CKNW: Animal Welfare Coalition criticizes SPCA finances and secrecy
June 1, 2004
"The B.C. SPCA has dug itself a big money hole and wants the provincial government to throw it a bone.
With a $4.6-million loss last year, the SPCA is asking Victoria to pony up more money to fund enforcement of animal cruelty laws.
Past-president Rick Sargent said yesterday the SPCA spends $3 million a year to enforce the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, yet only gets $70,000 a year from the Ministry of Agriculture.
"Maybe they should step up and pay a more significant portion of the cost of enforcing that act," he said.
A ministry spokesman said the SPCA is a private body, at arms length from government, and is self-financing.
The SPCA generated $20 million in revenue last year, but at times was spending $500,000 a month more than it was taking in. The SPCA has lost more than $10 million since 2000.
Last year, the society laid off staff, cut costs and centralized its structure. It also fired some senior executives, including one who was earning $204,000 a year.
Another former boss is suing the SPCA for $130,000 in severance.
Sargent also said the SPCA needs more public donations, which account for 58 per cent of its revenue.
But Donna Liberson of the Animal Rights Coalition said the SPCA is "top-heavy" in management.
"It always boils down to, 'Give us more money,' " she said. "None of this money goes to the animals. It's all for administration."
She wants the SPCA to get its books properly audited so the public can see where its donations are going. "