Thursday, December 9, 2021

an update to my previous post on the Nova Scotia SPCA

 Well they did it - In late September I wrote a post critical about the Nova Scotia SPCA - that they had begun importing dogs from the United States - that they had seen other groups importing dogs and they just could not resist all the money being made off the backs of dogs from the USA and the easy money they created and the absolute un ending treadmill that has been created down there - the un ending amount of dogs available to come up here - the free money that's been created - what the NS SPCA calls "nice dogs at a reasonable price" that they can now give the people of Nova Scotia - because we've been so successful with the no kill paradigm here that revenue stream has really dried up for them so they need to try something new - and that new thing is American dogs.  In my previous post I laid it out.

But as I feared the current management didn't like that - if you scroll to the top of this blog in a non mobile version you'll see a search box and if you type in "SPCA" you'll see page after page after page of posts on this blog where I talk about the SPCA - in all previous iterations of management and board for the SPCA they have never had a problem with me talking about them and also volunteering with them - only this current management has gotten more sour and more sour over time - until now when I have once again - been turfed - and in a very negative way - saying that I've been aggressive and actually threatened to punch people in the face - yet refuse to provide me with an proof of such violence.

So as a final fuck you to them - I have sent the person I would have "reported to" a final letter and what you see below is the letter.

I have decided to leave the world of animal advocacy - the world of animal advocacy does not want me anymore - obviously - so after this post I am just going to become a regular dog owner - I am too old and too sick to be told the things that I have been accused of this last week. I have asked a couple people if I'm crazy - seemingly just a simple question - and no one will tell me I'm not crazy - so obviously I am crazy - not an exteral thing I want to manifest.

So I'm withdrawing from society henceforth.

And here's the letter.  Goodbye


 This is the last missive I am going to be sending your organization, I’m not into self flagellation but some points need to be cleared up – so here we go. 

 I find my dismissal from the auspices from the NS SPCA (again) to be highly problematic – considering I have been in your good graces for a long time – receiving a “Golden Paw” award and glowing cards from you in particular in recent years – yet as soon as I wrote a blog post that your management doesn’t like – within a matter of a couple weeks – I’m removed from the organization because I’m a violent person who seemingly isn’t fit to be around other humans. 

So let’s break it down. 

June 17, 2021 – Incident with Courtney Barber – you said that I verbally abused you – screaming and yelling at you and pushing my body into you. You know of course that there was more than you and me in the room so other people than you can attest to what went on in the room that afternoon. 

We were having a conversation about you firing Nancy Wentzell – and I was not the only person involved in that conversation – there were other people involved – and not the only one talking that animatedly – and as well – you were standing on one side of one of the sorting tables and I was standing on the other side – there was no time that I was “pushing my body into you” – that is ludicrous – and Courtney – to tack that on – I don’t know what you’re trying to do with that – is just beyond – the other people in the room will back me up - I’ve talked to them – I was in no way physically aggressive to you 

September 19, 2021 – multiple staff and volunteers witnessed me threatening to punch another volunteer in the face and continue to express that threat on the thrift store sales floor – after this incident the thrift store volunteer coordinators sat down with me to discuss my behaviour 

 Now this is where you are just going too far – and if you are going this far with me – someone who has a public persona – someone who could go public and really embarrass you – what are you doing to people who have no way to fight back? I mean, this one is truly disgusting Courtney. So September 18th – a Saturday – I called in sick – but September 19th – a Sunday – I went in – obviously it must have been short because Sundays are a day I just do not come in for – so you saying that there were 3 volunteers on the floor on that day is a bold faced lie just right there – there wouldn’t be 3 volunteers to be out on the floor on a Sunday afternoon to never come back – sorry – you got caught in your lie right there but I’ll continue on. 

I’ll tell you what happened on that Sunday, and what happened subsequently – you probably know what happened – but I’m just putting it out there for my own satisfaction because it’s actually the truth, so here it is. I arrived for the afternoon shift – but it’s a 2-4 shift since on the weekends the store closes at 4 so most people come in at 12 to make the shift worthwhile – and that’s what I did – arrive at 12 – and working the back that morning was the student Kira and a lady by the name of Charlene – I don’t know what her last name was – I’d never met her before – but I came in and did my normal stuff checking things out – and someone had piled 3 cardboard boxes on top of the garbage can. 

Why would someone do that? Why wouldn’t they just break down the boxes and put them in the garbage bin – which is what someone coming in behind them would have to do? Charlene said she didn’t do it “Because of her back” – she seemed to have no problem lifting heavy boxes and bags out of the donation bins and moving them over to the donation sorting tables – and I pointed that out to her. She seemed to become agitated by that. I was certainly agitated and instead of continuing to be agitated I left the store until my scheduled start time of 2 pm. I went down to the waterfront that’s close to the store- it’s beautiful down there – you should go there – or don’t. I don’t care. 

So that was my first encounter with Charlene – my 2nd encounter with her was another time I came in for an afternoon shift but I didn’t even notice her because I guess she left as soon as she saw me and I was fine with that because I figure if someone has a problem with me – that’s their problem – not my problem – so if she wants to leave – that’s perfect. 

And my 3rd interaction was cut off at the pass by you – when you sent out an email to me just before my shift – meant for just me. It was sent late Saturday afternoon – “Just a reminder for all volunteers to adhere to the scheduled start times of your shift on the Signup Genius. Thank you for all your help and for volunteering at the Store. Ian, Gary and Courtney” – so that was a pretty clear message to me that I was not allowed to come any earlier than 2pm to the Donna Kristine and Charlene show at the thrift store – so I didn’t. So that was the end of the Charlene problem I thought – especially once I heard that she’d gone south for 6 months – but I guess I am still in trouble over Charlene – for invisible lying problems now – things that I actually did not do – for problems that are verifiably proven that I did not do – unless you can provide me with proof – and you refuse to provide me with any proof – I did not do any of these things you are accusing me – I can prove that I did not do these things – you cannot prove that I did these things. 

November 28th, 2021 I became angry when a volunteer, who came into help as she was aware the store was short on helping hands forgot to put her name in the volunteer schedule and brought her dog. I was pushing past this volunteer, making them feel unsafe and uncomfortable. I then began to spray a fragrance after being told that the volunteer in question was allergic. 

Where do I begin with this? I have only had two interactions with Monie – the first was a Monday and the second was this Sunday – both times she had neglected to sign in with the Sign in Genius so I had no way to know that she was going to be there – so how am I to know that someone who hates me is going to be there? If I had known Monie was going to be there – I would have of course NOT signed up to be there – I would have of course stayed at home and let her come in with her dog and let her have a lovely morning but she did not do that – there are obviously rules for everyone else and rules for me – because you can clearly see she broke two rules this Sunday morning – because you see an email was sent to me on Saturday September 25, 2021 saying that I’m only allowed to come in for my scheduled shifts – and early on in the stores life – I was told that we were NOT allowed to bring dogs with us when we volunteered – this came up because I was thinking about starting to train one of my dogs as a service dog – and you were thinking this might not be possible – and you eventually had to give in and let me bring him with me – I eventually failed my dog as a service dog for reasons I won’t get into – but it was very clear we are not allowed to bring our dogs with us when we volunteer – and last Sunday – here was Monie – a person who I do not get along with – showing up for a shift- she did not sign up for – WITH A DOG. Of course I was agitated –who would not be agitated by that? 

I was going to leave- but I am a good volunteer – there were a lot of donations – we were behind and an extra hand was needed – so I stayed. We got some room spray in – I sprayed one little spray to see what it smelled like – Monie had to walk right by me to smell it – she COULD NOT SMELL IT from where she was standing at – she could only smell it when she walked past my station. I did not know Monie’s name she was so sullen – the suggestion that I had some prior knowledge of her allergy situation is so ludicrous it borders on the insane – “that the volunteer was allergic” – I mean, really. So Monie left – I Stayed until the end of my shift – so who’s the good volunteer? 

And to the “counselling session” I was given by Gary and Ian to “discuss my behaviour” – what they literally said to me – and it was just Gary – not Ian – only Gary talked to me – Ian was not involved at all – he said “you know, some people just don’t get along – and we have to honour that” – and I said I agree with that – and he said to not come in on shifts that you know you don’t get along with people – and I said I wouldn’t – and that was that – that was the extent of the counselling session – so if you think he was being clear with me about me threatening to punch other volunteers? That did not happen – especially since I DID NOT threaten to punch any volunteers – at any time – ever in my life. Ever – and you know it and so does Gary and so does Ian and so does Elizabeth and Karen and So does Sandra. 

You have to realize that you are dismissing me for the exact same reasons that the corrupt board dismissed me in 2008, right? “Failure to act in a manner consistent with the core values of our organization”. In 2008 the exact words were “have become an adversary of the Society” – and at that time it was voted on by the board – and it was unanimous – was my ouster this time voted on by the board or just you guys? Like how are things decided nowadays? 

That would be an interesting question to answer – one I’m sure I won’t get an answer for - I mention somewhere else that I wanted proof for the allegations against me – and Elizabeth refused to supply any to me – HER exact words were “I can think of no legal grounds upon which we would be compelled to give them to you. What you are requesting includes notes from statements given by other people and those people have a right to have their privacy protected while the SPCA has the right to control access to its own internal file materials”. What a load of bullshit is that, eh? 

Elizabeth right there is compelling me to sue her for the reports – because you are a private agency – if you were a government agency I could do a FOIPOP on you for the reports – but since you are a private company, essentially – there’s nothing I can do – and I’m sure you have a smile on your face as you’re reading this. 

That’s why I think you should have your designation either changed to a business – and you should start paying taxes – because you seek out animal control contracts throughout the province to generate income – or you should become a government agency and finally actually become a humane organization and not have any animal control contracts at all – and also be subject to FOIPOP – and finally be accountable for what you do behind closed doors – because your organization really seems to be teetering on the edge of how you were back in 2008 – if you are treating humans as badly as I’ve witnessed you doing in the last couple years – and it’s not just me – it’s many people – I worry about the animals - in 2008 you were killing animals for pleasure - what is happening behind closed doors now. 

In my meeting with you Sandra asked me why I volunteered with the SPCA if I hated the organization so much – and I have to ask – where have I said anywhere anytime that I hate the SPCA? I have been involved with and volunteering with the SPCA since 2002 – almost 20 years – and Sandra said “So have we” – and the difference between you and me is – you are paid money for your involvement – I PAY MONEY for my involvement – and I have paid a lot of money at the store for my involvement – a minimum of $20 every shift I worked there + a $5 donation (and I have been there since the day the store opened)  – which you will not not receive – but I have loved the NS SPCA and that is why I have stayed involved – I have loved the mandate of the NS SPCA and that is why I have hated to see it sullied – when the management at the top was corrupt I worked hard to see them gone – I have a very high sense of conscience – when Ian was trying to price something and wasn’t using the stores pricing structure – I made him angry – which was probably another reason why I’m not longer at the store – but that is life I guess – you’ve got to pay for the salaries somehow I guess. 

And it was your failure as a manager that led to the tribalism between the Nancy and Donna crews – you totally abandoned the Dartmouth store – maybe the other stores needed more management direction – maybe the Dartmouth store was running well enough – but that left the store to run like it eventually did – into the tribalism that it did – and it’s not Nancy or Donna’s fault – it’s your fault – and you should take ownership for that – because you abandoned the store – there’s a lot to repair for that – just because Nancy is gone (Donna is back so I can’t say she’s gone too) – doesn’t mean that the tribalism is gone – and just because I’m gone doesn’t mean the cattiness and meanness of the ladies who agitated me is going to be gone either – Bonie et al are all still there. 

I’ve seen Gary being very mean to Ian – that doesn’t lead to a nice management structure – but it’s pretty de rigueur for the Nova Scotia SPCA I guess – Gary will work out perfectly long term. He might even move up the ladder. To where I have no idea. 

Up until now I didn’t think you had it in you to do something this deep down and dirty – I always thought of Sandra as being the woman who loved pit bulls and brought them in from Ontario and Quebec to save them, I thought of Karen as being the woman who nursed Shadow the great dane back to health from the edge of death – but I guess I was wrong 

I am just so confused because I know you are lying – how do you feel like you are allowed to lie and you’re able to get away with it – I guess you are allowed to get away with it – but this letter is my little attempt to fight back – it won’t go anywhere – this is just my little stab back at you – my little holler into the wilderness – I hope it keeps you up a bit at night.

I guess it’s because the cruelty has become the point – and when that happens at the top of any organization – there is a problem – I’m too sick and old to fight at this point – which is good for you – I don’t know what it’s going to take at this point to make necessary changes – but it won’t be me who’s going to do them – so do what you like with an organization that one time was venerated – with the current people running it – it is anything but. 

And to do what you all did just before Christmas too. Merry fucking Christmas to you too. 


And ps – this is now my signature scent whenever I leave the house – if you’re ever looking for a present for me in the future – it’s “Bath and Body Works Pink Chiffon” scent – it’s awesome :) 

 Joan Sinden