“I attempted to find out how Ben (the bear) was put down and it didn’t go over well.” Millroy

33

Saultonline reported on Sept. 17 that Ben, the lone bear at Spruce Haven Nature Park (aka zoo), had been euthanized.

Some local animal activists, noting the entire 31 years of Ben’s life were spent in captivity, his feet never knowing the feel of grass, want to turn his death into an election issue.
They have set their sights on the councillors who are running for re-election who voted early this year to grant Spruce Haven an exemption from the city’s new Animal Care and Control Bylaw, which bans zoos within city limits.

Those with targets on their backs are Sandra Hollingsworth, running in Ward One, Lou Turco in Ward two, Marchy Bruni in Ward 4 and Frank Fata and Ozzie Grandinetti in Ward Six.
Katherine MacRae, one of those leading the fight to keep Spruce Haven from being exempt from the bylaw, began the attack on the councillors by calling them out by name on Facebook with the hope that this would lead others to vote against them.

April Jokelainen said it concerned her that Ben was euthanized and we are all in the dark as to what happened.
“Was he under care of a veterinarian? What was his condition? Did the conditions under which he was held for so many years contribute to his condition? Was his enclosure size increased as promised?” she asked;
“What about the coyote that died earlier this year?
“Although these animals were aged, it bothers me that there is no accountability, or no way of knowing exactly what happened to them.
“I wonder, do the city councillors who voted to allow this Zoo to continue unchecked in our community care to find out what happened? Do they wonder about the circumstances of these deaths, or just accept the word of the zoo owners as they did when many claims and promises about the needed improvements and updates to the zoo were made?”

Karen Johns said it was awful to think that the last thing Ben saw was a barrel of a gun aimed at his head.
“I understand that a bullet is cheap and being shot would be quick,” she said. “But I believe that having him tranquillized and given a drug that would send him off in a painless sleep, perhaps being petted by those who supposedly “loved” him, would be a much more gentle way of putting him down.”

I attempted to find out how Ben was put down and it didn’t go over well.
“We had Ben for 31 years, why would you even call, why would you be so horrible,” the woman who answered my call said.
“A nice phone call saying ‘I am so sorry for your loss” would have been fine, but you horrible people, don’t even bother talking to me. The bear was a wonderful animal and for anybody with awful things to say about him is disgusting, so don’t even bother, thank you,” she said before hanging up abruptly.

Ben’s health had apparently been in decline, costing him his ability to walk.
I don’t think, considering his health, anyone will quarrel with Ben being put down, but it is understandable that some will remain upset because he was denied the opportunity to live out the few remaining months of his life at Aspen Wildlife Centre in Muskoka where, Coun. Judy Hupponen said, Zoocheck had offered to pay to have a large enclosure built for him so he could have more room to move in his senior years.
Would this possibly have lengthened his life? We will never know.

The Marshalls argued that the aged animal would not withstand the trip to a new home.
But animal activists argued in turn that the risk would be better than having him remain in the small enclosure which was his home at Spruce Haven.

There was a report that the MNR was at the scene when Ben was put down, which led to the thought that a bullet rather than drugs was the method used to Euthanize him.
But Erin Nixon of the MNR told me that it had no role in the decision to put Ben down nor was it present when he was put down.

But she said it was the understanding of the MNR that the bear was “humanely euthanized.”
I suppose I can understand the tirade launched against me by the woman, whom although she didn’t identify herself I suspect was Spruce Haven co-owner Helen Marshall, because I haven’t been exactly kind in my comments about Spruce Haven, writing several columns in which the central theme was always the call for it to be shut down.

But I couldn’t see myself taking any other stand since the conditions in which the animals live at Spruce Haven are as intolerable as they were at the zoo at Bellevue Park which council voted to close down years ago, small pens which meant they could only walk in circles.

Hupponen, who is running again in Ward 3, said there were three things about the new Animal Care and Control Bylaw that she was happy to say is statute law.
“Firstly, it gives our local humane society staff more authority to enforce the bylaw,” she said.
“Secondly, the bylaw has banned travelling circuses that use animals ( much thanks to Katherine MacRae for helping me with this) and thirdly it has banned zoos.
“This bylaw is the most comprehensive animal care and control bylaw in Ontario and perhaps Canada. I think it’s important for the public to know that if they see any kind of animal abuse, it should be reported immediately as we have laws now that can be enforced.

Although the bylaw bans zoos, Spruce Haven, as I mentioned above, was allowed to continue operation under a grandfathering exemption that was the result of the votes of Turco, Bruni, Grandinetti, Fata, Hollingsworth and Joe Krmpotich. The latter is not running again.
“I was so disappointed in these councilors,” Johns said. “I felt that they really didn’t give a damn about those animals and just looked at those of us who tried to help as people who could easily be ignored.”

33 COMMENTS

  1. Through paying attention to the recent Animal Bylaw Issue, and therefore engaging more than I ever have with City Council, I have come to be more attentive in the local election and candidates than I have in previous years.

    Yes, I do care deeply about how the Councillors I choose to vote for, actually feel about issues important to me which include Animal Welfare in Sault Ste Marie.

    I also feel that Council has a responsibility to follow up with the Zoo since they have allowed it to be exempt from the recent by law.

    However, through my observations and involvement, several other issues regarding our Council have also affected how I will choose to cast my vote:

    1. Do they research, review all information provided to them (from ALL sides) and do they invest time familiarizing themselves with all aspects of an issue they are going to make decisions about?
    2. Do they respond in a timely manner to Constituent’s concerns?
    3. Are they honest about their point of view, and will they share it?
    4. Do they only care to respond to Constituents and issues affecting their ward?
    5. Do they show leadership and critical thought; do they look at the big picture?
    6. Have they actually READ my correspondence?

    And yes, I will always share my point of view, concerns and opinions with my City Council on ALL issues I care about, and hope others will do the same.

    • Even if your point of view is as asinine as it is and totally from only your point of view. How enlightened you are. Virtue signal all you want. No one gives a damn about how you FEEL. Especially since you have demonstrated how well you don’t care about anything but your own self centered vision of what you deem the ultimate solution.
      So pardon me if I openly tell you how I feel.

    • You’re missing April’s points Bill.

      She wants representatives who will research and review information that has been given to them from ALL SIDES, yours, hers and everyone else’s, BEFORE making their decisions.

      She also wants timely, open and honest communication with her representatives.

      And, most of all, she wants them to READ everybody’s correspondence to help inform the decisions they make.

      Good list April Giles Jokelainen! You can’t go too far wrong if you vote for a representative who consistently does those things IMHO.

      Sincerely,
      MAB

      • Not missing any point. Tired of wanna be keyboard experts not minding their own business. You know what activists I respect? The people that make an effort to really help like TAAG but where is the support and keyboard compassion for other efforts to do something?
        Problem is in the virtue seekers world the quest for knowledge only seems to have only one point of view. Theirs.

  2. Through paying attention to the recent Animal Bylaw Issue, and therefore engaging more than I ever have with City Council, I have come to be more attentive in the local election and candidates than I have in previous years.

    Yes, I do care deeply about how the Councillors I choose to vote for, actually feel about issues important to me which include Animal Welfare in Sault Ste Marie.

    I also feel that Council has a responsibility to follow up with the Zoo since they have allowed it to be exempt from the recent by law.

    However, through my observations and involvement, several other issues regarding our Council have also affected how I will choose to cast my vote:

    1. Do they research, review all information provided to them (from ALL sides) and do they invest time familiarizing themselves with all aspects of an issue they are going to make decisions about?
    2. Do they respond in a timely manner to Constituent’s concerns?
    3. Are they honest about their point of view, and will they share it?
    4. Do they only care to respond to Constituents and issues affecting their ward?
    5. Do they show leadership and critical thought; do they look at the big picture?
    6. Have they actually READ my correspondence?

    And yes, I will always share my point of view, concerns and opinions with my City Council on ALL issues I care about, and hope others will do the same.

  3. I will remind you of what I said to April on April 15, 2018 at 6:36 am in Doug’s other column:
    ———————————————————————————————————-

    I know you are not going to hear what I am going to say April, but it’s important that I say it.

    Our city council created a by-law that will eliminate roadside zoos in Sault Ste. Marie going forward. Enlightened? Check. Good? Absolutely.

    In the case of the Marshall’s welfare vs. the Spruce Haven zoo animals’ welfare our city council decided that the Marshall’s social, emotional and financial well-being is more important than the modest improvements in comfort to the Spruce Haven zoo animals’ by closing down the zoo and moving the animals to a sanctuary. The zoo animals will continue to live in substandard quarters so that the Marshalls will not have pain and suffering inflicted upon them. A compromise in a difficult decision where only one side can win. Enlightened? IMHO yes. IYHO no.

    Our city councill feels the Marshalls have earned the opportunity to do right by these animals at their own pace by the love and care they have shown to these animals over the years which has benefited these animals greatly, but has unfortunately caused inadvertent harm to them as well. Just like all of us parents do to our kids.

    The onus is now on the Marshalls to do better by these animals. And they will. They love these animals more than you and I do.
    —————————————————————————————-

    Just because the Marshalls didn’t put Ben up for adoption didn’t mean they loved Ben less than you. Quite clearly they loved Ben, and did what they felt was best for him during his 30 years on this earth.

    Who are the candidates who support your animal welfare above human welfare point of view?

    If you can’t identify who will vote your way if elected to city council, then voting against those who disagreed with your point of view may just see a replacement elected who also disagrees with your point of view.

    Name your candidates, or we’ll all know you care more about getting revenge against people who don’t agree with you than you care about animal welfare.

  4. It is not that I hate animals.

    I was present at a local Municipal Government meeting that did involve Spruce Haven.

    The agenda had the animals prioritized before local human legitimate needs.

    The waiting time and then the subsequent addressing of what I was there for that did not only pertain to me was literally a disgusting experience.

    There are far too many that seem to think that seniority in years is some justification for lack of RESPECT & IRRESPONSIBILITY. In addition the belief that the higher the age the less intellectual capacity is so wrong and not just an automatic outcome in the least. Issues to do with snow removal and other Public Work responsibilities were given no where near the deliberation nor subsequent effort between agendas to get serious about needed CHANGE. Also getting work done that is legitimately of high priority and importance.

    There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever in my mind about what I am sure are needed assertions.

  5. Bill. How rude. Disagree if you must, but to throw playground insults, tells the world more about you and your education and social skills.
    How can it be insane to care? I feel sorry for you, that when the time comes, you find that your careers are not insane.

  6. I am deeply disheartened that this zoo remains open. The owners are simply giving council their claims and are unable to give any evidence or formal proof. I wrote councillors urging them to reflect on their decision to have this Zoo be open. Ben deserved better, and I hope we can see this zoo be closed/ the larger carnivore animals be re-located to a sanctuary.

    • Jenna, Yet another doo gooder mouth that knows sweet FA about anything. None of you self proclaimed wanna be’s do anything but whine and whine you don’t give a rats A** for anyone cuz you’s all on a crusade. Zoo check is just another sham, dig beyond the shiny web site and do some real investigating, A do nothing but support themselves bunch of con artists getting gullible saps like you to put money in their pockets. They vilify everyone that they deem evil and lay a path of destruction in their wake. Sucker. My vote is still going to Hollingsworth and word I get from friends in ward 3, Judy will be packing her bags.
      Good plan huh? Stand up to the wackos instead of capitulate to their disillusion of virtue.

  7. I agree strongly with Mr. Millroy, April, Katherine and Karen. I have contacted all of my councillors as I hope that the councillors who had voted to have the zoo stay open will reflect deeply and choose to do something—get the other animals out. Ben deserved the sanctuary that Zoocheck officials had offered to take him to. I sincerely hope all of the remaining animals there can be relocated to sanctuaries. This zoo, and the issues to do with Ben’s euthanization, are at best disheartening, and certainly leave me depressed when I consider it all.

  8. Ah all the trolls are out tonight. Do nothing blow hard hypocritical trolls. Do anything to help out? Nope not a thing.
    So kindly shut your yaps keyboard commandos and take a hard look in the mirror. The only ugly there is the face looking back.

    • Judy Hupponen ,Katherine MacRae,Karen Johns, April Jokelainen are on a crusade of their own making. Self appointed whack jobs on a mission to destroy the reputations and lives of others for their own sick pleasures.
      Tell me I’m wrong morons, you sick sick people. But in your minds you are charging forward on your white horses, hair and cloaks blowing in the wind. Out to save the day vanquishing all that don’t agree with you. Get a grip. Get a life.
      I hope to see all those councilors re elected thank God they weren’t duped by your insanity.

      • How rude. Disagree if you must, but to throw insults and playground comments only goes to tell the world more about you. There is no insanity in caring. If that was the case, I’m sorry for you when you need to be cared for. I hope your careers aren’t insane.
        Keep to the facts and be polite.

  9. Animal advocates who wonder, “how can I make a difference?” … here is your chance. Vote AGAINST those that allowed this antiquated ‘zoo’ to remain operational. Thank you Mr. Millroy for being unafraid to question and the resolve to publish.

Comments are closed.