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Humane Society rejects applicants critical of organization

The Toronto Humane Society has denied member­ship to at least seven ofthe people who have criticized its president and its animal carepractices.

The Toronto Humane Society has denied member­ship to at least seven of the people who have criticized its president and its animal care practices.

Former donor relations employee Rachelle Gordon was apparently rejected because of a comment she made on a blog.

Longtime donor Danielle Just-McCarthy was believed to have been rejected because of a Facebook post in which she expressed dismay at “horrendous conditions” at a shelter she said was inhumane.

And in what a Humane Society spokesman yesterday called an “administrative oversight,” former animal care worker Marcie Laking, a leader in the movement to reform the organization, was mailed a rejection even though she didn’t apply.

All three were accused, in August letters written by Humane Society secretary-treasurer Robert Hambley, of making statements that “appear to defame” or “appear to have defamed” the organization.

They believe, however, that they were barred in an effort by volunteer president Tim Trow to punish dissenters and maintain his power. Only members can speak or vote at the annual meeting at which board members are elected.

Humane Society spokes-man Ian McConachie acknowledged six rejections, not including the erroneous Laking letter. He said the board decided to reject three people who have repeatedly uttered lies about the organization’s care practices and three people for breaching their contracts.

McConachie said Trow and Hambley were unavailable for comment. In an email, he said the Humane Society took issue with pamphlets that claimed its policies “leave animals neglected, suffering and dying in their cages” — a statement Laking and several former society veterinarians continue to say is true — and unspecified comments uttered at a June protest.

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals launched an investigation, which continues, while Laking and others organized the protest. Another is set for Sept. 12.

 
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