Monday, December 12, 2011

On trying to squeeze thirty years back in the box .....

from The Cape Breton Post
Humane society wants to delay court hearing
Published on December 11, 2011

Chris Shannon
SYDNEY — Lawyers representing the Cape Breton Humane Society will be seeking a delay in a court hearing scheduled for later this week in order to study the injunction filed against the group by the Nova Scotia SPCA.A motion for an interim injunction is tentatively scheduled for Friday at the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in Sydney. The purpose of the application is to confirm the provincial SPCA’s legal interests and to permit them access to the humane society’s property on East Broadway Street as its the authority of the Animal Protection Act.

The Cape Breton Humane Society said it’s seeking a delay based on the fact the injunction was officially filed with the court on Friday.
“We don’t have enough time to react to what they filed,” humane society board member Danny Ellis said Sunday.
“They didn’t get the information that they were hoping they were going to get, so they revamped their motion making it a more streamlined version that we don’t have time to react to.”
Legal representatives on both sides will meet with the judge today to discuss the case and the potential rescheduling of Friday’s hearing.
A meeting at the humane society’s shelter on Sunday was the first opportunity for the society to update its membership on everything that’s happend over the last three weeks.
On Nov. 16, Nova Scotia SPCA executive director Kristin Williams arrived in Sydney to take over the shelter under the auspices of the provincial body. The local board was dissolved and manager Patsy Rose was fired due to alleged concerns of disease transmission, lack of communication and filing erroneous statistics on intake and adoption rates.
Only members who had fully paid their dues were permitted to attend Sunday’s meeting, said the board’s chair Mike Mombourquette.
Letters were sent out notifying 59 society members of the special meeting.
One woman who contacted the Cape Breton Post on Friday said a friend of hers recently received a handwritten letter in the mail informing her about the membership meeting.
She told the Post her friend had no special connection to the animal shelter, so she thought the meeting was open to the public.
“If somebody received the letter in error, we certainly apologize for that. We were just going by the membership list we had,” Mombourquette said.
“We had a lady come into the meeting, and we just very politely said to her that this was a special membership meeting. She was coming on behalf of a friend of hers, and we said, ‘We certainly apologize. Your friend shouldn’t have received it.’”
During the special meeting, the society’s membership formally appointed Mombourquette interim chair of the board of directors. It also struck a committee to begin the process of selecting a new manager for the shelter.
Rose quit her position two weeks ago. The society cited a “greater level of expertise” would be needed in order to ensure all 27 recommendations to improve the facility would be implemented.
Rose remains employed with the shelter, however.
Well then!   One of the nicest bits about my neighbourhood is that even though we are country ... we are still only a quick drive to the village.   What does that mean in realspeak?  Why of course that anyone having car trouble or simply being sensible about holiday celebrating can easily afford a cab ride home.
What do taxi cab drivers and solicitors have in common?   Why of course that both have a meter that keeps ticking along for the whole trip.
To be perfectly honest, it is no surprise that these folks have no desire to see justice served speedily.  It is not in their best interests to have to go to court!   To have to explain to a judge why they ignored every legal step and directive taken by the only body with the legislated authority to do so!
Mind you, it rather unravels the public professions about not wanting to squander donor dollars on legal fees.   When Mr Mombourqette was explaining to the CTV news cameras that he did not want to have spend donor on legal fees, perhaps he should have qualified that with the caveat "unless things are not going our way".      
After all, it took thirty years to dig themselves into this pit!  Thirty years of merrily whitewashing all the dirty little secrets.   Thirty years of putting on a good face while they kept killing animals in such quantity that they wanted to get a crematorium to make disposing of the bodies more affordable.
Thirty years of ignoring complaints.   Thirty years of bullying volunteers.  Thirty years of redecorating the manager's office instead of addressing the animal housing shortcomings!
Now I am a middle aged grandmother, not an elected politician, so there are a few things about this story that DO still surprise me.
I am at an utter lost to understand how the Mayor and Council were able to blithely ignore the results of the 2011 Shelter Audit.   When they didn't care for the results reported by the only body legislated to do so, what did they do?  Why they commissioned their own independent audit!
When those results painted just as poor a picture, what did the Mayor and Council do?  Why they passed along the half million dollar contract to the renegade shelter anyway.   ( the very interesting subject of later explanations that there actually wasn't a vote could actually make concert scandals in the city positively pale by comparison .... and has very rightfully outraged CBRM residents )
Would the renegade shelter have been able to continue without the Animal Control contract?  Of course not!    
According to last year's society statistics, the (then) Cape Breton SPCA took in a total of 811 dogs  and 60 cats for the year through their animal control contract.    That averages out to fifteen dogs and barely more than one cat a week.  
Wednesday will mark the four week point since the society has been shut out of the renegade shelter.   What does that mean in realspeak?   Why of course that there possibly have been sixty dogs taken in through animal control in the interim.
In a shelter without the capacity for sixty, what has happened to those dogs?   Indeed ... what will happen to the animals if further delays are allowed?  To date there is only public evidence of two adoptions ... one on CTV and one on facebook.  
Nor are they likely to find other rescue options waiting in the wings to help until confidence has been restored that the parvo issue has been successfully addressed.
(Indeed, all the CB petfinder listings have been temporarily removed from my site until there are assurances that those listed are still put it politely ... still available for adoption!   But that is a testy topic deserving of its own post on another day, eh?)
But I am wandering afield as I often do in my meandering way.  The point I am making is that the renegade shelter is no longer part of the society's lifesaving animal transfer system.   Sadly although the supporters commenting on news articles are still nattering on about No Kill, not one single representative of the renegade shelter is making such sweeping statements anymore :(
Even worse,  a bigger chunk of that contract will be needed to pay a new shelter manager while continuing to pay the dismissed shelter manager.
The worst bit of course is the CBRM Mayor and Council cannot find a local veterinarian willing to come in and inspect the shelter.    Can one honestly blame them?   Who would want to waste their time to create another report that the Council could ignore?   Who would want to get caught up in the court battle?
Consequently ... neither the CBRM Mayor, Council and of course the taxpaying voters have any idea what is happening at the shelter.  
If I really worked at it, I might be able to squeeze my middle aged self into my prom dress.   But ... I can guarantee you that as soon as I took the first step, seams would start unravelling and I wouldnt' be fit to be seen in public!  Nor is there even a remote chance that I would be able to diet my way into that dress for New Years!   It simply wouldn't be sensible to expect to fit thirty years of good eating back into the original package!
What time is it?   It is way past time ... for the sake of the animals ...  to acknowledge that it simply is not possible to squeeze the last thirty years back in the box after seeing the light of day!
And this is how I see it on Monday, December 12th ... the TWENTY - SIXTH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board created the renegade shelter.

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