One of our Prince George BC colleagues noticed a chained puppy in her neighbourhood. She saw Thor playing joyfully with the family's children. She once saw Thor when he had escaped his chain, playing joyfully with neighbourhood children, but before she could spirit him away to safety, Thor's owner caught him and put Thor back on his heavy chain.

Our colleague approached Thor and found he was just a friendly pup. But unfortunately she was seen by Thor's owner. Just bad luck. So she asked what the puppy's name was and offered to walk him. The answer was an expletive-laced No! She went at night, and sure enough there was puppy Thor in the lonely, 20 degrees below cold and dark. He cried when he heard our colleague whisper for him.

Thor almost made it to freedom, but again she was seen. Thor's owner threatened to call the police, but before she left she offered to buy Thor - all the man had to do was name his price (AAS would supply the price of Thor's freedom whatever it was). Again, a violent, threatening No!

She didn't give up. Growing puppy Thor had been starved some days, and so when our colleague came to sneak him food, and bones, and toys, he slowly started food-guarding. But she could see that the essential Thor, the warm-hearted, friendly Thor without a mean bone in his body, the Thor who loved children and leaped gleefully when he saw kids, was still in there.

Finally our colleague saw that Thor was deteriorating as the soul-crushing weight of his never-ending misery and loneliness took its toll, and that if she didn't do something soon that he might bite someone and be killed. But before she could rescue him the SPCA got him and killed him.

He didn't bite anyone but he was killed anyway. By the BC SPCA in Prince George, probably because its dog-disposal contract with the City of Prince George requires the SPCA to kill "iffy" dogs.

Animal Control in Prince George — the dog-catcher — only picks up stray dogs and investigates by-law infractions. Dog-catchers are widely hated and reviled, but the real evil is at pounds, where dogs are imprisoned in 19th century concrete cells until they are claimed by their owner, or sold, or killed. In Prince George and some other BC communities, the BC SPCA is the paid pound. That means that some of its cells have to be reserved for dogs impounded under its contract; cells that could and should be used to keep dogs needing the SPCA's facilities to be rehabilitated and rehomed. Cells that the SPCA plans to soon fill with very sellable, small breed, imported dogs.

The BC SPCA still contracts with many BC municipalities to dispose of dogs. For money. Some are paid to dispose of cats too. That is what the SPCA in Prince George is paid to do by the City of Prince George. In Prince George, and some other BC municipalities, the SPCA is the paid pound. It is where Animal Control takes found dogs or dogs seized, not to save them from cruelty (only the SPCA can do that),but because the owner repeatedly breaks an animal control bylaw. After the dog goes to the SPCA pound, it is up to the SPCA to decide what to do with it. If it's a stray, it can be returned to its owner if claimed and the SPCA's impound fee paid. If not claimed, the SPCA sell it or kill it. For decades AAS has pointed out the blatant ethical conflict the SPCA is in with its publicly-stated animal welfare mandate when it takes money to dispose of society's unwanted pets. Historically and even presently, the SPCA has not talked openly (the SPCA keeps trumpeting that it is "transparent") about its lucrative pet-disposal contracts. Perhaps its donors would not like it if they actually realized this.

Since there is still no end to pet-ownership there is no end to pet disposal. So — who should dispose of society's unwanted pets: its ruined dogs, its thousands of cats? The answer is tax-payer funded public pounds — pounds that do not rely on donations and so don't have to hide what they do from donors. Only then would the public understand the terrible numbers of unwanted pets killed a year. The SPCA won't produce its destruction statistics. That helps to cover up the numbers. That helps to keep the public in the dark.

Here is how we found out that the SPCA killed Thor. Our colleague couldn't find out what happened to Thor by phoning the SPCA so she to the SPCA and found out, but only, for Thor's sake, by not giving up:

"Went to the SPCA. They did not want to give me any info. One lady said, "Oh I think he went to Vancouver to get rehabilitated." I persisted and told them I needed to know what happened to Thor. They said the girl who ran the computer was gone. I said " I need to find out what happened to Thor." They said " We cannot tell you unless you are the owner." I persisted. Then they went and got me another lady to talk to. She said she fostered Thor for three weeks. She said he had aggression from being beaten and severe food aggression. They were going to bring him in to get neutered but they discovered he had a bad heart condition and that would kill him being put under. She said his chain was embedded into his neck but they cured that with cream and love. One day he cornered her in her living room between his bone and food bowl and there was nothing else they could do with him as he was unadoptable due to his aggression so they euthanized him."

How likely is it that a young mixed-breed dog had a bad heart? Thor was a rambunctious pup, not a sick pup. Killing the healthy is only called euthanization if you are using that word to obscure that you killed a young, healthy animal.

AAS has treated many dogs with food guarding. It is not ever a cause for a death sentence if you are honestly doing animal welfare.

Thor overcame his food-guarding very quickly — within days he was allowing his foster person to put her hand into his bowl while he was eating. But poor Thor went from a life on a chain to death, killed by the BC SPCA on the questionable grounds of having a severe heart condition that prevented the SPCA from neutering him before adoption. The SPCA could have adopted out Thor with the caveat that he was not neutered because of the heart condition. The SPCA did not have to kill Thor. If I thought that the SPCA would provide the proof of that heart condition, I would ask for it, but the BC SPCA is secretive about the number of animals it kills and why. It has never revealed its destruction statistics.

The BC SPCA kills animals on the grounds of "lack of resources". In 2013 the BC SPCA's revenue was $31,452,389. Management, professional, and consulting fees totaled $18,823,820 - 60% of revenue. The Canada Revenue Agency shows that someone's annual salary, possibly the salary of BC SPCA CEO Craig Daniell, is between $160,000 and $199,000. I have never said that anyone at the SPCA may be overpaid, in fact I have often written that it's a tough job and the wages and salaries are deserved — as long as that person is doing true animal welfare, as long as that person is honest and transparent.

I am frequently asked why I "dredge up old SPCA history" when the SPCA "doesn't do that anymore". (Many people have got the mistaken impression from SPCA statements that it is no-kill. It isn't, but should be.) I dredge history up because the SPCA still "does that". It's important that I give historical context to my criticisms of the BC SPCA. It's important that I connect dots so that readers see why I continue to document SPCA actions and policies that are not animal welfare by widely-accepted standards of animal welfare.

Thor died at an SPCA most likely because that is what it is paid by the City of Prince George taxpayers to do.

See other dogs killed by the BC SPCA: BEAR and DOZZER and ROCKO

Judy Walkem Stone

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