This morning news outlets are buzzing that the 46 Ontario SPCA charges of animal cruelty against the Toronto Humane Society have been dropped. The crown prosecutor decided that the evidence collected in a 56 day search of the Humane Society could not be used because the Ontario SPCA invited media to attend and hired a PR consulting firm to either raise the profile of the case or simply handle the media — depending on whose side of the story you believe. See this in-depth report.
This is a very sad story, not just because of the magnitude of the cruelty charges, but the fact that the issues in the case won’t be considered in court due to the SPCA’s media relations choices to publicize the event too widely and film the arrests of staff at the Toronto shelter. This situation is such a lesson to us all in choosing to be honest about the cruelty issues that we see, but collecting our evidence diligently and accurately and not in a sensationalist manner. The Ontario SPCA may have presented plenty of evidence to charge those involved in the case, and the media would have covered the story regardless of whether they were invited by the OSPCA.