Durham humane society burned out, bummed out

On Dec. 17 last year, fire destroyed the Humane Society of Durham Region shelter on Waterloo Street in Oshawa.

Since then homeless cats have been housed in a building on Taunton Road and dogs have been placed temporarily in various locations, some in Uxbridge, 50 kilometres away.

According to Ruby Richards, the manager of the shelter, the humane society’s ability to perform has been greatly diminished.

“There isn’t anybody else that’s going to be doing what we do and there’s a major need for us right now,” Richards said. “(The list) is just going to keep growing.”

Richards believes the economic crisis is to blame for increased pet abandonment. And since Oshawa is one of the most economically depressed areas, Richards can’t understand the city’s reluctance to help the shelter.

“Oshawa isn’t doing anything other than allowing us to have our office at the Oshawa Civic Centre. As for looking for a new building or giving us money or anything like that, nothing,” Richards said.

Humane society officials have put an offer on a piece of land in Whitby. They have a month for the property to be zoned by the city before the owner rejects their offer. The city of Whitby maintains it takes four to six months to zone a property.

Graig Uens of the zoning office speaks for the City of Whitby. “We’re bound by legislation to go through the process,” he said. “We can’t circumvent that unfortunately.”

Lindsay Cope, care manager for the shelter, is frustrated by the lengthy process.

“Politically I know nothing, but how hard is it to give us a little piece of land?” she asked.

Meanwhile, shelter supporters have planned a fundraiser. They say that Laureen Harper, the prime minister’s wife, will attend the event.

“Durham region needs a shelter so badly,” Richards said. “There are between 500 and 700, 000 people in Durham. We have one of the largest coverage areas we have to deal with. I can’t see why the local politicians wouldn’t want to help.”

Filed by Mallory Hendry