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Another official charged from humane society

Another official at the Toronto Humane Society - the eighth - has been charged in connection with an animal-cruelty investigation at the east-side shelter.

Former THS supervisor Vijay Kumar was arrested on Saturday afternoon. He is to appear in court on April 27.

A news release from the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Mr. Kumar turned himself in to lead investigator Kevin Strooband accompanied by his lawyer.

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"Our first priority is the on-going safety of the animals," Mr. Strooband said.

Mr. Kumar faces two counts of animal cruelty.

An investigative report in The Globe and Mail last year suggested the society was unduly reluctant to euthanize sick or injured animals.

When the OSPCA raided the shelter in November, 55 staff were tending to about 1,100 animals, many of which had lived for years in cages stacked three high in hallways and along the walls of staff offices.

After the raid, the OSPCA displayed a mummified cat found in a ceiling. It also claimed that 25 animals had to be put down immediately and that others showed signs of neglect.

One senior OSPCA official described the shelter as a "house of horrors."

Since then, 23 staff members have been laid off and, as of the first week in March, only 373 animals remained: 208 cats, 32 dogs, 122 small mammals and 11 birds.

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A lawyer acting for the THS board members facing animal-cruelty charges has suggested that what really triggered the first, highly public raid, in which volunteer president Tim Trow was led away in handcuffs, was a long history of acrimony between the two organizations.

The THS has filed a court action of its own, accusing the OSPCA of negligent investigation, trespass and defamation.

Mr. Trow headed the THS from 2001 until January of this year, when he resigned from the board of directors. He stands accused on two counts of animal cruelty and three of obstructing a peace officer.

His lawyer has said his client intends to "vigorously defend himself" against the charges.

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About the Author

At The Globe and Mail since 1982, in assorted manifestations, chiefly crime reporter, foreign correspondent and member of the Editorial Board, Tim is now retired. More

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