It's a tragic story -- one that is not yet with a happy ending, but is a lesson to all of us on how we can make more happy endings, how more cities are creating happy endings, and how it is or moral responsibility to create happy endings.
But it started with a tragedy.
Late last week, in Ontario, six dogs and 19 cats were killed at the Toronto Humane Society. Five of the dogs were described as well-loved by the shelter staff -- and were killed, in large part, because they were "pit bulls" -- which are banned under Ontario's Failing Dog Owner Liability Act.
What makes the deaths of these animals worse is that by all reports the dogs had no issues to speak of and there were rescues set up to take them -- that were willing to give them a second chance. And yet, they were killed anyway.
Here is one THS volunteer's take on the issue (be sure to follow the additional links).
The response in Toronto has been the expected combination of sadness and outrage. And it has been this reaction that has been the voice for potential positive change. Today, there was the announcement that the entire board for the Ontario SPCA, which the Toronto Humane Society reports to, is out. Gone. See ya.
THS will then take over control of their shelter. They're going to find permanent and temporary homes for the 200+ animals at the shelter, and then close the shelter down on April 12th for 45 days. During this time, THS will retrain their staff with the help of an outside consultant so they can be better equipped to run the shelter when they re-open on June 1.
The dramatic change came after citizens, residents and the animal welfare community stepped up and demanded change and demanded new leadership. And like what has happened in other places like Toledo, OH, the general public has decided that it will no longer support the senseless killing of animals in shelters.
There is so much more to the story, and Fred at One Bark at a Time has done brilliant work in bringing out the latest news. Read all about it in sequential order:
Hopefully the lives of these animals will not have been for nothing -- but that they will be the spark that will create positive change in Toronto and will lead to thousands of more animals being saved in the long run. And it shows why we as an animal welfare community MUST demand better of the people who are elected to serve us...and realize that our voices can be heard to make for positive changes for pets in our communities.
And maybe no better message could ever be heard than this one on National No Kill Day.