BC SPCA’s Drive for Lives program transporting more animals than ever as number of animal surrenders in Northern B.C. increases
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BC SPCA’s Drive for Lives program transporting more animals than ever as number of animal surrenders in Northern B.C. increases

June 20, 2024

The BC SPCA’s Drive for Lives animal transfer program celebrates its 20th anniversary this year at a time when the need for the program has never been greater.

“In 2022 we transported 4,029 animals throughout the province. In 2023 that number jumped to 4,879 and this year we are on track to move even more animals,” says Rachell Weist, manager of the BC SPCA’s Drive for Lives program.

Weist says the increase in the number of animals being surrendered in Northern B.C. and a smaller population than other parts of the province as one of the biggest drivers of the increase in numbers.

Adrienne McBride, the BC SPCA’s senior director, community animal centres, explains there are many homeless and unwanted pets in Northern B.C. and a smaller pool of potential adopters than in other parts of the province. “Combining these two factors, plus the limited access to affordable vet care, especially for spay and neuter, it becomes absolutely necessary to move animals out of the North to the lower mainland where there is a larger population of adopters. Drive for Lives means more pets find their loving forever homes.” McBride further explains that pet populations needing the BC SPCA’s help, especially dogs and puppies, have increased significantly since COVID, reaffirming how important the Drive for Lives program is to ensuring animals get the help they need, no matter where they are in the province of B.C.

“We transfer animals to increase their chances of adoption, first and foremost, but they may also need to be transferred out of a region so they can receive specialized medical and behavioural attention,” says Weist. She adds that large animal intakes from animal protection cases can also require the transfer of animals from one centre to another to make room.

Transfers from Northern B.C. animal centres or the Okanagan occur weekly. Weist says that rising fuel costs have not yet had an impact on the number of transfers they are making but they are mindful of the costs. “We combine drives as often as possible when it is safe to do so.”

The Drive for Lives program also plays a key role in the BC SPCA’s emergency response. “We transport supplies, help with set up and tear down of our support services, and move animals in our care and who have been emergency boarded from fire affected areas to safer areas,” says Weist.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the launch of the BC SPCA’s Drive for Lives program and the work they do to help animals find their forever homes and the care they need, loving longtime supporters are offering to match every donation made towards this essential service, up to $21,500.

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