Animal Advocates Watchdog

If the branch is not paid for by taxpayers, the SPCA pulls out: We wish Phyllis Gregg and her volunteers the best *LINK* *PIC*

If the branch is not paid for by taxpayers, the SPCA pulls out

The SPCA has said on a number of occasions that pound contracts are not lucrative. It can produce the figures to prove this.

But something about pound contracts works for the SPCA, because it pulls out of a community when it loses the contract.

Once is how it works:

In the 1960's the SPCA started to sell itself to BC municipalities as the best pound contractor for the buck. But it only used this sales pitch where there was a municipally-owned building already.

Having a free building saved it hundreds of thousands of dollars in start-up expenses and it saved it hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent and maintenance costs, for decades.

It won most contracts because it undercut the competition. It could do that because it was a charity and its mere presence meant it would attract millions in donations, unlike the competition.

Even though the SPCA made no actual profit, and may even have lost money on some of the contracts, it made millions in donations just by being there. Some contracts covered the SPCA's operating expenses, and the donations were the very lucrative gravy. Brian Nelson, the boss of the Vancouver SPCA's 18 contracts dog-control empire, who boasted publicly that he had killed 50,000 animals, also said publicly, when trying to save the SPCA's contract in Coquitlam, that the mere presence of the SPCA in Coquitlam attracted $2 million a year in donations.

There would be nothing wrong with this, if in fact the SPCA lived up to the other part of its sales pitch - that it would be more humane than other contractors.

But there is much detailed documentation of how the SPCA was no better than the worst private contractor, and in fact, was worse than many. The electrothanator, the disease, the brutish animal-disposing employees, the secrecy, the gas boxes, the huge salaries, the run down cells, and the mass killing are the proof. All this is fully documented.

Further proof that the contracts are lucrative is the fact that the SPCA fights to keep them. It can argue that it does that because it is more humane than the alternatives, but that has been exposed as false too. The new municipal pounds, and even some private contractors, are superior to the SPCA. The organization that touts itself as the premier animal welfare organization in BC is often less humane than the local dog-catcher.

Beginning five years ago, AAS began urging the SPCA to get out of the inherently anti-welfare animal control business, and instead, concentrate on real animal welfare and become the drafter of kennel standards laws and inspector of pounds. There is money to be made that way, from people who would come to trust the SPCA again, but it would take imagination and a lot of hard work, and the status quo is just easier.

From the Vancouver Sun: 1984