More Letters to the BC SPCA

More letters to the BC SPCA

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Dear President and Board:

I have been a board member of many charitable organizations and understand clearly the role of a Board of Directors. It is a policy making body to oversee the organization and ensure those policies reflect the mandate of the organization.

Direction from the board is carried out by Administrative officers through direction to staff. Therefore, I am addressing my concerns to you about the ongoing lawsuit you are directing against Animal Advocates. You are the policy makers and you have agreed to a policy to sue another charitable organization.

I would ask the following questions:

  1. Does the SPCA have as its mandate the exclusive responsibility for the safety and well being of all animals?
  2. Does the mandate make the SPCA the only and final word on what constitutes cruelty to and abuse of animals?
  3. Does the mandate provide for the use of donated funds to litigate against anyone who disagrees with the SPCA?
  4. Does accountability for use of donated funds include reporting to the public how much is being spent to litigate against other animal advocate groups?
  5. Does the mandate, in a free society, include the right to silence anyone who speaks out against SPCA policies?

If the answer to any of the above questions is “No” then the SPCA Lawsuit against Animal Advocates and Judy Stone is a violation of your mandate.

SPCA MISSION

The BC SPCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and enhancing the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in British Columbia. Through its 36 branches located around BC and its provincial office in Vancouver, the BC SPCA provides a wide range of services for more than 53,000 homeless, abused, and abandoned animals around the province. The BC SPCA was created under the auspices of the Provincial Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and is the only animal welfare organization in BC which has the authority to enforce laws relating to animal cruelty and prepare cases for Crown Counsel for the prosecution of individuals who inflict suffering on animals.

The Mission of the SPCA talks about animal welfare, its role under the Provincial Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and its “policing” powers to enforce laws relating to animal cruelty and to prepare cases for Crown Counsel for the prosecution of individuals who inflict suffering on animals. There is nothing in the mandate that remotely suggests cases should be prepared for Crown Counsel to silence critics of the operation of the organization.

The SPCA board should review the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, particularly under Part 4 – subsections (21-26),:

Policing powers Subsections 21-22;
Obstruction of a person empowered by the Act as defined in Subsection 23(1-2); Offences under the Act, subsection 24 (1-5);
Order of Custody, Subsection 25 (1-3);
Power to make regulations, Subsection 26 (1-2).

Nowhere does the legislation provide the SPCA powers to use donated funds to litigate against public disagreement with the SPCA or against organizations who criticize the SPCA.

SPCA Complaint against Animal Advocates

There appear to be two major issues in the SPCA complaint against Animal Advocates.

  1. Animal Advocates is publishing materials that are “defamatory of the BC SPCA” and “has made itself a clearinghouse for the ingathering and publication of such criticisms authored by others.”
  2. Allegations by Animal Advocates about the SPCA has “seriously injured in its character, credit, reputation and has suffered damages, loss and expense.”

In a free and democratic society that provides for freedom of speech, it is inherent on the public to have the freedom to enjoy the right to criticize and evaluate any organization, particularly one that is run by donations from the public and that enjoys a legislated mandate.

That includes people who work together to gather information to substantiate claims against the organization (see 1 above: “clearinghouse for the ingathering and publication of such criticisms authored by others”).

To have found itself to be injured by the work of a group that is provided and criticism by the public, (see 2 above) the SPCA claims to have suffered damages, loss and expense. The SPCA, instead of responding to the criticism and changing its policies to mitigate the complaints has chosen to litigate to silence those who disagree.

Conclusion

I have long been a supporter of the SPCA and for a very long time have resisted the temptation to enter into this ill advised dialogue between your organization and other Animal Advocate groups believing that there are such abuses vested on animals in our society there is more than enough room for all to play their part in advocating for creatures who are defenseless against the unkind and uncaring of some people. I have resisted rhetorical commentary and even anecdotal evidence.

I have however, found myself no longer able to ignore the criticism and have personally seen some of the mismanagement that the SPCA is accused of. When I put all the evidence together, and consider the mandate of the SPCA and the legislation that provides the organization with not only privilege of serving but obligation of accountability I can no longer remain silent.

I have come to believe that much of the injury to the SPCA’s character, credit, and reputation and the damages; loss and expense it claims to have endured are very much the result of its own behaviour.

The SPCA is litigating against a small advocacy group instead of looking inward to the possible causes of the concerns being expressed by people who also care about animals. It is small wonder people who care are questioning if their precious donation dollars are being used for the care and well-being of those you are charged to protect or being used against another, smaller organization whose goal is also the protection of animals.

With regard to the expense. Litigation is expensive and for the SPCA to be using donated funds and forcing another organization that depends on donations to spend time raising a legal fund to protect itself is nothing less than outrageous.

I urge BCSPCA to reconsider its policy decision and withdraw from this lawsuit.

Yours truly

Joy Langan
former MP for Mission-Coquitlam

cc:

Mike Farnworth,
   MLA for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain
   Public Safety and Solicitor General Critic
Diane Thorne,
   MLA for Maillardville-Coquitlam
   Housing Critic
Corky Evans,
   MLA for Nelson Creston
   Agriculture and Lands Critic
Judy Stone,
   Animal Advocates


April 19, 2007

I have written to your CEO Craig Daniell twice. Both times I have been ignored. My two emails are attached. After all these years I can't understand why the BCSPCA cannot get along with the other rescue groups. I saw it first hand when I ran both the Vancouver Pound and the Coquitlam Animal Shelter.

I have offered solutions that cost the BCSPCA nothing to implement, but they fall on deaf ears. I think your biggest problem is that you have too much money and think that more money will solve all the problems. Money only cover up the symptoms of a systemic problem. You need to start fixing the problems not hiding them.

When I ran the Vancouver Pound we did it with NO MONEY!!!!! We didn't have the luxury of multiple shelters to move animals around or a veterinary clinic at our disposal. Yet we managed to spay/neuter every dog that was adopted and provide medical attention for those who needed it. What we did have was a bunch of people (staff and volunteers) who truly wanted to make it work. Lack of money NEVER stopped us or slowed us down.

Diverting funds from the care of animals to lawsuits is both unethical and immoral. You've collected those donations under false pretenses while animals continue to be neglected. I've not always seen eye to eye with Judy Stone, but it would never enter my mind to sue her. That would be a waste of money and effort. Maybe that's why Craig can't return my email, he's too busy spending his time with lawyers and lawsuits.

Get off your high horses, roll up your sleeves and get to work. You've got some serious problems to solve and money won't make it happen.

Barbara Fellnermayr,
President
Amore Pet Foods (0726984 BC Ltd.)
www.amorepetfoods.com

----- Original Message -----
From: Barbara Fellnermayr
To: cdaniell@spca.bc.ca
Sent: Friday, January 26, 2007 12:27 PM
Subject: Fw: Rescue Groups

Hello Craig,

It has been over three weeks since I emailed you and I have not received a response. Please confirm that you received my previous email and something is being done. I would hate to think that you were ignoring me.

Thank you for your time

Barbara Fellnermayr

----- Original Message -----
From: Barbara Fellnermayr
To: cdaniell@spca.bc.ca
Sent: Tuesday, January 02, 2007 12:33 PM
Subject: Rescue Groups

Hi Craig,

We've never had the opportunity to meet. My name is Barbara Fellnermayr, I used to run the Vancouver Pound and Coquitlam Animal Services. I have had many occasions on which I interacted with your predecessors, Doug Hooper, Doug Brimacombe and Brian Nelson.

I recently adopted a rescue dog from a local rescue group. In my discussions with the group I was horrified to find out that the SPCA continues to transfer dogs in need of serious medical attention to the groups without any funding. In fact, the groups do not even receive benefit of the free vet check that the SPCA gives out with every adoption.

The BCSPCA collects donations to help these animals, yet continues to shift the burden to the rescue groups, and keeps the cash. When is this going to change? When is the BCSPCA going to realize that the rescue groups are your allies? Working with the groups does not mean dumping your problems on them!

At the very least, I would like to see the following two policy implemented. First, each animal transferred to a rescue group be accompanied by a free vet check (after all they don't cost the SPCA anything). Second, the SPCA hospital provide their services to the rescue groups at a 50% discount.

Hoping that the New Year will bring about the changes that are desperately needed.

Barbara Fellnermayr,
President
Amore Pet Foods


April 18, 2007

Dear Directors,

I worked at the Kamloops SPCA for 6 brief months, and was horrified at how I saw the animals being treated. I left feeling that the SPCA is nothing more than a corporation of lies and false advertising. Animals were definitely not the number one priority, and lived day in and day out stressed in tiny kennels with little or not attention. I saw many terrible things happen, which included animals being killed unnecessarily. I left feeling that the SPCA ended in many more sad tales than happy ones. Seeing animal cruelty occurring at the shelter, animals being killed, and serving hot dogs at fundraising events is pure hypocrisy.

And yet, instead of putting much needed funding into improving animal welfare at the shelters and Animal Cruelty Investigations, you are putting money into quieting people exposing the truth! If you cared about animals, you would be striving towards change; not continuing to put on a fake smile while telling lies. During my interview, I was told that the SPCA rarely kills animals anymore and that it was usually in cases of terminal illness. However, that was obviously not true. They were killed so that people could drop off more. And these animals spent their last few days in a tiny steel kennel, then at times in a crate waiting at the back of the shelter for hours with no food or water and no attention; waiting to 'be sent.' An organization who cared about animals would not have this happen. The SPCA, at this point, cares more about 'saving face' and customer service than it does about animals. It is really quite sad. Aren't you supposed to be speaking for animals?

It is false advertising for you to spend donations on lawsuits rather than helping animals. People who know about this are less likely to donate to you, and will instead donate to organizations who do what they say (helping animals). Are you going blame others for this also, or take responsibility for your own actions?

Sincerely,
Tammy Kovaluk-Boos


April 24, 2007

If the SPCA kept files of the letters received from concerned citizens, you would be able to find a letter I sent about four years ago regarding my frustration in getting support form the SPCA to deal with a neglected dog. Up until that time my family had been regular donors to the SPCA. Unfortunately, the dreadful way I was treated by the SPCA and the lack of action or concern for a seriously neglected dog lead me to the discovery that the SPCA was not fulfilling its mandate of preventing cruelty to animals. As a result of this, my family ceased donating money to the SPCA and we soon discovered that there were other organizations that really would protect the best interest of neglected and/or abused animals. I soon became very impressed with the sincere and dedicated efforts of members of the Animal Advocates Society and consequently shifted donations to this organization. Since then I have learned and experienced more and more disturbing aspects of the SPCA’s operations. Now it is clear that further inaction to help animals in need is occurring as the SPCA devotes further resources to a lawsuit against Animal Advocates.

I truly hope that the SPCA will quickly come to the understanding that this action will only further expose the SPCA’s lack of concern for animals and a waste of resources that should be directed towards the welfare of animals. If the SPCA board of directors really wants to make a serious effort to save animals from neglect and suffering it will dedicate its efforts to reforming the SPCA. I strongly urge you to withdraw from this self-defeating action against animal advocates and request that you direct your efforts and resources to your original mandate.


Yours truly,

John Harrison
Vancouver


-----Original Message-----
From: Teri [mailto:teri@fota.ca]
Sent: May 18, 2007 9:28 AM
To: 'board@spca.bc.ca'
Subject: RE; AAS Lawsuit



President : Mary Lou Troman

Members of the Board : Bonnie Bischoff, Dale Campbell, Laura Cull, Michelle Grant, Ralph Hutchinson, Dave Hamilton, Vanessa Lycos, Vicky Renneberg, Gillian Smith, Kara Kingston, Leanne McConnachie,Carla Maruyama, Cindy Soules, Kathi Travers,Marguerite Vogel.

Good morning,

My name is Theresa Jensen and I am President of FOTA Rescue Society in Surrey, one of many small rescue groups dedicated to helping those who can’t speak for themselves, something the SPCA should be doing instead of suing Animal Advocates Society.

I am horrified and disappointed that the SPCA would use monies donated specifically to help the animals entrusted in their care to sue Animal Advocates. I thought a society had to use funds donated to it for the purpose it was intended for. By not doing so, would that not be a misappropriation of funds?

Over the years on many occasions FOTA has been asked both by paid and volunteer staff at different SPCA’s to take an old and or sick dog because they didn’t have the funds to take care of them and they would have to be put down if a rescue group didn’t take them. Of course we always took them in got them healthy and figured out after how we were going to pay the vet bills. No wonder the SPCA had no money for these dogs, you were blowing it on lawyers instead of putting to the use it was donated for, shame on you !

Over the fifteen years I have been in rescue there have been many occasions where members of FOTA have called the SPCA to pass on information of dogs existing in cruel and inhumane conditions. To the best of my knowledge nothing was ever done to alleviate the conditions and the animals remained in the same situations. The litany of reasons given by the SPCA being if there is food , water and shelter everything is fine. Two bowls in evidence do not necessarily mean there is ever food or water put in them. And a piece of cardboard is not an adequate shelter.

In 2001 my husband and I went on a mercy mission to check on an old Dalmatian who was chained up outside all of his life. His plight had been reported to the SPCA on many occasions but as usual nothing was ever done. The temperature had been way below zero for several days and we were very concerned that this old boy was outside with nothing but his short coat to keep him warm. Before heading out we called the SPCA emergency line and voiced our concerns and were told by the constable on call that he was the only person available for the whole of the lower mainland and to go ahead and check if the dog was outside.

It was -19 degrees and about 10.30 at night when we went to the house where he was kept. We took blankets and warm food hoping that we wouldn’t need to use them and that his owners would have had enough compassion to take him inside on such a cold night . We didn’t need to use the blankets or the food as the poor old dog was curled up in his kennel on the bare boards as if he was asleep, chain still around his neck, frozen to death. His food and water dish had two inches of ice and snow on them no one had been to check on him for several days. We called the SPCA constable back and told him that the dog had frozen to death and we were calling the police. The constable did come out didn’t check on the dog lying in his kennel by the driveway but went straight to the house and spoke to the owners. We later learned it was a very sick dog , the owners showed the constable a bottle of pills from the vet and that made it alright to leave not only an old dog but obviously a very sick dog outside to freeze to death.

We were promised by the SPCA that there would be an investigation and the owners would be punished. How na´ve of us to believe that for once the right thing would be done and that poor old dog didn’t die in vain. But because the owners had taken him to a vet and he was on medication (he had a huge tumor among other health problems), it was okay to leave an old, very sick dog out in – 19 degrees.

How many other animals have to die horrible deaths because you don’t do what you are supposed to do to protect them because you are too busy spending donations given to help the animals on suing a small animal rescue group who dared to question your ethics. You should be working with the rescue groups who take a huge burden off your shoulders by doing what they do…….helping those who can’t speak for them selves and doing a bang up job !!

Theresa Jensen,
FOTA Rescue Society


April 18, 2007

Board of Directors – BCSPCA

I have just been informed about the lawsuit you have applied against Animal Advocates Society and I am very bothered by it to say the least. Up until today myself and my wife have donated to the SPCA. We will no longer be donating to the SPCA. It is unacceptable to spend MY money on legal fees to fight an organization for speaking their mind and trying to force changes in the way the SPCA is run. I was blind for years obviously thinking that my thousands of dollars were actually going to help animals. Instead I now see it was going towards hefty paychecks, trips, vehicles & legal fees (to just name a few). I applaud AAS and they will have my support from this day forward. I wish I had been told the truth early as I know 100% of my donations would have gone to good use if they were given to AAS instead of the SPCA.

Josh Jackson
Victoria, BC


April 17, 2007

All I would like to know is if anyone in charge at the SPCA actually cares about the animals - the dogs and cats that languish in the bleak SPCA shelters. As we all go about our days eating when we are hungry, sleeping in warm safe homes, chatting and visiting with friends, shopping, traveling...the dogs and cats are sitting in the same ugly kennel. Day in, day out. Those are the ones who ended up at the shelter. What about all of the animals out there trapped in abusive homes, chained to a tree and all but forgotten, used as breeding machines for some lazy humans who look to make a quick buck? What is this court battle doing for them?

The bottom line is that only people who care about animals should work for or sit on the boards of rescues and shelters. For those that just show up to collect a paycheck or a title, please go to one of the thousands of menial desk jobs where no living being is affected by your lack of care for your job.

In today's world there is no reason that any animal should suffer for even a moment and we stand a much better chance for that becoming reality if each and every shelter or rescue group decides to put the animals first and work together. What a great force we would be if we all just worked together. Tying up money and time in a court battle while animals are suffering...it just doesn't seem fair.

Barbara Mueller


April 3, 2007

In 1998 I worked six months as a volunteer at the SPCA shelter in Surrey. What I witnessed there during that time caused me to become more and more disillusioned with the SPCA. My volunteering and my support of the SPCA ended abruptly when staff members killed a small dog I was in the process of adopting. Their killing of my dog was horrible enough, but was made worse by their callous attitude in doing so, no sympathy, no apology, almost as if they were on a power trip to show what they could do with impunity.

Since that experience, I have advised many people with interest in animal welfare to donate to other animal organizations and not to the SPCA. After the shake-up of the SPCA organization of the Lower Mainland a few years ago, I dared to hope that the SPCA would reform. Then I heard of the SPCA lawsuit against Animal Advocates and Judy Stone.

I hear that the SPCA is launching this lawsuit because they claim that AA’s criticism of the SPCA has resulted in a reduction in donations to the SPCA. Reduced donations are more likely due to people having experiences similar to mine with the SPCA and then doing what I did, advising other people not to donate to the SPCA. Then there is the failure of the SPCA to respond to cases of animal neglect and cruelty. People disillusioned with the SPCA will be directing their donations to animal rescue organizations that really do animal rescue. These organizations have sprung up throughout the Lower Mainland doing work the SPCA ought to be doing. The SPCA should not be blaming Judy Stone for decreased donations; they should look no further than themselves.

Now this lawsuit. The SPCA is spending money that has been donated to them for animal welfare to sue and attempt to destroy a person who has devoted her life to helping animals. How ever do you think that is going to improve the image of the SPCA and cause donations to come flooding in? The SPCA needs to do some soul-searching, drop this lawsuit and get to work doing animal rescue.

Sincerely,
Dorothy Beddows


April 17, 2007

Dear Directors,

I am writing to you in regards to the lawsuit that you have filed against Animal Advocates of BC. If you check your files, you will see that I was a substantial donor to the BCSPCA up until I found out through the media that you were paying yourselves exorbitant salaries and giving yourselves expensive benefits (vehicles, etc..).

I imagine you learned from your mistake. However it seems that you only learned that the media is not your friend, and thus you feel you must shut up anyone who seeks to expose any problems you might be having.

Rather then change the root cause of your problems and lower your salaries, you instead spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to sue the media (Animal Advocates). I can assure you that this won’t work. Instead it will only backfire as people like myself find out about your actions and request that the Vancouver Sun, CTV and other media outlets broadcast updated news stories, further exposing you to the repercussions of the truth.

I hope you will learn the errors of your ways. One important thing I must ask you is: If there is an afterlife, how do you think you will be judged? The answer to that question may lie in the answer to this question: How many dogs and cats have been killed or suffered to support your salaries and this lawsuit. I think that is a fair question, if you spend $200,000 on this suit – how many dogs and cats died for that amount?

If you asked them if they felt it was worth their lives to support you and this suit, how do you think they would answer? I really don’t expect any answers from you, but I hope that maybe you will read my letter and realize the errors of your ways.

Sincerely,
William Horn


March 9, 2007

Hello. I want you to know that my husband and I have donated many thousands of dollars to the SPCA - it must be countless thousands added up over the years. I am shocked at this defamation lawsuit against Animal Advocates. I myself have turned to Animal Advocates, several times, when frustrated by the SPCA's response to phone calls from me about an animal in distress or in an abused situation. The answer "well if they are being fed and watered there is nothing we can do" is the answer I have personally had for each call. As the SPCA was NOT helping animals- SOMEBODY had to. Thank God Animal Advocates was there. If Animal Advocates has criticized you- they are only passing on the frustration and concerns- (YES - THE CRITICISM) they have heard from people like me. If there is a problem with how you are operating- (and obviously there IS) - you should thoughtfully review, reorganize, and repair. A defamation lawsuit is pompous posturing. Exactly WHO in the SPCA is responsible for that ignorant idea? I would like to know. You are using money donated for helping animals in need for THIS? I certainly did not donate to the SPCA for the money to be used on a pompous. posturing defamation lawsuit. You are also forcing the AAS to use money to defend this ridiculous suit, You need to stop now. I personally will do all I can to inform the public about this shocking situation. The legitimate criticisms ( and believe me- these criticisms are necessary- your dog killing operations, the many things that are appalling and upsetting) NEED to be spoken out loud. You are supposed to be one of the good guys- what is going on?

Do you realize that many people who have donated to you are now saying they should take YOU to court for fraud! ( This was the talk over lunch at my office all this past week).- You have defrauded people like me of their money- making them believe that you operate with humanity and concern for animal welfare and actively work to stop it. Instead we find out you not only use money given to you for help animals in this ridiculous lawsuit, but that you contribute to animal distress. You need to stop now. This situation saddens me greatly.

Sincerely,
Donna Rivet


March 30, 2007

Directors and Managers
BC SPCA

Dear Sirs/Mesdames,

I am over 80 years old. My children are looked after and I am preparing a new Will.

I thought I might leave one million to be divided evenly four ways among four B.C. nature and animal groups, a land conservancy, a wilderness association, the S.P.C.A. and I have not decided on a fourth.

I was told the S.P.C.A. is suing another animal welfare groups and I have had this verified. This should not be your target. Your job is to fight those who abuse animals. You have all lost sight of your mission.

I do not give funds to be used in legal proceedings and doubly so in any action which I consider of a frivolous nature.

The instigator of this legal action and the board who gave their approval hove caused the S.P.C.A. the loss of the above monies. I presume other supporters of the S.P.C.A. feel as I do and may duplicate my action.

Yours in disappointment and disgust,

Neil S. Thompson


April 14, 2007

Dear Directors,

I note that your lawsuit against Animal Advocates continues to roll along at a somewhat less than speedy pace. See the quote from Bleak House below! A lot of people are making money from this lawsuit, but not the animals of BC. As William Gladstone, the British prime minister from 1868 to 1894 said “Justice delayed is justice denied.” Do all the individual directors agree with all this suing business? Have the BC SPCA directors read any of Ms. Stone’s website? They should as the suit seems to be in the names of the organization and that includes each and every one of them. One should always be aware of lawsuits taken in one’s name. Further, as an ongoing case in the United States shows, individual directors of charities can be civilly or criminally prosecuted even if they never visited the facility involved or attended board meetings and can be counter-sued should the case be lost or considered frivolous or groundless. Are any of your staff, or any of your directors, attending these mediation procedures, or are your lawyers being paid to represent the SPCA? Please clarify whether any of your staff time has actually been spent on this lawsuit.

Is anybody reading the supposedly offending posts or is Ms. Stone’s website just being copied en masse and submitted as evidence? Is the judge expected to read all her website? I don’t expect for a minute that he will. There are many pro-SPCA posts as well as the alleged anti ones. The way to correct anything perceived as erroneous is to participate in free and open debate. I find it difficult to understand the motivation behind this suit. I don’t think Ms. Stone has big resources that can even begin to compensate you for all the legal expenses that you, the SPCA Directors, are incurring. That is assuming that you don’t have the benefit of pro-bono legal help. Charities should not be in the cruel business of suing each other and causing people pain and distress. Humans are just as important as animals. In fact we are all animals. I would like to know how much money is spent by the SPCA on lawyers and lawsuits and why these numbers apparently do not appear in your annual reports. If they are listed, please provide the relevant pages. I understand that Ms. Stone is spending her own money, not that of her charity, so the BC SPCA presumably has an enormous financial advantage should it be using donated funds or bequests. The BC SPCA received $19,759, 518 in 2005, which makes it much the wealthier party in this case. People who donate are under the impression that their money is being spent on the little creatures that you speak of so eloquently on the Biscuit Fund pages of your website. I don’t know what your disagreement is. Things like your dog assessment programme should be wide-open for discussion.

What good can come out of this case from the SPCA’s perspective? It is surely costing your donors a pile of money (correct me if I’m wrong), which would be better spent on helping animals. I note that the new Nanaimo shelter is not expected to be completed until 2013 and that a 100% spay/neuter programme will not occur until 2010. Just how much do you want to spend on lawsuits? Have all of your “targets” posted on Ms. Stone’s website? Big Heart Rescue does great work, as do many of the other groups that you are electing to sue. It’s the SPCA’s job to work with rescue groups as the SPCA has such superior resources. Incidentally we took in some medical supplies to the Nanaimo BC SPCA last week and we take in cat food regularly, as we do appreciate that our local shelter tries to avoid putting down healthy animals. We regularly visit the cats. I elect not to give money directly as I do not want to subsidise lawsuits. I would appreciate your immediate response to my concerns.

Jean Martin
Lantzville BC

”The one great principle of the English law is to make business for itself. There is no other principle distinctly, certainly, and consistently maintained through all its narrow turnings” (Dickens- Bleak House)


April 18, 2007

I'm writing this email in a very stunned state as I just found out about this lawsuit. As the father of a woman who volunteers fulltime in a private rescue organization I thought I had seen and heard it all.

I have spent the last few years asking myself why the SPCA didn't help the dogs that have ended up in the care of her rescue. I look into the faces of many severely abused and neglected dogs that she and her rescue partners now call family and wonder why the SPCA did nothing for them.

But this situation takes the cake.

This lawsuit is irresponsible, dishonest, petty and a waste of money that could be used to save lives.

I feel that each Board of Director with the SPCA should be paying for this lawsuit out of their own pocket just as AAS and the individual defendants are doing. None of them have millions of dollars in donated money to cover their legal fees. I'm sure if they are like my daughter it is the complete opposite and they are very broke because they spend every dollar they earn on helping the dogs that need them.

I stopped giving to the SPCA long ago and this situation just reconfirms that I made the right decision. My money will continue to be given to small hard working groups like AAS so that I know for sure my money is being used in a way I want it to be.

Keep up the good work AAS!

Tom Hanley


BC SPCA Members of the Board of Directors

April 18, 2007

I've sat back and watched friends wasting time, energy and money having to fight back against the SPCA's lawsuit and would like a few simple questions answered.

How much money has been spent so far on legal fees fighting AAS?

What is the estimated final amount you are expecting to pay in legal fees all said and done?

Were all the SPCA members & supporters contacted and told about the money that would be spent on fighting AAS & it's posters?

Is every donator contacted when money comes in to let them know their money may not be going to help animals but instead will be split up between large pay cheques and silly lawsuits?

I feel it's completely unacceptable for $1.00 of donators money be spent on something like this, never mind the Tens of Thousands that have been spent so far and will continue to grow.

By using money to sue a small poor group like AAS that was donated to the BCSPCA to directly help the animals that need assistance is like stealing directly from your generous donators.

The way this should have been deal with would have been to post on the front page of the BCSPCA website letting everyone know you were going to sue AAS and you needed donations to do so. Anyone that supported this decision could have donated directly to it at their own will.

I guarantee you the donations would not have been pouring in. Even the hardcore, long term, lifer SPCA supporters would not be handing over their hard earned money to pay SPCA legal bills.

This lawsuit is a waste of time, a HUGE waste of money & and insult to every small poor hardworking rescuer who spends their days in the trenches doing actual animal welfare.

I'd like my above questions answered ASAP,

Thank You,

Darren Wagnor
Vancouver Island


April 19, 2007

BC SPCA
Members of the Board of Directors.
Mary Lou Troman, Bonnie Bischoff, Dale Campbell, Laura Cull,
Michelle Grant, Ralph Hutchinson, Dave Hamilton, Venessa Lycos,
Vicki Renneberg, Gillan Smith, Kara Kingston, Leanne McConnachie,
Carla Maruyama, Cindy Soules, Kathi Travers, Marguerite Vogel.

My name is Robert Brodgesell.

I am a life time member of the BC SPCA and have been so for many years.

I have been active at the Saltspring Island branch, including time on, as it was then, the board of directors, in charge of Animal Welfare.

Following my move to Ladysmith, I again became active with the Nanaimo Branch and eventually was elected chairman of the CAC.

During that time one of my main goals became the creation of a badly needed new shelter.

With the help of the Nanaimo shelter staff and members of the CAC, I designed and produced a preliminary, complete plan of a new “State of the Art” shelter. As far as the proposed building was concerned, I felt qualified, having spent all my working life in responsible positions in the construction industry, following studies at University College.

As far as the shelter layout was concerned, who could be better qualified for input than the shelter staff.

We had the fortune of engaging a qualified architect, who would have done all work free of charge.

( I suggested this same architect to you, when you had to do work on the Victoria shelter, but you did not even answer to this offer and spent great sums of money without need.)

With him we traveled to see other shelters to observe their good and bad points and learn from it.

I was in contact with engineers, surveyors and also Nanaimo City Hall to begin paving the way for this project.

I spent much time researching and listing Foundations throughout the country, who appeared promising to obtain mayor donations from.

None of this was done without the knowledge of the Board of Directors, as one of the directors also sat with the Nanaimo CAC.

I forwarded a complete report to Head Office and the CEO.

The only answer to this I received, was a short “Under no circumstances any mayor fundraising is to be commenced”. ( Not in these exact words, but even more so to the point.)

I suggested to have the two acres, part of the SPCA property, on the East side of the Parkway subdivided off the West side parcel and sold, as they would never be of any use to the SPCA and I offered to initiate proceedings, as I was familiar with City Hall requirements.

I never even received an answer.

I am Not writing to show what I have done, or blow my own horn, far from it, but I want to show the callous indifference the CEO and the Board of Directors had displayed toward myself AND many others. This almost total disregard of open communication and apparent lack of willingness to work harmoniously with others and other societies, such as the AAS, has caused people to turn their donations away from the SPCA.

The above is only the tip of the iceberg.

I sent many notes and letters to the CEO, including constructive criticism and the need for better communication and especially regarding the very serious need to work and communicate with other animal welfare organizations.

I don’t remember ever receiving any answers.

We were told the chairman of the Board of Directors had resigned due to too much work in his own office.

This was totally untrue.

He and some other directors resigned, due to a large part, of similar problems I had encountered.

It appeared that every way I turned, I met a brick wall.

In the end I could see no alternative, but to resign my position on the CAC.

And now, You, the all powerful BC SPCA, are attacking the AAS; A society, which has no other goal, but the welfare of animals.

You are attacking them because they have noted some of your shortcomings and issued forth some constructive criticism at the same time as they also voiced the wish that the SPCA must prevail and be strong as THE main source and the only source with legal powers to take care of animals in need.

It is beyond comprehension, that you are attacking them and others, instead of working WITH them !!!

Do you realize, that by your apparent irrational behavior, you are harming those, who you are supposed to protect, THE ANIMALS.

Would you please consult your common sense and discontinue this destructive action, spending money donated for animals, not for such uncalled for legal actions, and instead concentrate on true animal welfare and do this in cooperation with similar societies and groups.

Contrary to previous experience, I do hope at least some of you will read this and have some thoughts toward harmony with others, instead destruction.

With all due respect,

Robert Brodgesell
Ladysmith, BC.

copy to CEO


April 19, 2007

I am writing this letter to let the Board of Directors know how disgusted I am with the lawsuit against Animal Advocates Society.

How does the BC SPCA have the time to take on such a frivolous project when there are still many companion animals suffering 24/7 in BC that are being ignored by the wealthy group that claims to "Prevent Cruelty to Animals"?

How does the BC SPCA find it acceptable that it is spending money that was specifically donated by people who believe their money is going directly to the animals in need in BC?

How does the BC SPCA find it acceptable to attempt to shut down a tiny animal welfare organization who does nothing but good for companion animals in need in BC?

Not only are you attempting to shut down one of the best true animal welfare organizations, which truly does real animal welfare, you are unfairly punishing each person who is named in this ludicrous lawsuit.

I stopped supporting the BC SPCA long ago after I found out how much your executives were paid, how many animals were secretly killed, how many animals that need Cruelty Prevention are ignored, and how many animals individuals like myself have to save from the BC SPCA before they are killed for no legitimate reason.

How long does this have to go on before you all take a reality check and make change? The problem is not small groups who are critics of the BC SPCA and speak in fact from about their experiences and the changes they want made, but instead the problem is the policies and practices of the BC SPCA itself.

You will not receive an ounce of support from me or anyone within my circle until change is made. And I will continue to voice my opinion and let people know the facts that I have about the BC SPCA.

Jennifer Wagnor
Cobble Hill BC


April 19, 2007

I am writing this letter in hopes that it will shine some light on the reality of this lawsuit and the SPCA will just drop it.

I don't understand exactly what you are trying to accomplish by doing this?

You are concerned about what is being said by people on the animal advocates website about the SPCA yet you are suing them and making the SPCA look even worse!

I don't understand how a small group like Animal Advocates is such a threat to the SPCA?

You can't possibly deny that Animal Advocates does amazing work and has saved the lives of countless dogs in need.

Why would you want to stop that from happening?

Not only are you taking donated money and paying your lawyers to make this battle possible but you are also forcing the 'little guys' to find money to defend you and in turn taking MORE money away that could be going directly to more dogs in need!!!!

The difference though is Animal Adovocates are using their own personal money to fight this battle, they aren't using someone elses.

I believe if the table was turned and each person at the SPCA that was included in making the decision to sue had to pay for the legal fees out of their own personal money......this lawsuit would NOT be happening.

You now have the perfect opportunity to play the heros and drop the lawsuit. Let it go, announce it to the world, admit you were wrong and move on with life which hopefully includes making the changes that need to be made to your poorly run organization.

I really hope the right decision is made. This lawsuit will not only do damage to a wonderful group like AAS, but it will also be the straw that breaks the camels back for SPCA. If you think the SPCA is going to come out of this looking good, you are very wrong.

Please do the right thing. For the animals, not for egos.

Sincerely,
Marie Hanley


April 18, 2007

To the board of directors of the BC SPCA. I have to say it is appalling that the BC SPCA is spending so much money on a lawsuit against Animal Advocates Society. Shouldn’t this money be spent on making sure the thousands of animals you are suppose to be helping get the care they need. How many animals will die because of this blatant misuse of funds? This time and money would be much better spent working on changes to the BC SPCA standards to ensure true animal welfare is the norm in our province. If only you could put the same effort into making sure the neglect and abuse stops as you are into a lawsuit against a small volunteer run organization that only wants the standards of animal welfare in this province to change. This lawsuit seems petty and foolish.

I am a pet owner and animal welfare supporter working with dogs for over 10 years. I have been in many of your shelters and have even been called into help with particular dogs in need of training and accessing. Walking into the Surrey SPCA one day after being called to assess a particularly stressed dog I was greeted by an employee with her saying “oh that dog, that dog is a freak, just wait until you look at her”. This attitude is something that I feel should never accompany anyone working with animals in need. At that time it seemed only the volunteers put in the proper effort in helping the animals in need.

I have volunteered my time and knowledge in many SPCA fundraisers as well as my donation dollars. Unfortunately I have to say at this point my time and donations will stop. I cannot support an organization that will take away from animals in need, wasting time and money that could save lives and prevent cruelty. Isn’t the BC SPCA in place to help animals? Why can you not make real changes to stopping cruelty and neglect in our province?

 


April 19, 2007

I am writing once again to voice my support for the Animal Advocates group and their mandate.

I respectfully request that the SPCA stop wasting funds, donated by well-meaning citizens to help directly with the welfare of the animals, on legal fees to fight the AAS.

The SPCA and the AAS should be working together to find solutions for animals that are in need and suffering. As long as this battle between you continues, the more the animals lose out on urgently needed medical care, warm beds and loving new homes.

Every individual on this planet has within them the capacity to make a compassionate and heartfelt difference in this world - what choice do you make?

Respectfully,
Mrs. K. Holley


April 19, 2007

Dear Directors,

I am appalled to read that the BC SPCA is pursuing a lawsuit against AAS. I have been a long-time supporter of the SPCA (through the United Way) and always thought my donations were going to a good cause - that is, taking care of the most helpless in our society. Please tell me where the funding for your legal action is coming from as I am concerned it is from those very same donations. If so, it is the height of selfishness and arrogance that you would waste money like that and force AAS to also spend money they would otherwise have to actually help animals!

I have had personal experience with the members of AAS and I can tell you that they care deeply about animals. They aren't out to make themselves look good, they are there to save lives. When I called them about a dog in my neighourhood that was tethered 24 hours a day, they were out the next day!

I'm not sure what you hope to gain from this legal action - is it to silence those who are on your side? You ARE fighting for what's right for sick and abused animals, are you not? The AAS have nothing less as their goal.

Rather than hounding AAS, you need to be taking a close look at how you are running your operation and how you can improve. Please end this frivolous lawsuit now. If you are losing out on donations, you will only have yourselves to blame. I certainly don't want to support the kind of organization that would try to crush those who are shining a light on inappropriate practices and cruel policies.

Thank you,
Tamara Poirier


April 19, 2007

I can't believe that you are still pursuing this lawsuit against Animal Advocates. Animal Advocates doesn't want you to go away they just want you to reform for the betterment of real animal welfare. (I know you've heard it before) I, you and Joe Public enjoy freedom of speech and so should any organization. I have had first- hand experiences with your organization in trying to get some help with distressed animals and to no avail. The small independent animal welfare groups step up to the plate no matter what the cost or time. Unlike your organization, they do not have donor's money to spend on high priced lawyers as their donated money is spent on the ANIMALS. You allow some sick and old dogs to be adopted from your shelters or you euthanize them because you won't spend the money on vet bills so they may enjoy (and deserve) good health. Spending money on ill animals or animals that need behaviour modification would cut into your budget and then you wouldn't have enough to spend on heavy handed LAWYERS. If Animal Advocates sued all SPCA directors for mental anguish would each of you spend your personal money to pay your legal bills? I doubt that as you have donated money for the animals to spend!

If you cared more about all the chained and distressed animals that live cruel existences, enforced spay and neuter for all animals that come into the shelter before adoption, promoted rehabilitation instead of euthanasia, worked with the cities to enact backyard breeding by-laws, spent donated money where it should be spent (on the animals) perhaps you wouldn't be so vulnerable to criticism.

Are you going to sue me as I tell everyone I meet in dog parks, pet stores, etc. not to donate to the SPCA as it misuses donor's money and misleads the public in its advertising. I tell them instead to donate to the small animal rescue groups that go above and beyond for the animals in every respect and 100 percent of the money goes to the animals and they don't have any paid staff. Why do you think there are so many animals rescue groups? Because the SPCA doesn't speak for those that can't speak for themselves!!!!!!!

Please tell me what you are going to gain by continuing this lawsuit? Why do none of the Board members ever respond to any correspondence? Do they get to even read it or is it hidden from them?

I even know of some pet stores that aren't donating expired food anymore as they don't like that you are suing an Animal Rescue group. Want to sue them?

How many animals would have had their quality of life improved with the money you have spent on lawyers fees????

Thumbs down,

Diane Young

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