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.

Rescue Standards of Practice

There are no criteria required for groups to be involved in animal welfare or rescue and there is no accountability or funding support for these organizations. The patchwork of animal protection legislation from community to community is outdated and often difficult to enforce. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of organizations created to import dogs from other countries’.  

Excluding the BC SPCA and municipal shelters, well over half of the rescue organizations in B.C. import animals from outside of Canada, sometimes for profit and often doing little to ensure they are not continuing the cycle of abandonment and neglect of these same dogs in B.C. Dogs end up in families that cannot manage their behaviour; they bring aggression or undiagnosed health problems prior to adoption; they are allowed adoption without spay or neutering; there is no follow-up; and, help is not provided when the new family cannot take care of their new pet, all of which are basic standard practices in a reputable rescue organization. This has a dramatic ripple effect on animal welfare and rescue, not to mention public safety.  

As a result, there has been a call to create rescue standards of practice both within the AWANBC membership and outside. Work is currently underway drafting a standards document.  

July 2019 – First draft completed
Aug-Sept 2019 – AWANBC membership consultation
October 2019 – November – outside stakeholder consultation
December 2019 – Final Document available to the public
TBD 2020 – Develop Accreditation Program

Supporting remote, northern and underserved 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.