Sorrow turned to frustration for volunteers at an Ontario animal shelter yesterday as an escalating protest to end the euthanization of hundreds of cats and dogs continued to fall on deaf ears.

Demonstrators held signs with “Murder” and “I’d rather be a stray than sent to the OSPCA” printed in bold letters across stark white boards. Some chanted “Stop the killing” as a police cars descended on the area.

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals maintains it has no choice but to destroy close to 350 animals at the Newmarket facility, blaming an outbreak of an especially aggressive strain of ringworm.

“A few days ago I was proud to be an OSPCA volunteer, but I am not today,” Ruth Wozniak said when reached at home. Wozniak has been volunteering at the shelter five days a week for 10 years.

On Tuesday, Wozniak wept as she spoke about the animals’ death sentences. Her sadness had turned to frustration by yesterday.

“How are we feeling? We’re feeling desperate,” said a furious Wozniak, who added she has been fielding calls from upset people wanting to adopt the animals.

Two protesters were issued trespassing notices and were arrested after crossing a fence onto the property. York Regional Police said they were released with a ticket.

Ringworm, a skin infection caused by a fungus and marked by circular lesions and hair loss, can spread rapidly and experts say it is difficult to obliterate in facilities with many animals — though the condition is not lethal.

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