November 25, 2008

To our continued supporters:

The Ontario SPCA has received some phone calls and emails from concerned supporters requesting more information on a Port Perry area investigations case profiled in the Toronto Star involving sheep, goats and a donkey. Unfortunately, some of what the reporter has stated in his article(s) is incorrect. A letter to the Editor has been sent to the Toronto Star to rectify the erroneous information; however, the Toronto Star has yet to print it.

The Ontario SPCA would like to take this opportunity to reassure our supporters that we are working with the owner of the animals and that the animals are not in distress.

The investigating officer on this case is one of only two Agents working for the Humane Society of Durham Region. The officer has advised us that the animals are in good physical condition, having been examined by two veterinarians, representatives from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food as well as the officer herself.

The article outlined a concern for some of the animals that appeared to have foot rot. Foot rot is a common affliction in sheep and goats and when you have hundreds of animals, you may find several with foot rot. The owner is treating these animals as one would expect any livestock producer to do.

I suspect that part of the issue in the reporting of this case is that it is the policy of the Ontario SPCA, indeed, any enforcement agency, to NOT discuss ongoing cases with the public or the media. We have privacy legislation in Ontario and we would not wish to jeopardize a possible case nor slander or libel anyone by releasing confidential information.

I have known the investigating officer in this case for many years and I am confident that she has, is, and will continue to do all that she can within existing legislation to help the animals in Durham Region.

We want to thank all of you for your phone calls and emails, and we encourage each of you to contact us at any time should you have questions regarding this, or any future news stories or editorials featured in the media regarding the Ontario SPCA.

It is only with the continued support of donors like you that we are able to help thousands of animals across Ontario every year. One reporter may not be content with our progress on a particular case, but that should not diminish the incredible work that our officers do across Ontario to help many thousands of animals.

Hugh Coghill, Chief Inspector
Ontario SPCA