Did you know it’s National Pet Day on April 11th?
There are a number of great charities across Canada that are dedicated to improving the lives of animals. We recently had a chat with Eileen Drever from the BC SPCA about the most important issues in animal welfare today.
Here is what we found out:
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and what you do?
I have been with the BC SPCA for 39 years in many different roles. Up until recently, I was a Senior Animal Protection Officer, overseeing ten full-time Animal Protection Officers, and covering cruelty investigations in the Lower Mainland.
I am now Senior Officer, Protection and Stakeholders Relations. When we conduct cruelty investigations, the goal is to determine if an animal is in distress. If so, we try to educate, and if that fails then we may have to take legal action. This could include the removal of the animal, and subsequently recommending charges to the Crown Counsel.
What is the BC SPCA? What is its main mission?
The BC SPCA is a not-for-profit animal welfare organization, which enforces animal protection legislation, operates animal shelters, hospitals, spay/neuter clinics and a wildlife rehabilitation centre. We also offer humane education programs for thousands of youth throughout British Columbia and are advocates for farm, wild and domestic animals on a wide range of issues.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals mission statement is: To protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in BC.
What are the top things you wish that everyone knew about animal welfare?
It’s not enough to provide animals with the basics, such as food, water and shelter. We have to be mindful that they are sentient beings, and suffer emotionally as well as physically.
What do you see as the most important issue in animal welfare today? How would you address it?
Unfortunately, animals are considered property under the current federal legislation. I would like to see that changed to sentient beings.
When my career began at the BC SPCA in 1980, we would see between 400 – 500 dogs come into the shelter each month. There were so many cats we didn’t even count them! Very few people would think of spaying or neutering their pet, and if it went missing, they would be replaced. Animals were seen as disposable, and it wouldn’t be unusual to see dogs running freely on the streets. Today, this is very rare.
If you visit your local shelter you will find most of the kennels empty, dogs and cats are usually wearing some form of ID, such as a tag, tattoo or a microchip and are spayed/neutered. The BC SPCA provides the very best care to our residents in our community adoption centres, and we are concerned about both their physical and psychological needs. We have come such a long way in my 39 years with the Society – we now use the term animal “Guardian” instead of “owner” and a lot of people refer to their four legged companions as “fur babies”.
From your time working at the BC SPCA, do you have any memorable stories?
I recall one dog I rescued out of a dumpster many years ago. The dog was wrapped in a plastic bag, and he’d managed to chew a hole in it so he could breathe. I immediately took him to a local veterinarian, but the poor dog, a geriatric, was unable to walk. When word got out, a number of people donated towards his care and he was fitted with a wheelchair. We eventually located the owner who thought he had euthanized the dog, before throwing him in the dumpster. The owner wanted his dog back, but the BC SPCA applied to the Supreme Court of Canada to keep him, and we won! This little dog received acupuncture, aqua therapy and lots of love in his final days.
Do you have any other charities you donate to, or other causes you support? If so, why?
I strongly believe in the work we do at the BC SPCA, and donate monthly. My other charity of choice is BC Children’s Hospital – I have an inherent need to try and help those that are unable to speak for themselves.
Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us, Eileen.
If you’d like to give to an animal welfare charity to celebrate National Pet Day, then there are a number of great charities on CHIMP to choose from.
Have a story to share? Get in touch with us at @wearechimp, or send us an email: email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you!