On Tuesday, dozens of animal advocates and residents rallied at city hall in Oshawa, fighting to keep Oshawa Animal Services open.
The public’s fear of losing the facility started earlier this month, when a proposed agreement between city staff and the Humane Society of Durham Region to amalgamate operations leaked to the public from a sealed report earlier this month.
The proposed plan would lead to the OAS being shut down.
“They were going to transfer all the equipment to the Humane Society, they were going to pay the Humane Society $9 million dollars over the next 10 years to operate the services for Oshawa, they were going to lay off all staff at OAS. That’s not a merger, that’s a takeover,” said Oshawa councillor Brian Nicholson.
On April 9, the Humane Society of Durham Region withdrew their initial proposal.
In a statement they told Global News, “HSDR stands ready to assist any municipality in Durham or any other like-minded animal rescue organization to the extent we’re able to.”
Following that withdrawal, those in the community who didn’t want to see the transfer happen filed into an Oshawa Community Services committee meeting Tuesday, hoping a recommendation to keep the OAS open would be put forward to council.
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Coun. Nicholson said the committee is debating a motion that would investigate whether or not to amalgamate the OAS and Durham’s humane society. A decision could be reached by Tuesday evening.
For Marty Pageot, the services are crucial. The OAS rescued his dog, Tesha, in January, when she was close to death.
“We were fortunate enough to be the ones to adopt her,” he said, “and we can’t say enough about Oshawa Animal Services.
“She wouldn’t be here today.”
Like several of those who participated in the rally, they are hoping nothing changes — but more importantly, that the OAS will stay in service.