Even better .... it does double duty by brightening and sanitizing at the same time! Best of all of course is that it transforms a simple domestic chore into an opportunity to catch a bit of well needed winter sunshine :)
It is just frosting on the cake that all this is also easier on the pocketbook and better for the environment!
Like the rest of the animal loving community in this province, I have been following the court case in Cape Breton quite closely. Originally, I wasn't going to talk about it here until it was finished. Yet along the way, something very interesting has been happening as the dirty laundry is being aired in daily media reports!
Before the court case started, there were two 'camps'. On one side were those darned whistleblowing volunteers. On the other end of the stick were those who were moved .. by a variety of reasons ... to support the renegade shelter.
Before the court case, every media report and letter to the editor on the subject was soon swamped with comments from both camps.
Before the court case, supporters of the renegade shelter were long on support for the old status quo and short on any suggestion that the situation might involve more than the home team defending itself against unfounded accusations from away.
Before the court case, those darned whistleblowing volunteers who had been shut out of the shelter still were still finding ways to help the animals. Their volunteer facebook group was repurposed into a small scale rescue that sprouted a new stray cat street project along the way.
Before the court case, one of the most telling differences lay in the non profit status of the volunteer group as opposed to the renamed renegade shelter being listed as a business.
Then the court case began. Media articles (scroll down for a sampling) started airing the dirty laundry for all the world to see. It became increasingly difficult to dismiss stories from the shelter as "propaganda" from away.
By the time the last article in the list below was published, supporters of the renegade shelter seem to have run out steam. After the last article in the list was published in the Post, all the old arguments about accusations from away seem to have dwindled away.
One of our favourite family holiday traditions has always been to read Dr Seuss' classic "How the Grinch stole Christmas". As a mother and a grandmother, I can attest to the fact that there are some valuable life lessons tucked into the rhymes he wrote for children
" Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling:
How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes, or bags!
And he puzzled and puzzed, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more." Dr Seuss
I am a middle aged grandmother, not a psychologist, but I believe that it probably was possible for folks to get the wrong end of the stick when it was all word of mouth. When tales were being told by folks they knew and trusted.
It would have been easier to generate support for something that has been there so long than to admit there might be something hinky about the status quo.
At the end of the day, it is clear that the folks who created the renegade shelter really underestimated the good people of Cape Breton. Did they imagine that there would be support for cruelty and neglect? That anyone not directly benefiting in a material way would continue to be comfortable championing their cause?
Tomorrow the case resumes in court with the anticipation of a ruling on Friday.
What time is it? While it is a shame that this situation deteriorated to the point where justice had to be formally served, it is a powerful thing to watch the truth setting kind hearts free.
from The Cape Breton Post
Witness testifies to seeing negligent care of animals
Published on January 4, 2012
SYDNEY — A former board member with the now disbanded Cape Breton SPCA testified Wednesday he witnessed numerous examples of what he termed inappropriate and negligent care of animals at the Sydney shelter.
Steve Wadden - Cape Breton Post Mike Mombourquette, from left, board chair of the Cape Breton Humane Society — formerly known as the Cape Breton SPCA — speaks with the society’s lawyers, James Snow and Robert Sampson, outside court in Sydney on Wednesday.
John MacPhail, who first joined the board in April 2011, said he saw injured animals sitting in kennels for days without being properly attended.
He said there were instances where some animals were covered with a white powder which he later learned was a cleaning agent which the animals somehow were allowed to roll in. He said some of the cleaner ended up in the food resulting in the animals developing diarrhea.
MacPhail, who formed the group Friends of the SPCA while on the board, said there were also instances of animals coming into the shelter not being properly checked for disease or other concerns before being place in kennels with others animals.
“I brought up numerous issues that bothered me,” said MacPhail, adding he addressed his concerns to then shelter manager Patsy Rose, whom he said was not a good manager.
MacPhail was the first witness to testify in an injunction application sought by the Nova Scotia SPCA which in November moved to disband its Cape Breton affiliate citing a failure to adhere to provincial standards regarding animal care.
In response, the local group has now formed its own body — the Cape Breton Humane Society — and has refused to vacate the shelter property at 401 East Broadway.
The provincial body is seeking an order to have access to the Sydney shelter and have humane society board members removed.
MacPhail also testified Wednesday that he and another former board member were not included in the provincial body’s original motion to disband the Cape Breton board. The motion noted the removal of eight members of the 10-member board.
Both sides in the dispute spent the majority of the day presenting arguments on the numerous affidavits now before the court.
Justice Patrick Murray issued a ruling striking out some claims contained in the affidavits while allowing others in contention to remain.
Lawyers Dennis Janes and Sandra McCulloch, representing the provincial SPCA, and Robert Sampson and James Snow, representing the local group, both argued that certain affidavits, or at least portions of some affidavits, filed in support of their positions should be excluded from the hearing.
The hearing is scheduled to continue today and could extend into Friday.
from The Herald
Ex-board member testifies SPCA rife with negligent and inappropriate animal care.
January 5, 2012 by Canadian Press
SYDNEY — A former board member with the disbanded Cape Breton SPCA testified Wednesday that he saw numerous examples of what he described as inappropriate and negligent care of animals at the Sydney shelter.
John MacPhail was the first witness to testify in an injunction application sought by the Nova Scotia SPCA to gain access to the shelter and enforce the Animal Protection Act.
The SPCA disbanded its Sydney branch in November, but officials at the shelter responded by refusing to leave and renamed the facility the Cape Breton Humane Society.
MacPhail, who joined the board last April, said he saw injured animals sitting in kennels for days without being properly attended.
He also said there were instances of animals coming into the shelter not being properly checked for disease or other concerns before being placed in kennels with others animals.
MacPhail said he brought up his concerns with former shelter manager Patsy Rose, but added that he did not believe she was a good manager.
The SPCA cited a failure to adhere to provincial standards regarding animal care when it disbanded the shelter.
The hearing is scheduled to continue today.
"The purpose of this hearing is to see if we can gain control of the facility in the interim until our legal authority is clarified though the courts," Kristin Williams, the provincial society’s executive director, said in an email Wednesday.
"The (legal) proceeding is necessarily limited in nature. By no means are any final determinations going to be made."
With Davene Jeffrey, staff reporter
from the CBC News website
Animals ignored at Sydney shelter: witness
posted Jan 5, 2012 8:51 AM
A Nova Scotia Supreme Court hearing to decide who will run the animal shelter in Sydney heard from its first witness Wednesday who said animals were not well cared for.
John MacPhail, who was on the board of directors and volunteered at the shelter in Sydney for several months last year, testified that he saw injured animals sitting in kennels for days on end.
He was also critical of cleaning procedures. Dogs were covered in Comet, MacPhail said, and their food would be rolling in it. After they ate, he said, they would get diarrhea.
He took his concerns to the provincial SPCA.
MacPhail admitted he could not remember specific dates or times for the incidents.
He will be back on the witness stand Thursday.
The court will also hear from several employees of the provincial SPCA, as well as the chair of the local board, and an official with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
The provincial SPCA is asking for an injunction allowing it to take over the building. It claims the facility has been badly run.
Much of the first day of the hearing was taken up with arguments over hearsay evidence.
A number of the witness affidavits rely on photos or statements about the shelter submitted by third parties who aren't part of this court proceeding.
Lawyers argued it would not be possible to verify much of that evidence.
Justice Patrick Murray painstakingly went through a number of affidavits, striking out parts that would not be admissible.
Nova Scotia SPCA disbanded its Sydney branch in November, but shelter officials refused to leave and renamed the facility the Cape Breton Humane Society.
Two veterinarians who inspected the shelter for the municipality noted bad smells, overcrowding, a lack of protocols for cleaning and a haphazard system for examining sick animals.
Mayor John Morgan demanded immediate improvements at the shelter after reading their report.
From The Cape Breton Post
Former board member of animal shelter says list raised 40 concerns
Published on January 5, 2012
SYDNEY — For a second day, a former board member with the now disbanded Cape Breton SPCA testified about his frustrations in attempting to resolve ongoing problems with animal care and management at the Sydney shelter.
Steve Wadden - Cape Breton Post
John MacPhail, a former board member of the now disbanded Cape Breton SPCA, leaves a Sydney courtroom on Thursday after he testified during an injunction hearing that was filed by the Nova Scotia SPCA against the local shelter.
John MacPhail told a Supreme Court hearing Thursday that volunteers were being discouraged from lending their services on a long-term basis while some animals in care were not receiving prompt medical attention and were housed in feces-laced cages
“I visited five other shelters across the country which were being run completely different than the one in Sydney,” testified MacPhail, who joined the local board in April 2011.
MacPhail said he repeatedly brought up concerns about disease control, complaints about unfriendly staff members and issues surrounding the general care of animals, such as frequent access to the outdoors.
“I was disappointed with the whole situation right up to this moment,” said MacPhail, who spent two days on the witness stand.
His testimony is part of an injunction application initiated by the Nova Scotia SPCA which in November moved to disband its Cape Breton affiliate citing a failure to adhere to provincial standards regarding animal care.In response, the local group has formed its own body — the Cape Breton Humane Society — and has refused to vacate the shelter property at 401 East Broadway.
Justice Patrick Murray will decide whether the provincial body has a right to return to the Sydney shelter. The hearing will continue today in Sydney.
The provincial group is being represented by lawyers Dennis Janes and Sandra McCulloch while Robert Sampson and James Snow represent the local group.
During questioning Thursday by Sampson, MacPhail admitted that some of the shelter’s shortcomings stem from the age of the facility, which is over 30 years old.
However, he said, staff in general were not performing their duties properly and could be seen routinely sitting around drinking tea while volunteers did the work. He said the three animal control officers did, for the most part, appear to be doing their jobs
“Volunteers were being pushed away accused of having spying eyes,” said MacPhail.
He said he submitted a list of some 40 concerns to the local and provincial boards. Of particular concern, he said, was the failure to routinely test dogs for canine parvovirus which is a highly contagious and sometimes fatal virus spread from contact with dog feces.
MacPhail said in one instance, the group Friends of the SPCA to which he belongs paid to have a dog treated by a local vet because the shelter wasn’t planning to have the dog examined.
As for the board, MacPhail said he didn’t think it was very productive.There were some testy exchanges Thursday between MacPhail and Sampson over whether MacPhail actually witnessed incidents he described and whether he had sufficient experience in animal care to criticize someone else’s work.
“In general, when you walk into that shelter, people are having negative experiences,” he said
.MacPhail will be back on the stand today, although the remainder of his testimony is expected to be brief.
Also expected to testify today is Kristin Williams, executive director of the provincial SPCA.
from The Cape Breton Post
Staff at Sydney shelter unconcerned with problems, says provincial director
Published on January 6, 2012
SYDNEY — The director of animal care for the Nova Scotia SPCA testified Friday that staff at the former Sydney branch seemed unconcerned with problems at the animal shelter and, for the most part, blamed the problems on the public.Sandra Flemming said after a meeting in October 2011 with volunteers from the branch she and provincial executive director Kristin Williams met with paid staff the following day to discuss the concerns raised.
“There was lots of finger pointing by staff and negative comments from them about the volunteers,” said Flemming, adding Williams issued written notices to staff in a bid to correct their behaviour.
“Staff said it was up to pet owners to vaccinate their animals so they wouldn’t be dying in the shelter. There was no acceptance of their own responsibility,” said Flemming, adding she couldn’t believe what staff were telling her.
Among the concerns from the volunteers was that a household cleaner was being used to clean cages rather than a proper bleach mixture. Flemming said the cleaner being used is toxic to animals.
There was also an incident in which a cat with two kittens was not segregated from the adult population and both her kittens were killed by the other cats.
Flemming said the shelter was operating with no proper intake procedures listing whether the animal had been properly checked for disease and other concerns prior to being placed in cages with other animals.
“There were a lot of underweight dogs and we were told that staff feed all of the dogs the same amount of food,” she said.
Flemming, who is also director of the Metro SPCA shelter in Halifax, testified that for two years her shelter has been taking dogs from Cape Breton in a bid to find homes faster.
“Over the past two years, we’ve taken 262 dogs from the Sydney shelter and some 88 per cent of those have come with litany of health issues,” said Flemming, adding the staff vet at her shelter urged the practice cease.
Instead, said Flemming, the Halifax shelter uses different protocol in accepting Cape Breton animals to ensure they are healthy before being placed with other animals.
Her testimony came during an injunction hearing before Supreme Court Justice Patrick Murray. The provincial SPCA has filed the application in a bid to access the Sydney shelter located at 401 East Broadway.
The provincial body voted last November to disband the Cape Breton group over concerns it was failing to adhere to provincial standards regarding animal care. In response, the local group changed its name to the Cape Breton Humane Society and refuses to relocate from the East Broadway facility.
Flemming said the concerns from Cape Breton were long standing and there was always a strained relationship between Cape Breton and the provincial board.
Another former board member of the Cape Breton group, Kerri Manuel, testified Friday concerning an incident in which two dogs were brought to the shelter by staff on a Saturday night after being hit by cars. Manuel said when she came to the shelter Sunday afternoon, neither animal was seen by a vet and the injuries were significant including one dog whose paw pads were scraped off and pieces of bone were exposed.
Manuel said a staff member administered a narcotic to the dog, left behind from a previous visit by a vet, which resulted in the dog losing control of its bowels. The dog was put down the following day.
Flemming said shelter staff are not permitted to administer drugs to animals noting that is the job for a vet.
Manuel said there were numerous incidents where animals were not receiving proper medical care and that she would end up taking them home and nursing them back to health.
The provincial group is being represented by lawyers Dennis Janes and Sandra McCulloch while Robert Sampson and James Snow represent the local group.
The hearing was scheduled for two days this week but has now gone on for three days with two more days of evidence to be presented on Tuesday and Friday.
And that is how I see it on Monday, January 9th ... the FIFTY -FOURTH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board created the renegade shelter.