Letter to the Editor by Tom Black

Tom BlackI write this in response to an article by John Phair in the April 1st issue of the Ontario Farmer.

Speaking at the AGM for Ontario Pork, Connie Mallory, Chief Inspector for the OSPCA tried her best to spin a beautiful story of caring for animals and working with people to educate them on how to look after their animals and not run afoul of the OSPCA enforcers. Enforcers that would have made Adolf Hitler proud as they walked into the Animal Care Review Board hearing for Jessica Johnson concerning ‘tartar on her dog’s teeth’, fully decked out in their uniforms and flack jackets, shoulders back, marching like an elite strike force. All of this was intended to intimidate ordinary neighbours and friends of Jessica, the handicapped senior citizen. These friends witnessed her being put through hell by a famed high priced lawyer named Clayton Ruby because the OSPCA had charged her with this dastardly crime of suspected tartar on her dogs’ teeth.

Connie Mallory was there at the head of the team with her sidekick Larry Wilkinson, as Ontario Landowner members came to the support of one unfortunate victim after another who were targeted by fanatical, overzealous, untrained enforcement officers who treated unsuspecting citizens as criminals because someone with an axe to grind, often an angry ex-spouse, a disgruntled neighbour, a competitor down the road, or some urbanite with no understanding of ‘normal farm practises’ driving by a farm and reporting a perceived transgression.

After losing many cases to lawyer Kurtis Andrews defending impacted victims, Ms. Mallory is now spouting the new direction of the training schedule for new officers. Six years ago, field officers had something less than a week of training with no real on-farm practical training; then they were turned loose with what they claimed was more power of entry than the police and power to lay criminal charges. Yes, that is a charge that can get you jail time and give you a criminal record that could forever change your future freedom to travel or hold office.

Now from my take on this and others, this is a power that the province can not grant to this agency since they do not have the power to write legislation that has criminal code violation attached to it. Only federal law can apply criminal code charges. The federal criminal code fully covers animal abuse and can be applied by the police. The difference is that when police apply criminal charges they must be meticulous when gathering evidence because they are under the scrutiny of the Police Services Board. But more importantly, under Federal Criminal Code, the intent of the abuse comes into play, including the psychiatric condition of the subject being charged.

Back to Ms. Mallory. In her article, she seems to be the farmer’s best friend and ally as she offers to work together with different sectors of the farming community. The cattlemen have agreed to train some of their own people to go out with the OSPCA officers to interface with beef farmers who may have had a complaint made against them – this is nothing more than a ploy to lull unwitting farmers into letting OSPCA officers onto their property and once that entry has been gained, they will leave orders to comply with unattainable remedies. Those orders allow the OSPCA to return to that farm without warrant, any time of night or day for as long as they see fit, to stop the abuse, real or perceived. Several OSPCA officers who were involved in controversial raids in the past few years have been fired according to the rumour mill throughout the country, but the problem is, there is NO access to information or any overseeing body to inform the public of why these officers were let go. If this was a police officer, all his records would be available and the press would be all over why he was dismissed.

We cannot stand by and let this continue. Connie Mallory was in charge of these officers and if they were guilty enough to be fired, then she should also be removed and a complete investigation made of this ‘terrorist’ organization.