Timing really is everything in life! Five seconds of dithering on the road can be fatal for a little pheasant. Five minutes inattention can change chewy cookies into hockey pucks! Five hours of feasting and holiday partying can undo weeks and weeks of disciplined dieting!
And of course, five days is more than enough time to ready up a renegade shelter for an inspection!
When I was a cook in the military, our kitchens were subject to two types of inspections. The first, done by the Food Services brass, was a scheduled monthly event. No 'stone was left unturned' so to speak ... and the object of course was to 'motivate' managers and staff to stay on the right path!
The second type was done by the medical people ... and was the military equivalent of a public health inspection. No notice was given and indeed the inspections increased in frequency when violations were found!
Not to be mean, but it is the height of romanticism to imagine that the five day gap between dismissal and inspection was not put to good use!
To be perfectly honest, the subject of whether veteranarians without animal sheltering experience are qualified to inspect a shelter is irrelevant.
The inspection was already done last month by sheltering professionals whose own facility has been winning awards and recognition at both the national and international level. It was done by the folks who do have the legislated and legal authority to conduct inspections, correct deficiencies and yes... even dismiss employees, disband branch boards and dissolve branches!
Furthermore, it was done in accordance with the society's own policies and bylaws!
The president of the disbanded board seems to have conveniently forgotten that he voted for and supported any and all administrative changes that have taken place since he was faced with the choice of actually attending meetings or losing his voting rights on the board!
Somewhere along the line, the dismissed shelter manager and disbanded board of directors have conveniently forgotten the following:
- After SPCANS changed their euthanasia policy to ban the use of the gas chamber, the Cape Breton Branch had to formally ask for provincial permission each year at the provincial AGM to continue using the gas chamber
- On Feb 14, 2009, when the Provincial Board ordered them to discontinue using the gas chamber and remove it, the Cape Breton SPCA Branch were required to ... and did... comply
- On that same date, the Branch was required to cease providing an owner requested killing service.
- Additionally, the Branch was no longer permitted to be a killing field for feral cats.
Today ... if the storm doesn't shut all the meetings down ... the CBRM Mayor and Council will be meeting to discuss the Monday's inspection report by the two veterinarians. As I understand it from the Friends of the Sydney SPCA facebook page, the Mayor and Council will also be meeting with the amazing volunteers who were not able to look the other way in the face of wrongdoing.
These volunteers could have done what the dismissed Shelter Manager did over the years. They could have hardened their hearts to the plight of the animals. They could have accepted the status quo.
Instead ... they made a deliberate choice to work for change. In the face of bullying and threats, these 'thoughtful, committed citizens' believe that is is possible to create a better community for themselves and the animals.
What time is it? No matter what happens today ... no matter what the council decides ... no matter how long the dismissed shelter manager and board keep running the renegade shelter ..... it is time to salute the Friends of the Sydney SPCA!
In the days ahead, as these hardworking kind hearts are at work building a better future for the animals in Cape Breton ... it will also be time to support them in practical fashion!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead