Last spring Okanagan Animal Welfare Foundation had an educational table at a local mall. We were addressing the issue of yard dogs, among other things, and had our petition to stop the chaining of dogs on our table, along with information and handouts. I fielded many, many requests to help chained dogs, and lonely neglected yard dogs from the people who stopped at our table that day. Every single person told me that they had complained to the SPCA, and that the SPCA had done nothing.
Many people signed the petition, and I asked all who reported yard dogs to me to document them with photographs, and to fill out the report form I sent them away with. I explained to them all that by gathering the evidence and exposing how pervasive the problem is, perhaps city council will start to think about a bylaw. And perhaps the SPCA will get on board and support us.
Three days later, in the middle of a terrible rainstorm, I heard exuberant barking coming from my front yard. I went out to find a large, emaciated hound mix, chained to the tree in my front yard, barking so feverishly that his front legs lifted off the ground with every outburst.
On the doorhandle was a plastic bag that contained an open package of Jerky Treats, twenty-five dollars, and a note. The note said: "Please help me find a good home. I have spent my whole life, since a pup, chained up in the mud and snow. I'm a couple of years old. I know you care. Thank you."
A good samaritan had made the decision to do something for this dog. A kind stranger, probably someone who had never broken the law before, took a huge risk, and liberated an emaciated and lonely creature. Joe Citizen had to joepardize him or herself to end this dog's suffering. Why? My educated guess is that they helped this dog because the SPCA wouldn't.
I truly wish the BC SPCA would seriously address the problem of yard dogs. The problem is huge, and it exists all over our province. But so do the good citizens who want to help solve the problem. The awareness of the suffering of yard dogs is growing, thanks to the hard work of independent animal welfare organizations like Animal Advocates Society. The BC SPCA would find it has a huge amount of support, and many people willing to help take on this issue.
I see no reason for the BC SPCA to continue ignoring the suffering of yard dogs all over this province. It's long past time the SPCA spoke for them.
President, Okanagan Animal Welfare Foundation