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article imageAnimal lovers launch petition for inquiry into BC SPCA practices

By Marcus Hondro     Feb 27, 2014 in Health
A group of animal lovers in Victoria, B.C. has started a petition seeking an inquiry into the Victoria SPCA and BC SPCA. The group maintains a trust has been broken with the public and, more importantly they say, with the animals under SPCA care.
The petition, available by following this link, is titled: Demand an Independent Review of BC SPCA Polices and Practices pertaining to Animal Welfare! and to date has about 750 signatures.
The "euthanizing" of two dogs last November 12th by the Victoria SPCA, Bear and Dozzer, appears to be the major issue that galvanized their demand for an inquiry, but there are others, including the manner in which the SPCA is using money donated by the public. Most of those who have organized the petition, including Daisy Jassar, Ivana Halliday and Troy Alexander, are former Victoria SPCA volunteers who were either fired or resigned.
Former SPCA volunteers seek inquiry
The petition organizers claim they've witnessed a deterioration of standards at the Victoria SPCA since a management change made last August. At that time, long-time branch manager of the Victoria SPCA, Penny Stone, was fired. Her replacement, Annie Prittie Bell, was part of the team that decided to kill Bear and Dozzer and has been criticized for doing so, and for what critics call a style of management that is secretive and non-consultative.
"My sole goal in all of this is for animals to get a fair opportunity at a second chance," one former volunteer, Daisy Jassar told DJ. "My commitment is to animal welfare and I believe that the BC SPCA should be a leader in this area."
Jassar notes the BC SPCA has over 40 shelters around the province and says they should be leaders in the humane and responsible treatment of orphaned animals but doesn't believe they are fulfilling that mandate. She said that the issue is not just in Victoria and claims that three young dogs were 'euthanized' at the Fort St. John's SPCA, dogs she says should not have died. She also doesn't believe the transparency once a part of Stone's tenure at the Victoria SPCA is now being practiced, there or in the BC SPCA overall.
"When we see adoptable animals being euthanized for undisclosed reasons, that is of a concern," she said. "The process to evaluate these dogs is called the DTA4 assessment. We have some serious concerns with the DTA4 assessment process used by the BC SPCA. They present it as being a state of the art assessment process, when in fact it is many years old and has been criticized by many groups in the past as being outdated and an inappropriate and unfair way of assessing an animal."
Halliday, fired as a volunteer largely because she strongly opposed the killings of Bear and Dozzer, and Alexander, who resigned his volunteer post, are also concerned with what they call a lack of transparency at the SPCA and with what is happening to animals there. Halliday marveled at what wonderful and non-aggressive dogs Bear and Dozzer were and said their killings were unwarranted and that such a scenario should never be repeated.
Animal lovers seek SPCA transparency
The group's concerns are stated on their petition site: "Volunteers, donors and members of the public are extremely concerned about the current situation and practices at the Victoria branch of the BC SPCA," the site reads. "These include prematurely euthanizing senior animals, requiring homeless animals to meet unreasonable admission criteria, denying medical assistance to injured strays, using an outdated animal assessment model (DTA-4)...and the extreme lack of compassion, transparency and accountability demonstrated by management."
"In addition, we have serious concerns about a substantial discrepancy in the financial figures of the branch’s Friendly Neighbour Fund from Aug 1, 2013 onwards," the site goes on to say. "(To media) Lorie Chortyk, General Manager of Community Relations at the BC SPCA, said that all financial statements for the SPCA branches were available upon request. However, despite several requests, financial statements for the Friendly Neighbour Fund have not been made available."
The coalition of concerned animal lovers is seeking to get as many signatures as they can by a March 31 deadline. They are hoping the results will prompt the BC SPCA to launch a formal investigation into the Victoria SPCA and into its own practices.
More about bc spca, bear and dozzer, Animal lovers, victoria spca
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