BC SPCA 125th Anniversary | BC SPCA
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A reason to celebrate: 125 years of protecting animals

2020 marks an historic milestone for the BC SPCA – 125 years of serving and protecting animals in British Columbia! More than a million farm, domestic and wild animals have received life-saving help, thanks to our amazing staff, volunteers, supporters and community partners.

From the BC SPCA’s creation in 1895 to our first shelter opening in 1950; from our millionth animal adopted in 2014 to major changes in laws protecting animals in 2019, you’ve helped us transform the lives of millions of animals.

An because of your compassion, loyalty and generosity, we have achieved so much together to improve the quality of life for animals in B.C. and across Canada. As B.C.’s oldest animal welfare charity, we are proud to serve B.C. most vulnerable and at-risk animals. Thank you for joining us in the fight against animal cruelty!

-Craig Daniell

BC SPCA 125 Horses

1895

Creation of the BC SPCA

A small group of clergy, journalists and businessmen concerned about the mistreatment of work horses successfully lobbies the B.C government to establish laws protecting animals from abuse and neglect.

Justus Edward Knight of Ashcroft, B.C. leads the push for these laws, which included the creation of a society (the BC SPCA) to enforce them.

First Animal Cruelty Charge

Brought by the society results in a $5 fine to Victoria resident Joseph Phoenix for "wanton cruelty to a wretched old horse".

TODAY: highly trained SPCA special constables investigate +8,000 complaints a year. B.C.'s penalities for animal abuse are among Canada's strongest.

1890s

1897

First SPCA Branch Opens in Victoria

By 1901: Victoria, New Westminster, Vancouver, Vernon, Kamloops, Ashcroft, Okanagan, Kaslo, Nelson, Revelstoke and Rossland.

Today, the BC SPCA operates 36 branches across B.C.

Lobbying for Farm Animals

Succesfully advocates issues such as farm animal transportation, slaughterhouses, protection of work horses, mistreatment of animals in rodeos and the emerging Hollywood film industry.

1900

BC SPCA 125 Pigs in Straw
BC SPCA 125 Cat

1920

Increase of Stray Cats & Dogs

Attention is directed to domestic animals, as a growing number of strays become victims of starvation, exposure and brutal treatment.

Testing on Animals

Begin to speak out against the use of live animals for scientific experimentation.

TODAY: Continues today for humane alternatives to the use of animals in research.

1921

BC SPCA 125 Puppy and Girl

1932

Create the Junior Humane Society to educate children about animal welfare issues.

TODAY: BC SPCA teaches thousands of young people about the compassionate treatment of animals: BC SPCA Kids Club (2004), summer camps BARK magazine & school clubs

First Emergency Response & Rescue

Support animal rescue when the Fraser River overflows and the province declares a state of emergency.

TODAY: Continue to work closely with provincial emergency agencies to rescue & shelter animals affected by wildfires, floods & other natural disasters..

1948

1950

BC SPCA Opens it's first Animal Shelter
in Vancouver

TODAY: 44 locations across B.C. 36 branches, 5 hospitals/clinics, wildlife rehab centre, call centre, provincial office

BC SPCA helps to create the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (Humane Canada)

1957

BC SPCA 125 Cat in Carrying Case

1976

Open Canada's First Spay & Neuter Clinic - Vancouver

Low-cost sterilization for thousands of homeless dogs & cats roaming the streets of Vancouver.

Later transitions to a full service hospital for both regular & charitable clients.

The BC SPCA opens a Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre: Wild ARC

Today staff & volunteers have treated 50,000 injured and orphaned wild animals (over 140 species!) since the facility opened in Metchosin on Vancouver Island,

BC SPCA helps fund the creation of University of British Columbia's Animal Welfare program

Continues today and highlight’s the society strong commitment to supporting education and research that improves the lives of animals.

In 2019, the SPCA supports a new chair in companion animal research.

1997

BC SPCA 125 Otters

2001

Creation of First Centralized Cruelty
Investigations Department

Providing a coordinated response to animal cruelty complaints province-wide.

The society also undergoes a major reorganization to strengthen its services/programs across B.C.

BC SPCA launches Drive for Lives

A program to transfer animals between shelters to increase their chances of adoption. The program transfers more than 5,000 shelter animals each year.

2004

2005

The Growth of Spay & Neuter Clinics

With the focus on overpopulation across British Columbia, spay & neuter clinic open in Prince George, Kamloops (2009) and full-service hospitals in Penticton and Burnaby.

New Legislation Passes to Protect
Exotic Animals

As well as the launch of B.C.’s first symposium on exotics, bringing government officials, academics and industry reps to work on protection for wild animals.

2008

BC SPCA 125 Wild Cat

2013

New Facilities Plan

A comprehensive plan is created to replace or refurbish aging SPCA facilities across the province.

TODAY: New facilities in Penticton, Maple Ridge, Powell River, Nanaimo, West Kootenay, Kamloops, Dawson Creek, Tri-Cities and the Sea to Sky corridor, as well as large-animal barns in Surrey and Kelowna and a cat intake facility in Surrey.

The BC SPCA Call Centre is created

Providing a centralized response for complaints about animal cruelty, injured wildlife and other SPCA queries across B.C.

Leading the Charge for Inhumane
Farm Animal Reforms

Achieving national phase-outs of barren hen cages and pig stalls, and new federal animal transport laws.

Advoacy Wins: the ban of retail pet sales, an end to the grizzly bear trophy hunt, increased protection for animals used in dog and cock fighting and an end to the captivity of whales and dolphins.

2014

BC SPCA 125 Chickens
BC SPCA 125 Dog

2015

The Million Mark. The BC SPCA
adopts its 1,000,000th animal!

Creation of BC Pet Registry

B.C.’s first centralized pet identification database to help quickly reunite lost pets with their guardians.

Nearly 90,000 animals are registered in the database.

Growing & Updating to Better Serve

A comprehensive Facilities Development & Services Plan is born to replace or refurbish aging SPCA facilities across the province.

New facilities in Penticton, Maple Ridge, Powell River, Nanaimo, West Kootenay, Kamloops, Dawson Creek, Tri-Cities and the Sea to Sky corridor, as well as large-animal barns in Surrey and Kelowna and a cat intake facility in Surrey.

Creation of AnimalKind to support
Humane Training Education

A science-based accreditation program offering humane animal services, focusing first on humane pest control companies and humane dog trainers.

2016

BC SPCA 125 Dog
BC SPCA 125 Dog

2020

Celebrating our 125th Birthday

The BC SPCA is one of the largest animal welfare organizations of its kind in North America, helping nearly 48,000 animals each year.