AWANBC projects are identified by our members and address pressing issues that are impacting animal welfare in our communities. Creating a system of accountability through rescue standards and supporting remote, northern and underserved communities were identified as two of the most pressing issues.
Animal Rescue Standards of Practice
Prior to this year, there were no criteria required for groups involved in animal welfare or rescue. There is rarely accountability or funding support for these organizations and the patchwork of animal protection legislation from community to community is outdated and has often been difficult to enforce. There has also been a dramatic increase in the number of organizations created to import dogs from other countries.
As a result, advocates and organizations both within the AWANBC membership and outside have been calling for the creation of animal rescue standards of practice. In the summer of 2019, AWANBC began work on such guidelines. And, in August of 2020, the Animal Rescue Standards of Practice were finalized and released to the public.
The standards aim to provide feasible and scientifically informed approaches for rescues to meet animal health and welfare needs. They also ensure that rescue organizations are operating such that they meet legal requirements. Individuals interested in adopting from and volunteering with rescues that meet the standards will be able to trust that the organization is acting in the best interests of both the animals they serve and the community.
July 2019 – First draft is completed
Aug-Sept 2019 – AWANBC membership consultation
Oct-Dec 2019 – Outside stakeholder consultation
Jan–July 2020 – Revisions and review
August 2020 – Final document available to the public
TBD – Develop accreditation program (in progress)
Supporting remote, northern and under-served communities
B.C.’s stray dog problem exists largely in northern and remote communities where it is estimated that over 2,000 female dogs are having litters each year. Many of these communities are hours away from the nearest veterinary clinic and even where veterinary care is local, it is unaffordable to low-income earners. When the stray dog problem grows too large in a community, it is not uncommon for dogs to be culled in an effort to deal with the problem.
The first step we took was to map out what services and resources are available in these communities and developed maps to illustrate our findings. Our next step will be to consult with our members who have programs to support specific communities and to identify ways we can support the replication of programs and services in similar remote, northern and underserved communities.