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article imageSPCA backs down a bit on its stance, will save some animals

By Stephanie Dearing     May 12, 2010 in Lifestyle
Newmarket - The quest to save the hundreds of animals slated to be put down after a shelter north of Toronto, Canada, said it had no choice due to a severe ringworm outbreak has resulted in the shelter saying it would save 20 animals.
One Ontario politician, MPP Frank Klees, asked the government of Ontario to intervene in the killing of the shelter animals, which was originally slated to be 350 dogs, cats and smaller animals all of which had been living at the SPCA shelter in the town of Newmarket. CTV news reported on Klees' request. The Minister responsible, Rick Bartolucci, declined to intervene.
The Toronto Sun reports that the scene outside the shelter has gotten ugly as protesters, gathered outside, have increasingly become upset over the plan to kill the animals. It has been a tense day for shelter staff as opponents screamed to be heard. Police and hired security guards remain at the shelter to guard staff. The protesters think the animals can be saved, and are outraged that the shelter has decided to put down so many animals for a fungal infection. Ringworm can be difficult to treat, but it is not fatal, nor is it a public health concern. The Newmarket SPCA has bowed to pressure slightly, by now saying it thought it could save 20 of the animals, and will now only put down 330.
The Toronto Star reported that 50 animals were put down Tuesday. However, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals (OSPCA) head, Rob Godfrey, told the Toronto Star that animals would now be euthanized on a case-by-case basis; that is, Newmarket shelter staff would assess each animal to see if it might be saved.
The OSPCA has declined to get involved in the running of the Newmarket shelter, but had said it will investigate the way the shelter handled the outbreak of ringworm. According to the National Post, the position of all those in the SPCA is that the outbreak was preventable, but due to the lack of compliance on the part of the shelter manager, Denise Stephenson, the animals have to be put down. Stephenson was fired at the beginning of May. The former manager has come forward to say she and the staff had followed all protocols and instructions.
Veterinarian Maureen Anderson, with the Ontario Veterinary College based in Guelph wrote in a blog on Tuesday that it is difficult to comment on the case because she does not have all the information.
A fact sheet on ringworm for pet owners from Dr. Anderson states "Ringworm occurs all over the world, but in general it is not reportable so no one knows exactly how common it is. Many mild cases likely go undiagnosed."
More about Spca, Ringworm, Animal shelter, Frank klees, Rick bartolucci
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