Animals can’t vote, but you can! - BC SPCA
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Animals can’t vote, but you can!

December 1, 2022


The BC SPCA would like to thank the 13,865 British Columbians who shared their priorities for local government action. Animals can’t vote, but you can – by using your voice ahead of the October 2022 local government  election, you helped to improve animal welfare in your community.

After the election, we advised every municipal council and regional district board about your priorities. We also provided information on how they could improve animal welfare in their community.

Your priorities for local government

Our survey revealed that the vast majority of survey respondents (9,921 people in total!) felt it was very important that their elected officials lobby the provincial government to recognize the important physical, mental and emotional support provided by pets and increase pet-friendly housing for all British Columbians.

The other animal welfare issues in the survey also received strong support and are key to making our communities and our province safer, more caring places for animals and people.

  • 4,421 respondents thought that bylaws to restrict the breeding, sale and keeping of exotic pets were very important.
  • 3,825 respondents said that it was very important to regulate the use of private fireworks.
  • 3,737 people responded that it was very important for their local government to prohibit intentional or accidental wildlife feeding.
  • 3,812respondents said it was very important for their local government to provide safe, accessible dog-friendly public spaces.
  • 3,282 survey respondents said that humanely controlling rodents by ending the use of all poisons on local government property was very important to them.


Original Story: September 20, 2022

Animals can’t vote, but you can!

We are urging British Columbians to use their vote in the upcoming local government elections to make our communities safer, more caring places for animals and people. The actions and policies of local government can have significant impacts on animal welfare across our province. Community members need to let candidates know that they care about animal welfare and that it will help to determine their vote.

Make sure that your voice is heard – take our survey to tell newly elected officials your priorities, and talk to candidates about these issues when they come to your door.

And don’t forget to vote on October 15, 2022!

Cat and two women outside of a house

What can local governments do?

Local governments can adopt bylaws and policies to:

  • Regulate the use of private fireworks to stop pets, farm animals and wildlife from being traumatized, injured or killed.
  • Restrict exotic animals as pets or for use in entertainment to prevent their suffering and protect wild populations and ecosystems.
  • Prohibit the intentional or accidental feeding of wildlife to keep them (and us) healthy and safe.
  • Humanely control rodents and other wildlife to prevent cruel deaths for ‘pests’ and other species like owls, raptors, dogs and cats.
  • Provide safe, accessible off-leash spaces for well-socialized dogs and their owners to exercise, enjoy the outdoors and interact with each other.

Although local governments aren’t primarily responsible for housing, they can also lobby the provincial government to recognize the important physical, mental and emotional support provided by pets and increase the supply of pet-friendly housing.

“Many people assume that animal welfare is only regulated by the provincial and federal governments because we see so many high-profile issues at that level,” says Dr. Sara Dubois, the BC SPCA’s chief scientific officer. “We want to remind everyone that they can make a big impact for animals and people at the local level.”

Local government is also the most accessible and responsive level of government for most residents. “Municipal councillors, electoral district members and local government staff are all members of our community,” says Sarah Herring, government relations officer with the BC SPCA. “They’re our neighbours and they care about our communities, so let them know that animal welfare is a priority for you in this election.”

Local governments can adopt enhanced bylaws to advance animal welfare, allocate funding or land for off-leash parks, and decide how to control rodents and other wildlife on municipal property. Also critical at this time, they can lobby the provincial government to increase the availability and affordability of pet-friendly housing in their community and across British Columbia.

To find progressive animal-related bylaws already adopted by municipalities, regional districts and First Nations across British Columbia, check out the BC SPCA’s new bylaw search tool.

Together, we can make our province and our communities a safer, more caring place for animals and people. Join us and ask your local government representatives to take action today!