Meet the Defendants

Lori Cumiskey

 I graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1990. I worked as a Special Education Assistant with children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome with the Vancouver School Board from 1990-1994. In January 1995 I attended SFU and completed the professional development program in teaching December 1996. I have worked with the Delta School Board, teaching, from 1996 to present. From 1998-2002, I attended classes part time at UBC and completed a diploma in Special Education. I have taught grades 1, 2, 3, and 4. I was married in 2002 and we had a son in October 2002 and just had a girl January 2005. I am currently on maternity leave from the Delta School Board. I became involved with Animal Advocates after volunteering with the Vancouver pound and the Burnaby SPCA for a short time. My main concern was watching the huge influx of dogs coming into shelters needing committed, loving homes. These homes are hard to find and for every dog I found a home for, I knew many, many more would be coming in. I am being sued for saying the SPCA isn't doing enough to close down puppy mills and backyard breeders.

Barry Faires

Barry with one of the turtles he rescued from a live-food market in Chinatown

I was born in Burnaby and educated at UBC: B.A. in English and Psychology, University of Saskatchewan, Master of Divinity: Naropa University, Boulder Colorado (North America's only Buddhist University), M.A. in Psychology.

I have been Assistant Clergy at Christ Lutheran Church in Regina: Dean of Residence and teacher of Religious Studies, Christian Ethics, History and Latin, at Lutheran College, Regina: Own practice in Psychotherapy in Vancouver: and currently foster First Nations boys for the Ministry of the Attorney General.

I also rescue dogs and cats and have been a Director of AAS since 2003. (Barry has not posted on word about the SPCA on the AAS web site. Read Barry's rescue of Gotza.)

Helen Hughes

I was born in the interior of BC and was raised in North Vancouver where I began my teaching vocation. Believing that there was a better way to educate some children, I started Windsor House Parent Participation School in my home in 1971. Judy Stone and her daughter Sarah joined the school in 1972 and we have remained friends. Windsor House is a parent-participation, democratic, academically non-coercive school with about one hundred and seventy students and twelve staff people. The school is publicly funded by the School District #44, North Vancouver. My interest in animal welfare springs from the same concern I have for all abuse of those who are weaker, by the more powerful. I was pleased to be a Director of AAS for that reason. I have only posted on the false value of showing captive animals to children for 'educational purposes'. (The SPCA dropped Helen from the lawsuit after, in Discovery, it appeared that the SPCA's lawyer realized that Helen could not be manipulated into making any damning statements in court, and in fact could make the SPCA's lawyers look very foolish. After Helen's Discovery was over, our lawyer laughed and said They certainly aren't going to allow Helen on the stand. He was right.)

Ben Middleton

I was schooled at home by my parents in our North Vancouver home until I was 14 and attended Windsor House Alternative school. At Windsor House I participated heavily in school activities and was elected as "Chairperson" of the high-school during my last year there. From there I went on to work for Internet Direct as a technical support representative as well as call center supervisor. I left Internet Direct to pursue a career in acting and filmmaking which at first brought me to Gastown Actors' Studio and Langara theatre program - and eventually I moved to Toronto to attend Ryerson Universities film program.

I got to know Judy Stone over the years and did a some volunteer computer work. I have always been inspired by the great work all of the people involved with Animal Advocates Society do. I was honored to accept a position on the board of directors for during 2002 and 2003. While I have always been extremely proud of my association with Animal Advocates Society - it has been frustrating being so far away and unable to be more hands on with the Society. I look forward to one day moving back to Vancouver and taking a more active role. (Ben has never posted on the AAS web site.)

Judy Stone


I was born in Vancouver and live on the North Shore. I have one daughter and three grandchildren who also live on the North Shore. I began animal rescue work the way so many women do, by feral cat trapping, neutering and releasing and by cat welfare and rehoming, out of simple love of cats and all animals. I started while I still owned Burrard Roofing Company and it was while I was on the North Vancouver SPCA's roof, looking at problems and talking to the Manager about cat rescue that I realized that there was something seriously wrong with the SPCA. The Manager said that the solution to cat-overpopulation was mass "euthanizing" of excess cats. He said that had worked for dogs. That was in 1990 and I never, ever forgot his brutal, callous, anti-animal words. He had worked for the SPCA for about 20 years at that time, and was the head of the SPCA's CUPE local. He is still employed by the SPCA even though he was exposed for the cruelty that he was infamous for in the Vancouver Sun in 2004. I sold my company and started Animal Advocates and as I rescued cats and dogs I investigated the BC SPCA. I proved that the SPCA was a massive pet disposal business empire and not an animal welfare organization at all. I knew that only a lucky few animals could be saved by me and the thousands of others who were doing the work that the donating public gave the SPCA to do: that the only thing that could help all suffering animals in BC was to make the SPCA reform. The SPCA itself since then has supplied proof after proof of its self-interest and its abuse of animals. Withstanding powerful lawyers and the SPCA's millions is only another facet of the fight to make the BC SPCA into an honest, trustworthy, animal-centered society.

Emma Vandewetering

I grew up in Coquitlam and worked as a part-time veterinary assistant for several years before going to UBC to begin a Bachelor of Arts program. From there I spent seven years working for a major financial institution before starting my own consulting and bookkeeping business, which I still do today. I've been married for 14 years and have an eight year old son and an eight year old Great Dane/Lab who was rescued after five years on a chain.

I have been passionate about animals my entire life, and I cannot bear to see them suffer in any way. I became involved with Animal Advocates about five years ago, after seeing a powerful newspaper ad and the story of "Judith" on their web site. Having had numerous negative personal experiences with the SPCA as a vet tech and in my personal life, I was excited that someone (AAS) was trying to initiate positive changes at the SPCA and I was eager to get involved and help.

Perhaps I was naive, but I never imagined that these changes would be met with such scandal and resentment on the part of the SPCA and its employees. It never dawned on me that a supposedly humane organization would NOT be in favour of making improvements to directly benefit the animals in their care. It may be kicking and screaming, but the SPCA will be dragged somehow, someway into the 21st Century with regards to animal welfare. I don't believe the public or its donors would have it any other way.

Jen Dickson

I was born in North Vancouver and live there still. I finished my Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature at the University of British Columbia in 1992, and promptly became a full time Animal Health Technician after realizing by the time I finished my degree that I was rather bored with all that business of picking apart literature instead of just enjoying it, and that working for a veterinarian seemed to be a much more appealing career. It was while I was working for a veterinarian 12 years ago that I became aware of how many animals needed to be saved from the SPCA. One of the lab courier drivers secretly was given animals by some SPCA hospital staff against management's orders, to be hidden at vet hospitals in Vancouver to be rehomed. These kind SPCA Hospital staff would tell her that they couldn't bear the thought of having to send the animals across the parking lot to the SPCA "shelter", possibly to be killed. I used to donate money to the SPCA all the time. But soon after I started rehoming SPCA Hospital animals, I quickly realized that the SPCA was not truly animal-serving. It seemed the SPCA was a self-serving business that would rather kill an animal than let someone else rehome it. I moved to the Okanagan after five years of working as a veterinary technician in North Vancouver. I worked for a veterinarian in Vernon for a year, and continued to rescue animals. I saw a lot of matted and filthy large and small dogs in the Vernon SPCA, and I offered my volunteer services as groomer to the Vernon SPCA twice, but never got a reply. I continued to rescue animals, and as word got out in a town as small as Vernon about my rescue work, I soon began receiving complaints about chained dogs and puppy mills that the Vernon SPCA would not respond to. In 1999 I began investigating puppy mills in the North Okanagan for AAS. I visited many, and took any dogs that they would let me, paid all their vet bills, rehabilitated them both physically and mentally, and found new homes for them. I reported all mills to the SPCA. In all cases the SPCA was already aware of their existence, yet it continued to do nothing. Because of the ever increasing numbers of animals I was caring for, I had to start up my own home based grooming business so that I could be at home to supervise and care for them all. My income was shrinking, and my vet bills growing, but I carried on. In an effort to be able to educate the public better, I formed Okanagan Animal Welfare Foundation, educating at many displays at local malls, with photos and information about pet overpopulation, chained dogs, puppy mills, feral cats, etc. I was told countless times by members of the public at these mall displays about animals they had asked the SPCA to help and how the SPCA had done nothing. When the BC SPCA hired Craig Daniell as its new General Manager of Cruelty Investigations, and when he announced that he wanted to crack down on puppy mills, I became cautiously optimistic that the SPCA might at last be changing. With great trepidation, I gave him the particulars of six of the worst puppy mills I had investigated. I asked him to please not kill any dog that his Society received into care as a result of my investigations. I told him that I had rehabilitated these dogs before, and that I was happy to do it again. I told him that I would rehabilitate and pay for any puppy mill dog the SPCA might otherwise kill. In 2003 the Kamloops SPCA started to kill some of the puppy mill dogs it had received as a result of my investigations. Many rescue groups and individuals, including myself, had offered to take these dogs, but they were killed instead, our offers ignored. I realized that the SPCA was not changing at all, that it was just doing another exercise in PR. The fact that it kept the photo of one of the puppy mill dogs it had killed up on its website for two months, asking for money to help the dogs it saves, made it all crystal clear. What kind of organization kills a dog, then uses its picture to ask for money to help save it? An organization in desperate need of reform, that's what.

So I continue to speak out against the SPCA and public point out what it does wrong. I have tried to work with the SPCA. I have tried to help the SPCA. I have tried to ask the SPCA for answers to my questions, and when none is forthcoming. I have to draw my own conclusions.

I found that using the AAS website as a forum for public discussion about the SPCA has been the only way I have ever been able to get the SPCA to change at all. Now the SPCA is suing me for using this forum. Well, okay, but at least something is working, so I will carry on using the AAS website as a forum to drive the SPCA to reform and truly help animals.

Gail Moerkerken RRP

As a graduate of the Douglas College Social Work program I began my career as a Vocational Counsellor over 20 years ago. During the span of my career I obtained the qualifications of Registered Rehabilitation Professional (RRP), Certified Life Skills Coach, Community Management and Leadership Development, Conflict Resolution and Mediation. I worked in the not for profit field throughout the lower mainland and coupled this with a successful private practice as a Vocation Rehabilitation Consultant holding contracts with the Worker's Compensation Board, Disability Management, ICBC and Douglas College.

During the development of professional aspirations I was also pursuing goals of volunteering in the field of animal welfare and currently hold the positions of:

President, Big Heart Rescue Society, a registered non-profit organization that is dedicated to assisting companions throughout the province with a special focus in Bella Bella, a small First Nations Reserve where deadly diseases such as Parvo and Distemper are present and pet overpopulation is a massive concern.

Coordinator for Noah's Wish, an emergency disaster response organization for animals. During the Fire Storm 2003 I volunteered in both Kamloops and Kelowna working with livestock and companion pets. I have also provided workshops on Disaster Preparedness to the SPCA, Boarding Kennels, Farm Operators, Groomers, Rescue Organizations, Veterinarians and interested individuals.

Emergency Social Services (ESS) Pet Care Coordinator for Gabriola Island which involves community disaster planning and response. Big Heart:

GROWLS (wild life rescue) Gabriola Island volunteer with a major focus on seal pups and fawns.

My dedication to the companion animals of this Province has lead me through years of frustrating encounters with the BC SPCA and this is why I speak for those who have no voice. I speak of the horrors of chaining and neglect, of abuse and death, of full-fledged bureaucracy and lack of communication, of transparency and accountability, of the deaths of six dogs at the Surrey SPCA, of useless laws and the powers of the PCA Act and for this I am the subject of a costly legal action launched by the Board of Directors and the CEO of the BC SPCA.

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