The BC SPCA helped nearly 9,000 more animals through community-based pet food banks in 2022, as part of the Society’s expanded outreach efforts to help B.C. pet guardians in need. In total, the BC SPCA helped 118,679 animals last year through direct care and community outreach programs.
“We definitely saw an increased need for support from pet guardians who were struggling and who needed a little extra help to care for their animals,” says Lorie Chortyk, chief communications officer for the BC SPCA. “In total, 42,079 animals were assisted through the SPCA pet food bank program, with food distributed at our SPCA locations and through 134 community partners.”
In addition to increased support for owned animals, the BC SPCA saw a jump in the number of animals being surrendered into SPCA care last year, for the first time since 2019. “With the success of spay/neuter programs across the province, the number of homeless animals coming into our 36 animal care locations has been going down year after year, allowing us to invest more in pro-active community-based programs,” says Chortyk. “But in 2022, we saw a slight increase in numbers – nearly a thousand more animals – who came into our care for sheltering and adoption. In total, 32,462 animals were provided with direct services.”
The Society’s animal protection officers also had a busy year, investigating 8,069 cases of suspected animal cruelty and neglect and assisting 34,989 animals at risk. “Often, when an animal’s need are not being met the guardian is trying to do the right thing, but they just need a helping hand to access food, vet care or other resources to relieve the distress of their pet,” says Chortyk. “In those cases our officers do everything they can to help in order to keep families and their pets together.” In cases where pet guardians refuse to make the necessary changes, animals are seized and taken into protective care. In 2022 SPCA animal protection officers executed 122 warrants to remove animals.
One area where numbers dropped significantly in 2022 was in veterinary services offered by SPCA hospitals. “Like everyone else, we have been dramatically impacted by the ongoing veterinary shortage in B.C.,” says Chortyk. “Veterinary care is essential for animals in our own care and for community animals, but due to the lack of available veterinarians we were forced to close our hospital in Burnaby last year.” In 2022 the SPCA provided veterinary services for 16,228 animals, a decrease of 8,864 animals over the previous year.
An area that has seen continued growth is the number of volunteer hours offered by caring animal lovers across the province. In 2022, 3,304 SPCA volunteers provided 198,792 hours of service, an increase of 40,074 hours over 2021. “The BC SPCA simply could not function without the talent and dedication of our volunteers,” says Chortyk. “They carry out so many valuable functions, from sitting on our Board of Directors to helping with the day-to-day activities of our animal care, education and outreach services.”
SPCA humane education programs for youth returned to pre-Covid levels in 2022, with more than 7000 youth holding membership in the BC SPCA Kids Club, 11,000 children participating in SPCA school clubs and in-class presentations and 936 kids taking part in BC SPCA summers camps – a 33 per cent increase over 2021.
“The BC SPCA does not receive government funding for any of its services to B.C. animals,” says Chortyk. “We are extremely grateful to our kind and generous supporters who make our life-saving work for animals possible.”