From horse foun­tains to the cone of shame

Toronto Hu­mane So­ci­ety cel­e­brates 130 years of an­i­mal wel­fare

Midtown Post - - Food | Profile -

After al­le­ga­tions of the mis­treat­ment of dogs rocked the set of fea­ture film A Dog’s Pur­pose, push­ing back its pre­miere date while it re­sponded to the pub­lic out­cry, we are re­minded of the good that is be­ing done by the now 130year-old Toronto Hu­mane So­ci­ety (THS).

In Novem­ber 1886, a jour­nal­ist com­mented in a Toronto news­pa­per that there should be a so­ci­ety to pre­vent cru­elty to an­i­mals. Do­na­tions poured in to the tune of a whop­ping $74, but it was enough for John J. Kelso to found the Toronto Hu­mane So­ci­ety in 1887. And for the past 130 years the agency has tended to the wel­fare of an­i­mals large and small that call the city home.

Ap­par­ently, the orig­i­nal vi­sion of the or­ga­ni­za­tion of­fered by do-gooder jour­nal­ist Kelso in­cor­po­rated more than just an­i­mals, but also the wel­fare of chil­dren.

Among the more in­ter­est­ing ob­jec­tives were such items as: in­duce chil­dren to be hu­mane; res­cue chil­dren from vi­cious in­flu­ences and rem­edy their con­di­tions; in­tro­duce drink­ing foun­tains for horses; as well as more di­rect sug­ges­tions to stop the beat­ing of an­i­mals and pre­vent the un­der­feed­ing and over­driv­ing of horses and cat­tle.

Fast-for­ward more than a cen­tury, and the Toronto Hu­mane So­ci­ety op­er­ates out of a large fa­cil­ity on River Street in the east end of down­town. In 2015, THS found homes for 3,477 an­i­mals through its adop­tion pro­gram and has spayed or neutered and put the cone of shame on more than 14,000 cats and dogs at a low cost since 2012.

Re­cently, THS teamed up with Ever­green to con­struct a rooftop gar­den on the THS build­ing, which also acts as a playground for res­i­dent cats.

That’s not to say the or­ga­ni­za­tion hasn’t had its dif­fi­cul­ties, es­pe­cially dur­ing a rather con­tro­ver­sial pe­riod when THS had to con­front al­le­ga­tions of over­crowd­ing.

THS, which con­tin­ues to serve a vi­tal role in the city, cel­e­brates its 130th an­niver­sary on Feb. 19. There may be cake. Watch for event de­tails at toron­to­hu­mane­so­ci­

Ladies, decked out in fine fur, hit the streets to raise money for an­i­mal welfare; swim­mer Mar­i­lyn Bell with res­cued dog circa 1957

L-R: One of thousands of dogs the Toronto Hu­mane So­ci­ety has helped over the past 130 years; Toronto Hu­mane So­ci­ety’s first of­fice

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