No Excuse for Cruelty to Animals
I have sat in front of my computer for more than an hour this morning trying to decide how to start this column. It is because I am angry, really angry about a story I read on Doppler this week. No, I am not angry at the author. Far from it. I am proud of her. It must have been a difficult story to write, but it is a story that needed to be written. It is why from time to time we need to dig deeper about what is going on in Huntsville. See original story here.
I am talking of course, about the charges laid against the owner of Hidden Meadow Farm by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (OSPCA) It is a tragic and disgusting story and a black mark on Huntsville. The charges have not been proven in court but pictures can say a thousand words and it certainly looks like Hidden Meadow Farm is not a happy place for many animals.
Hopefully, the owner of Hidden Meadow Farm is in deep doo doo. Certainly she has not helped herself with some of her defensive comments. Admitting for instance, that she had rebuffed instructions from OSPCA to have four of her sled dogs taken for veterinary treatment as she could take care of them herself and it was too expensive to take them to an animal doctor. It made better sense she opined to euthanize the animals as she could buy new sled dogs for about $200. Two of these dogs were surrendered to the Ontario SPCA and subsequently underwent extensive surgery.
According to the story there are about 42 Husky and Malamute sled dogs at Hidden Meadow Farm. There are also a number of horses. An inspection of the sled dogs by the Ontario SPCA, more than six weeks ago, revealed “large open wounds that had been left untreated for days; numerous older, healed, partially healed and infected wounds; limping with an obviously swollen leg, fever and broken and infected teeth.” One cannot help but wonder why this facility was not shut down promptly and completely when the Ontario SPCA did their inspection on June 8. Oh, I am sure there will be some politically correct answers for this, but meanwhile these animals are still suffering. One also cannot help but wonder why, given that concerns about this farm were raised as far back as 2014, it has taken so long to lay charges. Are facilities such as these not inspected on a regular basis? If not, they should be.
I also wonder why Deerhurst Resort, who has contracted with Hidden Meadow Farm for dog sledding and trail rides, did not see this coming. The farm is adjacent to Deerhurst, who announced, following charges being laid, that they were “suspending” the services of the farm. Too little, too late in my view. They should be fired. I am sure that Deerhurst regularly inspects their kitchens to ensure cleanliness and lack of potential disease. Surely the same standards should be applied to animals that the resort uses.
Our Town Council recently discussed the welfare of circus animals coming to Huntsville. If they have the power to regulate them, it is reasonable to ask if they have the power to regulate the care of animals who actually live here? If they do not have that ability, perhaps they should get it.
Hidden Meadow Farm has been charged with permitting an animal to be in distress, failing to provide adequate and appropriate medical attention and failing to provide the care necessary for an animal’s general welfare. They will have their day in court. In the meantime, who should have the benefit of the doubt? Should it be the owners of the farm or the animals that are still in their care? Think about it. I have and I say find a way to close them down.
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