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Old November 26th, 2009, 06:46 PM
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Media Release from the OSPCA

Search Warrants Executed for Toronto Humane Society in Animal Cruelty Investigation

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 26, 2009) - The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) executed search warrants for the headquarters of the Toronto Humane Society (THS) at 11 River Street, Toronto, Ontario, and one private residence. The warrants were issued in an ongoing investigation into animal cruelty at the THS. Members of the Toronto Police Service provided assistance.

Five people named in the search warrants are being arrested and charged with criminal offences based on the contents in the search warrants, which were executed after 3 p.m.:

Tim Trow, THS President, will be charged with Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence (2 counts), Cruelty to Animals (2 counts), and Obstruction of a Peace Officer (3 counts).
Gary McCracken, THS General Manager, will be charged with Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence (2 counts), Cruelty to Animals, and Obstruction of a Peace Officer (3 counts).
Dr. Steve Sheridan, THS Head Veterinarian, will be charged with Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence and Cruelty to Animals.
Andy Bechtel will be charged with Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence (2 counts), Cruelty to Animals, and Obstruction of a Peace Officer (3 counts).
Romeo Bernadino will be charged with Conspiracy to Commit and Indictable Offence (2 counts), Cruelty to Animals, and Obstruction of a Peace Officer (3 counts).
All of the above, as well as the THS Board of Directors, are also being charged with five counts of animal cruelty, a provincial offence under the Ontario SPCA Act
The charges stem from an investigation that was launched in early 2009 in response to allegations of animal cruelty. The OSPCA conducted the investigation with the help of private investigators from The Investigators Group under the authority of the Ontario SPCA Act, 2009. Under the Act, the OSPCA is responsible for enforcing animal cruelty statutes in Ontario. It is also responsible for overseeing animal welfare shelters such as local humane societies.

"This is a difficult day for the Ontario SPCA and the Toronto Humane Society, but it is necessary to protect the lives of animals," said OSPCA Chief Executive Officer Kate MacDonald. "We realize that the THS is capable of providing an important public service, but it could not fulfill its responsibilities until this action was taken.

"Our first priority is the safety of the animals currently in the THS facility. Our team of veterinarians will assess their health and take appropriate actions. We believe the THS can become an important animal welfare facility again in the near future with effective and responsible management," Ms. MacDonald added.

A media availability will be held in front of the Toronto Humane Society after the search warrants have been executed.
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