Monday, September 5, 2011

Reason # 21 McGuinty Must Go!

The McGuinty Liberals amended the OSPCA Act and not for the better! The OSPCAOntario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a private charity accountable to no one and has extraordinary police powers including the right towarrant-less entry under the Act. The OSPCA is not subject to Freedom Of Information.
MPP Jim Bradley says "The government has no authority over the OSPCA under the Act". None is needed, he says! OSPCA “experts” are capable and have everything under control.
An excerpt from Carl Noble, a former OSPCA Director's testimony;
Some people are not able to defend themselves because they do not have the money to hire a lawyer, and the draft legislation makes it even more difficult, such that a person must have a lawyer or represent themselves when they appear before the Animal Care Review Board. What chance do you think the person feels that they have when they walk into an Animal Care Review Board hearing and the OSPCA and the representative of the Animal Care Review Board are sitting chatting to each other? Or are they deciding how guilty the person is before he has had a chance to defend himself? How would you feel if it was you? Then they walk over and hand you the disclosure of the OSPCA for the case which is going to get underway immediately. You have no time to prepare and you feel you don’t have a chance in hell of defending yourself in a kangaroo court.
Why do you give millions of dollars to a private charity, pay them to take people to court on charges they have deemed animal abuse, pay for all of theOSPCA court costs in an indirect manner and yet refuse any legal assistance to the accused, even though they are trying to defend themselves in a criminal case which, if convicted, could lead to jail time, fines and all of the restrictions which apply after being convicted of a criminal charge? One conviction I am aware of was for having the person plead guilty to having a dirty budgie cage.
All of this type of information could be false, but in the investigators’ minds—and their minds alone, as there are no straightforward regulations other than what the investigator wants to interpret from what vagueness already exists in the OSPCA Act. The danger lies in the zealousness, the uncontrolled discretion and the potential for serious misinterpretations leading to serious, disproportionate consequences.
We have seen cases defended in court against the OSPCA, but we have seen many more where people have been wrongly convicted because of juggling the truth. We have seen cases that did not get to court because a deal was struck between the OSPCA and the animal owner, where the OSPCA would let the owner pay them money and would drop the charges but it all had to be kept confidential. It sure wasn’t confidential when they released all their information and accusations to the media and destroyed the person’s name before they had a chance to defend themselves. What they wanted was the media exposure to increase their donations, and if they got what they wanted, then a deal could be made, especially if they also got the animals, the money from the sale of the animals, and the money they got from the deal they struck with the charged person.
We need accountability. For example, we need to be able to stop OSPCAinvestigators from waiting for someone to tether their dog outside and leave to deliver a child to school, and when they arrive home, the dog is gone. In this real-life example, the OSPCA took the dog, left an order to have a doghouse built, and then after two or three days, offered the return of the dog if they were willing to pay the boarding and expenses of $200. This particular lady was one who went out of her way to pick up and deliver her neighbour’s challenged child to school, all of which took 20 to 25 minutes, and then had the added cost if she wanted her dog back. This happened more than once, and it is not right that the person should be at the whim of an OSPCAinspector, who in turn sells the animal back to the owner.
Here is a link to the OSPCA Act as amended and passed by the McGuinty Liberals.
Another example of how the McGuinty Liberals have overstepped their bounds and created another vague, discriminatory and oppressive law designed to have people guilty until proved innocent.
We need strong laws against people who abuse and neglect animals but this must be done without taking away the right for people to properly defend themselves. Laws should also NOT empower people who are under trained. Police have extensive training with which to uphold the law. Taking people with little more than high school education and training them for a couple days only to turn them loose with police powers is illogical and downright dangerous.
To read the Hansard transcripts for the committee hearing for the OSPCA Act link here

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