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Of course it's not just women risking so much to save a dog from cruelty, but at least 90% of the people who do this are women.
They do it in spite of almost paralyzing fear because they can't get the SPCA to help the dogs, or get their municipality or the SPCA to pass laws making it illegal and cruel to make a dog live its life in isolation.
The SPCA avoids preventing this cruelty by saying that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act is not adequate, but it does nothing to make it adequate.
Not everyone who is faced with the sight and the sounds of a sick, dirty, fly-covered dog straining on its heavy chain for years, or climbing and chewing the walls of its pen until its teeth break, or lying in hopeless depression in its inescapable urine and feces, or barking and crying piteously in the hope of being heard by those it loves so much and be brought inside to be part of its "family", steals the dog. Some sell their homes and move away after years of futile begging for help from the SPCA.
The women who are forced by their compassion to put themselves at serious risk from the law and from the owner of the neglected dog, cannot bear the thought that the dog is going to grow old and die in its misery, and they break the law of property. Shame on the BC SPCA and every municipality that cares so little for the suffering of these dogs and forces women to rescue them. AAS has been pleading for many years with municipalities, especially the City of Vancouver, and with the BC SPCA, to do the right thing by these dogs. We have told them that they are forcing women to take the law into their own hands, but that has not moved any of them to take action themselves.
Animal Advocates knows of women from every level of education, age, and wealth, from single mothers on welfare to society matrons from Shaughnessy, from teenagers to the elderly, from homemakers to lawyers, even off-duty police officers, who have gone out in the night and removed and rehomed a lonely, often abused, dog. The decision is never frivolous and the suffering of the dog is real in every case that we know of.
If anyone chained a cat in their yard 24/7, would the SPCA seize it? And if the SPCA wouldn't, would the City find a way to seize the cat? We think the SPCA would seize the cat. So why does the BC SPCA and the City of Vancouver consider chaining or confining a dog its whole life acceptable animal management practice? Because it has always been done? Because allowing guard dogs saves policing expenses? Because only a few children a year are savagely attacked and maimed when one of these angry, ruined dogs gets loose?
The BC SPCA's Manager of Cruelty Investigations assured AAS many months ago that the SPCA was going to find a way to prevent this cruelty, but we have yet to see it. What we do see is that our reports of these dogs are still treated trivially by the SPCA.
A dog is the only animal that has been bred for ten thousand years for companionship. It was chosen for this dubious honour because of its intelligence, its natural ability to work as a part of a team, and its affection and loyalty. And its reward is that it is the only animal that is frequently chained for its whole life. And the agency that says it speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves is silent on their behalf.
AAS is not going to give up speaking for these dogs.