Animal Cruelty Charges at the Toronto Humane Society

LIKE MOST charities, donations don’t go to the real cause they end up in the higher up’s pockets.  Volunteering is best. What goes around, comes around. But in this country, there is no real consquence to these dispitcable acts of crime, anytime a casuality is part of the crime the justice system says “Oh well, they’re dead anyway”, and the convicted spends very little time in jail.

The poor animals that suffer from diseases are not put down, starve and live in deplorable conditions.


The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals raided the Toronto Humane Society Thursday afternoon. President Tim Trow and four other staff members are facing criminal charges, including animal cruelty.

Trow is facing two charges of animal cruelty, two of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, and three charges of obstruction of a police officer.

Head veterinarian Steve Sheridan, shelter manager Gary McCracken, business manager Romeo Bernadino and shelter supervisor Andy Bechtel were also arrested on charges of animal cruelty and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence. As well, all five and the board of directors face five provincial counts of animal cruelty.

Ian McConachie, spokesman for the Toronto Humane Society said the police and the OSPCA effected a search warrant.

“I’ve been asked to leave the shelter,” McConachie said at 3:45 p.m. Thursday afternoon. He said he was in a state of shock and everyone inside the Humane Society was surprised and alarmed.

Officials said that Trow’s dog Bandit attacked a Toronto police officer during the execution of the search warrant. The police officer pepper sprayed the dog.

Volunteer Bev Mitchell said she could smell the pepper spray and said it was affecting the other animals.

At 5:30 p.m., OSPCA veterinarians were still inside the building at Queen and River Sts. “We’re going to be here for quite a while,” said spokesperson Rosaline Ryan. “There are quite a few animals to look at.”

The Humane Society is expected to be closed to the public until Tuesday, while OSPCA veterinarians examine every animal inside the building.

Thursday’s raid and charges come after a tumultuous year for the THS. The OSPCA launched its investigations in May, after a newspaper report described a dysfunctional shelter at which animals allegedly suffered because veterinarians were overruled and staff intimidated by Trow, a retired lawyer known for his opposition to euthanasia.

A 2006 Toronto Star investigation followed a group of veterinarians that raised questions about the quality of care the agency provided.

“This is one of the happiest days of my life,” said former THS animal care worker Marcie Laking. After being fired in 2006, Laking started the Toronto Humane Society Protest Group, which held two demonstrations this past summer, trying to draw attention to conditions at the shelter.

With files from Daniel Dale