE GAS CHAMBER IN SYDNEY! She's gone, Pam's gone, volunteers are gone, workers are gone and STILL PATSY ROSE HAS THE GAS CHAMBER IN SYDNEY SPCA! Her comment when asked about the gas chamber (by a person in attendance at the AGM) at "her" shelter, she said, "YOU SHOW ME THE MONEY."


  2. Anonymous1:40 AM

    A nice model perhaps: The North Shore Animal League of Port Washington, Long Island, New York.
    No-kill all the way, and very successful.