Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Reforming the SPCA to keep up with changing times 

In recent years the BC SPCA has come under increasing scrutiny regarding its practices. 

Practices like "euthanizing" perfectly adoptable animals, enormous salaries, decrepit facilities, no accountability to the public as to how it spends its donations, flawed temperament testing for dogs, and so on.  The public became more and more disenfranchised with the agency that purports to "speak for animals" and municipalities were choosing not to renew SPCA contracts.  The media was finally beginning to listen, too. 

In 2004 a defamation lawsuit against the Animal Advocates Society was initiated by the BC SPCA, in the hopes that this group and its supporters could be silenced.  A SLAPP suit, if you will.  Read more: http://www.animaladvocates.com/lawsuit/  

"Every time somebody tries to stifle speech they end up advertising it."  Bruce Rogow, Professor of Law 

"The impact [of gripe sites] overall is minimal, whereas the publicity that may arise from a lawsuit could do more damage than the site itself. And if you look at the precedent it's not encouraging."  Virginia Richard, Trademark Attorney 

The BC SPCA threatened to have the AAS website shut down but Judy Stone isn't one to back away from this fight.  Four years later an endless amount of time and money have been spent on what is widely believed to be a meritless lawsuit.  Having the truth silenced is a significant threat to democracy, and one we (and the animals) cannot afford to lose.     

July 5, 2008

Re: Trevor Lautens The price of freedom and free speech mounts

Dear Editor:

To what degree is "free speech" tolerated in a "democratic" society? I suppose casual comments shared among friends are okay, but when the voice of dissent becomes a threat to corporations/business interests or to organizations like the BC SPCA, that voice must be silenced. Hence, the BC SPCA's lawsuit against the Animal Advocates Society of BC. SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) are often employed to intimidate and scare opponents into silence. In this case, the tactic didn't work and Judy Stone is forced to put out her own money to defend the action initiated by the SPCA. Whose money is the SPCA using?

I never received an answer.

Unfortunately, large organizations have deep pockets and long arms, so the fight for justice becomes one of a David and Goliath.

Carmina Gooch
North Vancouver

Rabbit Advocacy has corresponded with Head Office, the BoD, and branch managers on numerous occasions regarding concerns over high kill rates of rabbits, the inequatable treatment they are given at facilities, and the business arrangement they have with Petcetera.  Any overall improvements or changes the SPCA has made was because of evolving societal attitudes and public pressure.  


Challenge the PR statements of the BC SPCA.  Make them accountable. They have a job to do.  This is an animal welfare agency with immense power, an agency which should be leading the way in raising the bar in treatment and care for society's most vulnerable.  Yet they're lagging behind, leaving small groups and caring individuals to pick up the slack.  Their track record isn't one to be proud of.   

Ask us what the SPCA doesn't want you to know.  Share your experiences.  Document incidents.  Take photos.  Don't be satisfied with the present status quo.  Get involved and make the future a better one for our animals.   

In April, 2008 the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act was amended, giving neglected and abused animals more protection.

July 10, 2008 I really can't believe that the BC SPCA "euthanizes" for the same reasons as other groups or facilities that claim to be "no-kill", as Mr. Daniell states. It would be interesting to see a list that justifies the SPCA to kill the "unadoptable." I wonder if space, cost, treatable illness or age are factors in making the determination. Could it be that kennel cough or cat colds are excuse enough? Perhaps somebody from the SPCA can say whether such trivial explanations are being used to defend its actions.

I know Rabbit Advocacy values each and every life and that we have saved many a rabbit from death by the SPCA. 

(Posted by Carmina Gooch on the AAS messageboard)

January 26, 2009 Here is the list of reasons that staff must use to put into the SPCA's system when animals are 'euthanized.'

1. Aggression-humans
2. Aggression to humans
3. Behavioural
4. Blind
5. Cat flu
6. Compulsive, obsessive, stereotypic behaviour
7. Congenital defects
8. Contagious
9. Critical distress
10. Deaf
11. Declared dangerous
12. Dental disease
13. Dominance aggression
14. Dominant behaviour
15. Ear mites
16. Escape behaviour
17. Excessive vocalization
18. Failed BA (behaviour assessment
19. Fearful/aggressive
20. Feline leukemia
21. Feral
22. FIV positive
23. Guarding behaviour
24. Hair loss-demodex
25. Hair loss-non specific
26. Hair loss-ring worm
27. Head trauma
28. Heartworm positive
29. Humane grounds
30. Hyper reactivity to stimuli
31. Hyperactive
32. Idiopathic aggression
33. Injured
34. Kennel cough
35. Kennel crazy
36. Lack of pigmentation
37. Litter box aversion
38. Neurological problems
39. Old
40. Orthopedic problems
41. Owner request
42. Parvo
43. Parvo contact
44. Poor condition
45. Seizures
46. Separation anxiety
47. Sick
48. Spraying stress
49. Tick paralysis
50. Timid/fearful with accompanying anxiety
51. Too many cats
52. Too many dogs
53. Too young
54. Trauma
55. Unsocial
56. Wolf hybrid

How many of the SPCA's reasons are reasonable?

The 56 'reasons' supplied by the SPCA to 'euthanize' an animal implies that it makes good sense, that there's sound thought, a rationale, or logic for the course of action. How many of the 'reasons' are reasonable? More appropriate wording might be excuses, justification, motive, or explanation. Sample list titles could include Excuses for Extermination or Explanations for Elimination.

Posted on the AAS messageboard 01/26/09 by Carmina Gooch

Updated list of 36 reasons, Feb./09  It's disgraceful and unacceptable that any animal 'welfare' organization would kill for reasons like this.  (SPCAs, 'humane societies' and pounds put to death the unwanted all the time) Should we kill humans for the same reasons?  

  1. Behavioural - Aggressive to Cats
  2. Behavioural - Aggressive to Dogs
  3. Behavioural - Aggressive to Humans
  4. Behavioural - Aggressive to Other Animals
  5. Behavioural - Chasing
  6. Behavioural - Declared Dangerous
  7. Behavioural - Destructive
  8. Behavioural - Escaping
  9. Behavioural - Fearful
  10. Behavioural - Frustrated in Kennel (stereotypies)
  11. Behavioural - Lack of Housetraining/Toilet Problems
  12. Behavioural - Other (*please describe)


  1. Behavioural - Over-excited (uncontrollable)
  2. Behavioural - Separation Anxiety
  3. Behavioural - Spraying
  4. Behavioural - Vocal When Left
  5. Medical - Chronic Disease Condition
  6. Medical - Congenital Defects
  7. Medical - Contagious: Canine Distemper
  8. Medical - Contagious: Canine Parvo
  9. Medical - Contagious: Feline Distemper
  10. Medical - Contagious: FeLv
  11. Medical - Contagious: FIV
  12. Medical - Contagious: Kennel Cough
  1. Medical - Contagious: Other (*please describe)
  2. Medical - Contagious: Ringworm
  3. Medical - Contagious: Upper Respiratory Disease
  4. Medical - Critical Distress
  5. Medical - Seizures
  6. Medical - Untreatable Condition
  7. Medical - Untreatable Injury
  8. Other - Geriatric
  9. Other - Lack of Space
  10. Other - Not Socialized to other Animals
  11. Other - Not Socialized to People
  12. Other - Wolf Hybrid

 * Writing to the media gets information to the public.  It's a great way to help spread the message that all animals' lives matter.*

Animal advocates still have their claws out for the SPCA 

Published: Monday, March 03, 2008

Craig Daniell certainly can't be speaking about rabbits when he states that the SPCA is known for its "progressive work in animal welfare." Rabbits were kept in lab cages at the Vancouver branch from 2004 to 2006 with no time out for exercise. Although rabbits have been described as the "multiplying champion", they aren't sterilized before being rehomed.

All the rabbits that I brought out or were transferred to me and other rabbit rescue groups were sitting on Death Row. They were perfectly healthy rabbits, not "beyond medical help" nor "highly aggressive" as Daniell would have one believe.

Progressive animal welfare? I think not.

Carmina Gooch
North Vancouver

© The Vancouver Sun 2008

Concerns about SPCA 

April 4, 2005 Burnaby Now

Dear Editor:

Re: SPCA under Attack, Burnaby NOW, March 23.  I, too, would like to know why the city renewed the SPCA for three years despite the number of concerns raised regarding the “care” of animals at this facility.

As to Mayor Corrigan’s statement that “it’s challenging for the city to weigh situations when allegations are raised by volunteers” and to go on to say that “it’s always difficult to assess the legitimacy of complaints,” it is an insult, to say the least, to this group of people.

Substantial, well-documented evidence of graphic animal suffering was presented, and throughout the Lower Mainland other municipalities are choosing not to renew SPCA contracts, and for good reason.

I question the judgment and abilities of the mayor and council in this case and feel that the interests and welfare of the animals was not put first.

Carmina Gooch, by e-mail
Posted on 04/04/2005

Save some sympathy for the lowly rabbit

Published: Saturday, May 10, 2008

It's no surprise that dogs are living more privileged and healthier lives than cats. They're at the top of the "pet" hierarchy.

Rabbits, which are also companion animals, fare even lower than cats. They're often an impulse buy, and not valued in the same way as dogs are. Usually a "starter pet," they're perceived as throwaway, and thoughtlessly discarded in under six months.

Do a media story on a dog being abused or shot at, and the letters of outrage and offers of help will pour in.

Society has no such sympathy for the lowly rabbit.

Carmina Gooch 
Rabbit Advocacy Group of B.C.
North Vancouver

© The Vancouver Sun 2008 

March 6, 2012 Bill 24: Amendments to enhance animal welfare and transparency

Re: Bill 24. Many animal welfare/rights/advocacy groups have considerable concerns about Bill 24, and have suggested amendments, or have rejected it entirely. There are no provisions in the bill that will improve the welfare of animals in our province, and involving the FIRB is, to say the least, leaving many uneasy. It would seem that the government has missed the mark in its focus. CETFA views “the government’s actions as an attempt to move protection for farm animals from the department of justice into the hands of those with a vested interest in the agriculture industry.”  

March 20, 2012 Big Ag would benefit from neutered provincial SPCAs; updates to enforcement powers

April 19, 2012 NDP scores changes to animal cruelty amendment bill; FIRB appeals

March 2012 Considerable controversy erupts over plans to reform Ontario's PCA Act. After public outcry and strongly worded criticisms Jack MacLaren of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario has withdrawn private members Bill 37 but is now introducing The Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act, 2012 in its place. If it receives Royal Assent the SPCA will lose some of its powers and the Agriculture Ministry will come out ahead. And the animals? Well, you decide. Just a sad state of affairs all round.

March 13, 2012 Revised PC Party Act still guts animal cruelty laws; Ontario MPP reveals proposed changes to legislature; updates 2013-2019 

2012 Update: BC FIRB will hear PCA Act Appeals


February 18, 2015 BC Budget allocates $5 million to improve SPCA facilities   

5 million from the 2015 BC Budget has been allocated to the BC SPCA for replacement or renovation of its facilities. BC Minister of Agriculture, Norm Letnick, and North Vancouver-Seymour MLA, Jane Thornthwaite, visited the Vancouver SPCA a few days later. Not everybody has been pleased with this news.

January 31, 2017 Government of BC announces $5 million for SPCA’s capital plan

The B.C. Government has announced an additional $5 million for the BC SPCA to support the society’s eight-year Facilities Development and Services Plan to replace or renovate aging shelters. CEO Craig Daniell said having updated facilities that can accommodate large numbers of incoming animals is critical to the SPCA’s ability to respond quickly to the thousands of domestic, farm and wild animals who are victims of violence and abuse every year in B.C.

Read more: BC pet stores receive complaints; Doggie World, Puppy Paradise under fire, new BC Bill M214 hits roadblock, reintroduced 2016

Companion Animal Welfare Fund signed into law; Animal Welfare Act; CFHS position statements; ALDF

California Debates Pet-Sterilization Law; passed 14-1; local & state laws

There's No Such Thing as a 'Responsible Breeder', local breeders & the CRA, BC looking to regulate commercial dog & cat breeders