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Animal Cruelty Hotline:

1-855-622-7722

For all other calls and inquiries
see our contact details.

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Questions about the BC SPCA help topics


Questions about the BC SPCA

BC SPCA is an acronym for The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. We are a registered, non-profit, animal welfare charity and our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in British Columbia. Learn more about us.

There are SPCA organizations around the world, however they are all independent of one another. The BC SPCA was founded in 1895 by a small group of merchants, journalists and clergy who were deeply concerned about the abuse of horses being used as beasts of burden as B.C. entered a construction boom dedicated themselves to making life better for animals.

The BC SPCA is now one of the largest animal welfare organizations of its kind in North America, providing a wide range of services including the enforcement of animal cruelty laws through investigations into cases of animal cruelty and neglect; sheltering and adoption of homeless, surrendered and abandoned animals; low-cost spay/neuter programs; youth programs, advocacy on animal-related issues including higher welfare standards for farm animals; wildlife rescue and rehabilitation and more. Learn more about us.

Cruelty investigative Department staff in uniform group shot with a dog in front of BC SPCA truck

The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) is a registered, non-profit, animal welfare charity. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in British Columbia.

The BC SPCA is the only animal welfare organization in B.C. with the authority to enforce animal cruelty laws under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act). We are the largest animal welfare organization of our kind in North America and the largest animal sheltering society in the world. We have 44 locations across B.C. including:

We assist more than 42,970 animals in need every year and are funded by compassionate animal lovers who support our work and partner with us to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C. See more stats at a glance.

We are committed to achieving the highest standards of transparency and accountability in all our activities. In order to maintain these high standards of accountability and to foster public confidence in the work of our organization, we undertake to provide the public with information on our governance, operations and financial position.

Learn more about our programs and services, our mission, vision and charter and our history.

Craig Daniell, chief executive officer

BC SPCA CEO Craig Daniell

Craig Daniell joined the BC SPCA in 2002 as general manager of cruelty investigations and was appointed as chief executive officer of the society in 2003.

Before joining the BC SPCA, Craig served as director of investigations at the Ontario SPCA for three years. Prior to coming to Canada, Craig earned a law degree in his native South Africa and worked in corporate law and as a legal and policy advisor for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pretoria, before accepting a post to the United Nations in New York, where he worked on matters related to the law of the sea, animal protection, the Security Council and international law.

Meet the BC SPCA Senior Management Team >>

Yes, some school programs will give you credit for volunteering with the BC SPCA.

Practicums at Wild ARC are available for university and professional training credits.

Practicums at the Vancouver Branch are also available to university students if registered through the University of British Columbia.

High-school work experience may also be available at your local BC SPCA branch. Contact them directly for details.

Veterinary and registered animal health technologist externships may also be available at certain BC SPCA Hospitals and Clinics. Contact them directly for details.

CFHS logoWe play an active role on national animal welfare issues as a member society of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS). CFHS is the largest national animal welfare organization in Canada, representing more than 50 humane societies and SPCAs across the country. CFHS works to create a humane Canada by implementing solution-based strategies to end animal cruelty and improve animal protection.

The BC SPCA does not euthanize healthy companion animals entering our shelters. All medically and behaviourally healthy animals are placed in adoptive homes.

Every year we also take in thousands of animals suffering from physical and behavioural problems. We treat them and find them homes as well. Most animals are treatable.

We do not place a time limit on how long an adoptable animal can stay in one of our shelters. However, our goal is always to get animals into homes as soon as possible.

If an animal is being overlooked in one of our shelters, we will transfer them to a different branch to provide the best opportunities for adoption. Learn more about the Drive for Lives program.

A happy smiling dog with tongue out

Our euthanasia statistics

We euthanize fewer than 10% of the companion animals entering BC SPCA shelters yearly.

Our guidelines for determining treatability and adoptability are public: Asilomar & Adoptability Guidelines (PDF). As part of our commitment to transparency, we report annual euthanasia numbers using the Asilomar Annual Report. View our 2016 Asilomar Annual Report (PDF).

So… when would you euthanize an animal?

If an animal is suffering from a mental or physical illness or behavioural problem that cannot be treated in the shelter, or an illness that poses a serious public health or public safety concern, the animal may be euthanized.

Our community outlook

We believe that we are part of a larger community responsibility for companion animals. We are grateful to our supporters and adopters who open their hearts and their homes to help us place animals with medical and behavioural challenges. Over time, we hope to build resources so that we can help even more of these animals.

So… are you or aren’t you a no-kill sheltering organization?

The definition and use of the term “no-kill” are controversial. Some consider any shelter with a live release rate of over 90% to be “no-kill.” Our live release rate is over 90%, however, we do not use this term because we believe it divides animal welfare organizations. We do not believe it is useful or scientific in promoting shelter practices that best meet animal welfare standards. The term “no-kill” is best used to describe community goals, and not to describe individual shelters within a community.

Happy cat lying down getting a chin scratch

kids playing board gameKids ages 7 to 12 are welcome to celebrate their birthday at these select BC SPCA locations: Kelowna, Maple Ridge, Nanaimo, Port Coquitlam, Richmond, Surrey and Victoria.

Looking to host an animal-themed birthday party at home? Check out our Pinterest page for ideas!

The BC SPCA believes that all animals should enjoy, as a minimum, five essential freedoms, which were first described by the Farm Animal Welfare Council of the UK:

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst
  2. Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  3. Freedom from distress
  4. Freedom from discomfort
  5. Freedom to express behaviours that promote well-being

Happy mixed breed dog lying down being pet by smiling woman

What does animal welfare mean?

The BC SPCA is an animal welfare organization, which means we believe the use of animals for human purposes is justified as long as their welfare is ensured. Animal Welfare means an animal’s quality of life, and it is affected by animals’ physical health and the feelings they experience.

Animals experience good welfare when they are able to experience positive feelings (arising from pleasurable activities and the fulfillment of behavioural needs) and when they are free from poor physical health and negative feelings (such as pain, discomfort, hunger, thirst, fear and frustration).

Animals that are healthy, pain-free, comfortable and unstressed are said to have good welfare.

Close up shot of cute wild common barn owl with sideways tilted head

Addressing the cat overpopulation in B.C. is a major focus of our strategic plan. We are responding to the issue of feral and free-roaming cats across the province with six key initiatives. These include carrying out large scale spay/neuter programs and working with municipalities to implement cat-related bylaws. You can help by taking action in your community!

Caged rescued feral stray cat

The BC SPCA is opposed to the use of any animal or its tissues for dissection in education. When training animal professionals like veterinarians or technicians, dissections may be appropriate in certain circumstances.

At any educational level, we believe students should not be compelled to perform or watch animal dissection. We support students’ ability to opt out of animal dissection assignments. Alternatives to dissection, such as computer simulations and models, should be available to students.

The BC SPCA encourages developing techniques that result in the replacement, reduction and/or refinement of animal experiments or procedures. We urge governments, universities and other research institutions to make greater efforts to use non-animal alternatives.

Read our full position statements on animals used in science and use of animals in teaching.

The BC SPCA is the only animal welfare organization that can investigate animal cruelty as established by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Constitution and Bylaws of the Society (PDF). We are guided by our Code of Ethics (PDF).

Cruelty Investigation Officers

Animal Control agencies enforce city/municipal animal by-laws and, in some cities/municipalities, operate their own shelter. By-laws may include stray dogs, leash laws and licensing.

In some BC SPCA shelters, we are contracted by the city/municipality to enforce the by-laws or kennel stray dogs and/or cats. Find your local shelter to determine what services we provide in your community.

Please call the BC SPCA Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-6BC-SPCA (1-855-622-7722) to report animal cruelty.

 

The BC SPCA helps:

  • Companion animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters and gerbils
  • Farm animals such as goats, sheep, chickens, pigs and horses
  • Wild animals such as sea otters, birds of prey, skunks, raccoons and squirrels
Wild otter swimming in the ocean near rocks with paws up to mouth
Photo credit: Stef Olcen

While the BC SPCA regularly works in partnership with animal rights organizations, and we enjoy a mutual respect for each other’s work, our philosophies differ. The BC SPCA is an animal welfare organization, not an animal rights organization.

The goal of animal rights organizations is to end all use of animals by humans, including use of animals for food, clothing, in entertainment, in research and as pets.

As an animal welfare organization, the BC SPCA acknowledges that many Canadians rely on domesticated farm animals for food. Our farm programming exists to improve the lives of animals being raised on farms to ensure they reach the end of their lives as peacefully as possible. We encourage people who choose a diet consisting of meats, dairy products or eggs to choose only products raised to the highest standards of animal welfare.

BC SPCA Certified ProgramThe SPCA Certified program is an evidence-based program developed by the BC SPCA to ensure that animals raised for food are treated as humanely as possible throughout their lives via the five freedoms outlined in the BC SPCA mission statement.

Leading by example, our internal BC SPCA food policy ensures that only qualifying higher welfare animal products are served at BC SPCA events, and that vegan and vegetarian foods are available.

The BC SPCA supports the initiative to establish evidence-based standards and clear expectations for the practice of slaughter without prior stunning. Nonetheless, since slaughter without prior stunning has been scientifically demonstrated to cause unnecessary suffering, the BC SPCA position is that governments should take more substantial action by eliminating the practice in Canada, or at the very least, by requiring immediate post-cut stunning of every animal.

The BC SPCA believes that the methods used to kill any animal must be humane. Read more about the BC SPCA’s position on humane killing (PDF) and farm animal welfare (PDF).

Unfortunately, our constables have no inspection powers in slaughterhouses and can only attend to investigate if we receive complaints from someone who has witnessed animal cruelty directly. Also, because these ritual slaughter practices are legally permitted under B.C.’s and Canada’s meat processing laws, they are also effectively exempt from prosecution under the B.C. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, as they constitute “reasonable and generally accepted practices.”

Developments began in 2016 to create national standards to address this issue and a public consultation period was held in early 2017 to gather feedback on the proposal. The BC SPCA was told that our position statement on the issue was considered, and we will continue to fight for tougher standards to prevent suffering of these animals.

This is an issue that would be really important for government to hear from you on personally. We suggest writing to the Provincial and Federal Agriculture Ministers and copying in your local MLA and MP. It’s always really important that they hear directly from their constituents on these issues.

We empathize with your situation; unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon. Many animal guardians face difficult decisions when pets require serious medical care.

If you are seeking assistance to spay or neuter your animal, learn about low income spay/neuter programs in B.C.

The BC SPCA Vancouver Animal Hospital offers an assistance program for kitten cat with cast on looking uplow income people. If you qualify for financial aid, it will cover up to 33% of the cost of services provided at the clinic (not including exams, lab work, medication, vaccines or diets). Please note, however, that the BC SPCA does NOT provide financial aid to have procedures done at other vet clinics. For more information, please email spcahosp@spca.bc.ca.

If you are not in Vancouver, you can contact your local BC SPCA to see if they are aware of any initiatives in your area that assist low-income pet guardians with medical expenses.

For immediate short-term help, you can apply for financing through programs such as Petcard.

Our recommendation for a long-term/preventative solution is to look into insurance coverage. With pet health insurance, you’ll be able to remove the stress and worry of unexpected medical costs and provide your pet with the best medical care possible, at a low monthly premium.

We sincerely hope you are able to get the assistance you need.

No, at this time, we do not have gift cards available at the BC SPCA.

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