2020 marks our 125th year and we have much to celebrate.
Did you know we are B.C.’s oldest charity? From the BC SPCA’s creation in 1895 to our first branch 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.
Here’s a look at some of the milestones we’ve achieved together in 125 years of rescuing and protecting animals.
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.
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.
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.
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..
BC SPCA Opens it's first Animal Shelter
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)
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.
Creation of First Centralized Cruelty
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.