For years, Pierre Barnoti was the Executive Director of the Montreal SPCA, apparently the only SPCA in Canada legally entitled by the original British SPCA to use the name, Canadian SPCA. This was his downfall–and theirs. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. A year and a bit after Barnoti left SPCA Montreal (or was asked to leave), he still has his hands in the till, bilking well-meaning donors whose intentions are to help the animals in our local Montreal SPCA by taking over the website and having all donations delivered to another site (his), known as the SPCA International. As far as I am aware (and others in the know), there is no such organisation so…where is the money going? Barnoti was in the news again tonight. Apparently, he is suing CTV News Montreal for defamation and the SPCA Montreal for wrongful dismissal. If he wins either of those two cases, I can only quote Dickens’s character in Oliver Twist: “if the law thinks so, sir, then the law is an ass!” Be careful to check out any SPCA to which you apply to adopt an animal or to deliver an animal. A no-kill shelter is best; one which has a history of the animal and its previous owners; and, one which checks you and your lifestyle out before handing over an already stressed/abused/abandoned animal to your care (life-time care). Fees for spay/neuter, deworming, and overall vet care are usual, and show that the shelter a) has checked out and cared for the animal; and, b) needs funding to keep it going. No shame in that since most are non profit. Some agencies will not accept certain dog breeds which are hard to place. Nonsense. It’s easy afterwards to claim 100 per cent placement if all you’re able to place are retrievers! Some will not even accept German Shepherds–and as for Pit Bulls, I’ll save that one for another post. As for cats, the problem is thoughtless overbreeding by homeowners who think kittens are cute until they grow up. Cats are predators, and have completely different needs from domestic dog breeds. If you have a cat or cats, have them spayed/neutered–please!
My favourite SPCA is the SPCA Monteregie: it’s a no kill, has a variety of animals to choose from, and takes excellent care of its charges. After nearly 15 years, I still sponsor two cats and a dog (at only $10 per animal per month), and needless to say, that’s where I got my Fred from. I have been owned by five cats in my lifetime so far, all adopted or strays, and each one has been a treasure. I made sure all were fixed and none were de-clawed.
In any case, my point is this: a pet is for life, and though they rarely outlive us, think before you take on responsibility for one. They get sick, they get old; they get arthritis; they depend on us to navigate them through our urban/suburban/human lifestyles. Before getting a pet, check out the breed’s suitability to your lifestyle, his breed’s likely health problems (and whether you have the wherewithal to pay for vet care–because, trust me, there will be vet care), and a myriad of other things. People take more care choosing a car than they do choosing a pet (or even deciding to have a child, for that matter). A pet is not like a sofa: you can’t just discard it because you’ve decided that it no longer suits you. This is something, Mr. Barnoti, you need to think about if, in fact, you are collecting money intended for the safety and welfare of abandoned pets and applying to, um, other ends. Rant over…for now.