BC SPCA saw record demand for services in 2021

The BC SPCA helped a record number of animals in 2021, as the pandemic and extreme weather disasters increased demand for the services they provide to pet owners who need extra support.

The organization assisted 118,917 domestic, farm, and wild animals — an increase of about 22,000 from the previous year.  Only about a third were helped by being rescued or sheltered by the agency. The rest benefited from community-based programs like temporary, free boarding, or pet food banks.

“When people think of the SPCA, they might think of sheltering and adoption, and the cruelty investigations. That work is absolutely critical and that is ongoing. Really, where we’re seeing huge growth in our services is in programs for owned animals with pet guardians who just need a little extra help to be able to keep their pets and families together,” said spokesperson Lorie Chortyk.

“We’re really focusing on those community-based programs so that we can be not only that safety net for animals who have nowhere else to go or homeless animals, but also to be a support for people in the community who own animals, but really just need that extra help.”

She also said while demand for adoption has been high, the group hasn’t seen an influx of returned animals which is something other rescues did report throughout the pandemic.

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During the devastating wildfires and floods, Chortyk says the BC SPCA pitched in to help in a number of ways, suck as rescuing them from evacuation zones.

“We actually do have a network of facilities across the province. So wherever there is a disaster, we can be right on the ground to help,” she said.

“Not only can we help animals on the ground, but we can clear out the homeless animals that were already in facilities in that region, and move them to other SPCA shelters, so that we have the space to take in more animals.”

The non-profit also saw a record 3,128 injured and orphaned wildlife brought to its rehabilitation centre on Vancouver Island.

“Our wildlife rehabilitators and volunteers were kept very busy caring for everything from baby hummingbirds to river otters,” Chortyk said.

Advocacy on animal welfare issues like ending mink farming, banning fireworks, and putting a stop to wolf culls was also ongoing.

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