Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Pacific Animal Foundation and the North Van District Animal Welfare Shelter

Pacific Animal Foundation (PAF) is a feral cat and rabbit rescue and advocacy group based on the North Shore. In conjunction with working in the community on a number of levels, including volunteering at the North Vancouver District Animal Welfare Shelter (DAWS), we felt that we could contribute further to the shelter by having the existing rabbit areas enhanced. Since January 1, 2002, when the SPCA lost its contract with the District of North Vancouver, there have been many substantial improvements, such as an outdoor cat courtyard, an indoor community cat room, two new dog exercise areas, and an indoor and outdoor play area for the rabbits.

Being in a shelter can create a number of stresses on animals which can impact health and behavior, so the more natural and friendly the environment the better. Confined to a tiny cage without the opportunity to exercise is not in keeping with recommended rabbit welfare guidelines, even on a temporary basis. So it was with disbelief when the Vancouver SPCA, a supposed animal welfare agency, installed twelve substandard lab cages for rabbits in the fall of 2004, and didn't have them replaced with more appropriate "housing" until May of this year. And that was only after numerous e-mails of complaint were sent to head office.

The District, in comparison, has always been receptive to improving the care of the animals at their shelter and has followed through with action. When PAF discussed plans to design, build and donate a large rabbit exercise enclosure with the shelter administrator in late June of this year, permission was quickly granted. Less than two months later the project was complete. Now the rabbits have four individual exercise areas, and the two removable dividers can provide the option of separating the pens into two eight foot runs.

Let's hope this can serve as a model to other animal welfare organizations who accommodate homeless rabbits.

Carmina Gooch,
Founding Director, PAF
President, RAG BC
August 30, 2006


Thanks also to TL Roberge Trucking Ltd, and the volunteers of the Rabbit Advocacy Group (RAG BC) who helped make this happen.

In August of 2006 a report came in that some domestic rabbits had been dumped in the Telus yard in the City of North Vancouver.  The SPCA holds the contract for that municipality, but as they were unable to supply prompt service, I went down and managed to round up two adult Himalayans, and two babies.  Another person captured the fifth one in the adjoining park and brought the bunny to the Vancouver SPCA.  The City of North Van has not had an animal shelter since 2002. 
The shelter is on NV District property and was jointly shared by both City and District but our council voted not to renew the SPCA contract whereas the City did.  This had everything to do with politics and power more than anything else.  No surprise. Read more on this story and other rescues here.

Contact the District of North Vancouver Animal Shelter
Phone: 604-990-3711  Email: paws@dnv.org

Bunny advocate write-up in local paper 

A Comparison: The SPCA and the District of North Vancouver

Give a homeless rabbit a second chance 2008

February 2019: The DNV Animal Shelter on Mansfield Place has closed. It has leased space at the recently opened Mountainside Animal Hospital (& 24 Hour Emergency Services) located at 2580 Capilano Road. https://mountainside24er.ca/  We have been advised that the shelter will not be accepting rabbits.


A letter to CNV Councillor Sam Schechter, with his reply.  He is running for re-election in our November 15, 2008 civic election.

Nov 10, 2008 

Hello Sam, 

As animal welfare is a concern in the community, I am asking if you can provide me with some information as to whether the City of North Vancouver is actively pursuing an arrangement with the District as to combining services for a shared shelter.  Our organization continues to receive correspondence from area residents regarding this matter.  

A second issue is that of selling animals through pet stores, and while fish are a large part of  Pet Boutique's business, rodents, kittens, and rabbits are also sold.  Has the City considered updating bylaws such as restricting the sale of intact animals or making it a requirement that the origin of the animals be displayed? 


Carmina Gooch, Vice President
Pets In Need Society
President, Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC

Nov 10, 2008  

Hi Carmina,

Thanks for your e-mail.

Although I doubt these are the answers you're hoping to hear, I can advise you that no, the City is not looking at either of those suggestions.

As best I can tell, I remain the only animal rights activist on Council and I am unaware of any other self-identifying animal rights activists seeking election in the City of North Vancouver.

Despite this, however, the City has brought in a new sustainable purchasing policy that lends some weight to procurement from vendors who practice social and environmental sustainability, which may have some benefit in terms of animal habitat and captivity. Further, the City has moved to allow hobby bee keeping in North Vancouver as a part of our expanding urban agriculture program.

Best regards,