Release the SPCA from its pound contract and stop their power to euthanize!

Release the SPCA from its pound contract and stop their power to euthanize!

November 8, 2018
Petition to
John Horgan (Office of Premier Victoria BC) and
Signatures: 749Next Goal: 1,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Lucas Neault

Recent media involving the SPCA euthanizing a dog without trained or professional assessment moments after it was adopted due to it nipping its new owner in excitement. The SPCA needs to be removed from its pound contract, adoption services, and its ability to euthanize animals for what it at its sole discretion deems required. This happens on a daily basis to innocent animals for no reason at all at the whim of the SPCA in the name of protecting animals. It is time to use the SPCA solely as an advocacy group. Sign the petition and strip their power to be the warden of animals, close their kennels and adoption facilities, their vet offices and most of all their power to euthanize any animal. 


(The following are non copyrighted excerpts from an article that was accurate at the time of its writing, the original writer of this information is in no way associated with, nor do they play any role in this petition.) 

The Vancouver Regional SPCA is the private pound contractor for 18 municipalities in the lower mainland. First the SPCA had their governing documents amended by the provincial government to allow them to be pound contractors and then the Vancouver Regional SPCA went into business. They had the facilities, the trained staff, and the equipment to euthanize. They put it to work earning money – as much as $5 million a year. So yes – they DO get government money, even if they say they don't. They get your tax dollars. You can phone your City Hall or Provincial Government Office and ask how much these pound contracts are costing you. Remember – a pound contract is a contractual obligation to dispose of stray and excess dogs – for money. And one method of disposal is killing.

Pound contracts also require the SPCA to be the dog-police – handing out tickets, rounding up strays, silencing lonely back-yard dogs by threatening their owners with a fine if they don’t silence their unhappy dog, all done without a professional behaviourist or trainer. Too often, SPCA threats cause the owner to make the dog even more miserable by muzzling it, so it can't cry out of loneliness anymore, or to surrender their unsocialized backyard dog to the SPCA where it stands a dim chance of being rehabilitated, and so will be killed.   This is incompatible with true, humane, animal-welfare work. I believe it is a moral contradiction for an apparent animal-protection agency to be the contracted pound. So, does the SPCA speak or silence those who cannot speak for themselves?


Vancouver Courier has some very revealing articles on the SPCA and it's pound contracting and how it corrupted some of them at VANCOUVER COURIER, AUGUST22-01 RE SPCA  and VANCOUVER COURIER, AUGUST 29-01 RE SPCA.

Municipalities started to contract-out pound services, in an attempt to save money and at the Vancouver SPCA's urgings. A market for private pound contractors was created. And then, over a period of years (and this couldn't have been done without the collusion of the BC SPCA which gives and takes away warrants to operate an SPCA in the province), the Vancouver SPCA went dog-pound empire-building.  Local community SPCA boards of directors were disbanded, and the "shelters" were taken over by the Vancouver SPCA and turned into pounds, the justification given that local branches weren't being run well.   But this was done only in those municipalities where poundkeeping was contracted out and there was a contract to go after, and it was the SPCA itself that worked to convince municipalities to contract dog control rather than do it themselves. Not only that, but the SPCA employee's union, CUPE, was allowed to negotiate a ten year agreement, which stipulated that the SPCA must bid on all pound contracts that are available in its jurisdiction. (See the very revealing article on this in the Vancouver Courier VANCOUVER COURIER, AUGUST 29-01. The Vancouver SPCA eventually took over every local SPCA in the lower mainland.*   Taking over one SPCA by another can only be done with the assistance of the BC SPCA Provincial Office, since only they can take a warrant to operate an SPCA away from one board, and give it to another. People in North Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, Delta, Langley, Maple Ridge, Coquitlam, and Abbotsford and West Vancouver, who think they have their own SPCA are mistaken. They have the Vancouver SPCA/Pound in their communities. They have no local power to direct or change or improve SPCA policy in their communities. They have no local people sitting on their board.  Their SPCA is controlled by Vancouver Regional SPCA

The SPCA claims that it is much more humane than other private or municipal pound-keepers; that other private pound contractors use, or have used, inhumane methods of euthanasia. But in the early 1980’s, the SPCA had to be forced by public outrage to stop using an "electrothanator" to kill dogs. These horrible machines use an electric current that passes through the dogs. They were old, uncalibrated, used by untrained employees, and CHEAP - they had all been paid for many years before. Witnesses tell of sickeningly brutal deaths of dogs. A former director of the Vancouver SPCA, who tried to stop the SPCA from using these machines, and was voted off the board at a stacked AGM inspected all these machines with an engineer and wrote a report that was ignored by the SPCA. 

At that time, the board of the Vancouver SPCA had six real animal-loving members who wanted to replace the electrothanator with humane injection, and instructed their management to do so. Management, with the support of the unionized staff, refused! Humane injection would cost a few dollars, possibly $3.00 to $5.00 each injection. The electrothanator was free. Humane injection would take money out of their pockets.

Before the issue could be forced, the next A.G.M. was held. The SPCA loaded the meeting, and the kind-hearted, animal-loving, truly humane, directors were voted out! The issue was taken to the press, and public opinion forced the SPCA to do what the board had been thwarted from doing – trying to have dogs killed with as little terror as possible, including guns, that the SPCA still uses.

Who should be the pound-keeper? Not for profit, no kill shelters!

Sad to say, and thanks in part to the SPCA never having tried to legally control dog breeding - some SPCA employees actually breed and sell dogs and cats, a lot of undeserving people have dogs, and they desert them, and too many other people want puppies, and dump adult dogs. Others get big dogs and chain them up as guards until they are so de-socialized they become dangerous.  So to our shame, society still has the need of a pound-keeper. But pounds, until society cleans up its act should be clearly a place where a dog might be killed. And the SPCA should be clearly a place where no animal will ever be killed. The two must be absolutely separate in the public’s mind. The SPCA for large sums of pound contract money has obscured the distinction. For large sums of money it has enabled the public to pretend that they’re not being irresponsible when they abandon their dog at the SPCA, because it’s "going to get adopted to a good home".  In 2003, we with that in our minds, due to very unfortunate circumstances brought our perfectly healthy and young Collie to the SPCA to be re-homed. Within 2 hours when we returned deciding the dog was more important than the situation, we were told he had been euthanized. Why? We were told by SPCA staff "it was a Collie, and nobody will adopt a Collie" They destroyed a perfectly healthy, well trained animal at their own discretion without even attempting to put it up for adoption. Since that day I have never supported the SPCA or its work and have since found this is a very common occurrence at the SPCA. A dog has no better chance of getting adopted at an SPCA than at a pound.  The SPCA, with it’s own clinic, continues to adopt out unsterilized dogs and cats. And its "non-profit" clinic may be making a profit, (no one but they are allowed to see the books), but perhaps it wouldn’t be, if it was sterilizing its own animals or helping the impoverished no kill rescue network.

The Vancouver city Pound now has a ten hours a day, seven days a week walking program, compared to the Vancouver SPCA’s program that only permits dogs to be walked during a two hour period some days, and too bad if a dog never gets walked. This applies to animals in homes that the SPCA is called to investigate, they do not care as long as that animal has water and food it can be locked in a cage for its entire life or chained to a tree.  And the only other pound in the lower mainland which is not controlled by the SPCA, the New Westminster Pound, has a reputation among the no-kill rescue network as being much more humane than any SPCA. If you were an abandoned dog, would you rather go to one of these pounds or to an SPCA?

The Vancouver SPCA has deliberately misled the public when it sends out appeals for funds which claim "We don’t get a penny of government money". They get 4 to 5 million a year in animal control contracts paid for by municipal governments. But they carefully say… "our humane work doesn’t get a penny of government money". They make a fiduciary distinction between their "humane" work, and their "pound work", so they can make this misleading claim of not getting any government money. The immorality of the SPCA being a place that kills animals, while touting itself as a protector of animals, is in it deliberately, and for money, being a silent "enabler" for irresponsible people who are "getting rid of" their trusting, loyal pet. In fact, it carries enabling for money so far, that anyone can walk into an SPCA and pay to have a perfectly nice dog or cat killed. The SPCA justifies this easy money by saying that people would use inhumane ways to kill their pets. That’s a moot point, but it doesn’t excuse killing on demand. No lover of animals would ever agree to do this. Even pounds should refuse to do this – their mandate is to keep the streets clear of stray dogs, not to kill peoples’ pets for them. But it’s an easy source of revenue, and after all, they’ve got the equipment and the staff– they might as well put this to use earning money.

Enabling allows dog-abandoners to pretend that they haven’t abandoned their dog – that they’ve handed it over to a kind-hearted agency that loves dogs, and will find a "good" home for it, so they’ve done nothing immoral. This means that the SPCA has a constant source of needy dogs, which means that they will go on getting millions of dollars in donations and bequests, and will go on being able to pay themselves the huge wages and salaries shown in "SPCA Financial Information".

A true no-kill shelter can only take as many animals as it has space for. When it’s full, It counsels people on how to place their animals in a new home, it networks with all the other no-kill organizations, it counsels people on how they can arrange to be able to keep their pets. It does not kill for any reason except for the relief of unrelievable suffering. It does not kill because a dog is "unadoptable" – the shelter becomes the dog’s permanent home if necessary. That is what most no-kill organizations are now doing, after realizing that taking every animal meant killing some, and that killing innocent animals to make room for more, was morally indefensible.

What happens to dogs the no-kill organizations haven’t room for? Their owners must take them to a pound, where the owners can’t pretend that their dog might not be killed. Or they can take them to a vet and pay to have their dog killed (though most vets are much more ethical than the Society to Protect Animals, and will refuse to kill sound animals). Thousands of dogs are being killed every year as it is. It’s not immoral to be the agency that won’t do it. If the SPCA refused to kill people’s pets, the same number would still be killed. Or very possibly, fewer would be killed, if the SPCA stopped making it so easy for people to "get rid" of their pets with a clear conscience, and if the SPCA set an example of true humanity and true animal protection.


The SPCA’s role should be an inspector of pounds to make sure they are humane, not the paid dog-killer itself. And it should be paid by either the provincial government or the province to do this as they already are for killing the dogs.

Pound contracting is a business, and in order to make a profit,  time and money can't be wasted on rehabilitating, and humanely caring for dogs. In BC municipalities, where the SPCA is the pound contractor,   SPCA employees are very busy  carrying out  animal contracting pound duties such as driving around looking for dogs out of off-leash parks, dogs without tags, silencing lonely barking dogs, and other dog-unfriendly tasks. If they didn’t do this, they could lose the contract to another private pound contractor. Municipalities who contract animal control to the SPCA have inadvertently guaranteed that the SPCA won’t have much time to offer  help to suffering animals in their municipalities (if they had the desire). Every municipality should have its own pound, with its own municipal employees. The SPCA’s duty should be to insist on provincial legislation making pounds humane, and to inspect pounds to make sure they are humane. Instead the SPCA seems to be looking for ways to expand the scope (and therefor the value) of animal control contracts, such as the provincial legislation (urged by the SPCA) that now allows the SPCA to go on private property to seize a dog they believe to be dangerous, and the odious cat-control legislation adopted by several municipalities at the SPCA's urging that could force people to take all stray cats to the pound (the SPCA) instead of these people being allowed to help the cat themselves.  The SPCA admits that it kills thousands of cats a year, and only 3% of stray cats are claimed by their owners.  And it's no secret that it's official BC SPCA policy to kill all feral cats, so this SPCA-urged legislation can fairly be described as an attempt at "round up and kill", or "kill the cat" legislation. It can also be described as an attempt to put the cat rescue network out of business by forcing them to take all the feral cats, and strays they so lovingly help.  It is estimated that alternative animal-welfare organizations get and spend every penny on the animals as much as 1/2 - 3/4 of a million dollars a year that is not going to the SPCA.

Before this legislation, no municipality in the lower mainland had cat control in its animal control contracts.   And now, thanks to this legislation, the opportunity exists to add cat control costs to dog control costs.  In fact, none of the SPCA-urged legislation is consistent with protecting animals from cruelty but is consistent with the possibility of increased revenue for increased animal control contracts. If the SPCA wanted to truly help animals it would put itself out of business by strictly controlling breeding and being an animal advocate.   

It is time to take the power and the funding away from the SPCA for its pound services, adoption kennels and its power to decide any animal can be euthanized without just cause. 

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Signatures: 749Next Goal: 1,000
Support now