TORONTO, Nov. 30 (UPI) — The Toronto Humane Society is shut down indefinitely while accusations of animal cruelty and malfeasance are investigated, officials said Monday.
Toronto’s Globe and Mail reported it learned the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee is investigating alleged employee theft, kickbacks to directors, and improper use of the society’s cars and credit cards.
The newspaper said a source within the animal protection organization said the examination of its financial management is closely linked to the animal cruelty allegations, which led to charges against five senior managers and the board of directors last week.
The Globe said the source provided financial documents revealing the charity has spent $418,609 on lawyers this year, compared with $276,248 on emergency animal care.
The National Post reported the animal cruelty investigation will go on indefinitely, with one official saying it could be at least three weeks, and the shelter has been closed to the public until it is over.
“There is no end date, no sunset clause, so we are in this building as long as we need to be,” said Kevin Strooband, lead investigator for the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Toronto Humane Society spokesman Ian McConachie said Monday the organization is “disappointed that we continue to be denied access to our facility.”
OSPCA investigators examined the approximately 1,000 animals in the shelter and found about half of the 800 cats were suffering from upper respiratory infections, Strooband said. Rat and cat droppings were found in spaces above the ceiling.
The Toronto Star reported the province has sent a letter to society board members warning them against using donor money to cover legal fees.
In the meantime, Toronto’s Animal Services’ four centers are available for people who need help with an animal or want to surrender one.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International