An animal lover friend toured the refurbished Toronto Humane Society today and sends a cautiously optimistic report:
Derrick - Disease control and sanitation
Alyx - animal care worker?
- all questions were answered in detail - no "not sures" or vagueness
- not much mention of former board/processes/practices although when we were shown the boardroom/staff lunch room that have been made out of Trow's former office, Derrick mentioned that one of the most satisfying things for him in this whole process was tearing out Tim Trow's walls etc.
- Total number of dog cages has been halved so that each can be expanded in size with "guillotine" door in middle to make cleaning less disruptive for dogs and easier for staff
- Entire facility has been steam-cleaned several times and totally repainted
- Much more natural light
- Indoor/outdoor area for dogs (connected to the dog rooms) that has shady trees, chicken wire across top about 10ft up so birds/raccoons don't get in. this hasn't been completed yet as they need to replace the brick on external walls as there had been raccoons on it etc
- Dog and cat "enrichment" rooms with furniture, plants etc to test them out in homey environment and gauge things like furniture/plant chewing etc
- Dog washing room
- kitten nursery will reopen - no kittens in it yet but shortly
- Before the shutdown they had added a dish- and cage-cleaning machine (made by Steris, huge floor-to-ceiling stainless thing that looks like an elevator) because of the high occupancy, but now that there will be no overcrowding they can sell the extra one
- Bowls and dishes are stored in closed cabinets now so less dust etc (formerly were out on open shelving)
- new holding room for stray cats, with building access from back entrance so no exposure to main cat population
- Hoping to stop using paper to line cages, use towels/linens instead - this will be tested out soon
- Looking into a recycling program (for food tins etc) but it's not in place yet, is one of the long-range goals
- Changing to stainless steel litterboxes instead of cardboard
Now in basement garagey area. Lots of cages stacked for reconfiguration.
Intake process now more involved - consultation with intake coordinator to explain alternatives to owner: not just suggesting rescues or asking friends/family to take animal, but offering information on how owner might try to make it work without surrendering animal
essentially lots of big changes but lots of small ones too
saw quite a few reunions of volunteers with staff - hugs and cries of delight "this is wonderful!" "can't wait to get at it!" etc
so yeah overall I came away with a feeling they're ready and eager to start and they're very determined to do things differently.
Statement from the THS: http://www.torontohumanesociety.com/news_events.htm?newsstories/jun28_2010_1.htm
Fred, so, so sorry about Stella. And your Mom. Please don't stay away too long. Toronto needs your voice! http://www.onebarkatatime.blogspot.com/