BC SPCA saw double-digit rise in animal surrenders, cruelty investigations in 2023


The BC SPCA says it saw a double-digit rise in surrendered animals in 2023, and in the number of animal cruelty and neglect investigations it conducted, compared to the year before.

In 2023, the BC SPCA helped care for 135,761 animals, an increase of 14 per cent compared to 2022.

Meanwhile, the BC SPCA also saw a nearly 20 per cent increase in the number of animal cruelty and neglect investigations it completed in 2023 compared to the year before.

The organization says one reason for the uptick in investigations is due to “irresponsible breeders” trying to cash in on the increased demand for pets during the pandemic.

“As demand and the ability to make money has decreased, they’ve surrendered their dogs and puppies or, in some cases, even had their animals seized by animal protection officers when they would not provide them with the care they needed,” said Eileen Drever, senior officer protection and stakeholder relations for the BC SPCA in a release Thursday.

In 2023, the BC SPCA executed 125 search warrants through the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, which led to 44 recommended charges to Crown counsel.

Cost of living leads to more demand

The BC SPCA says higher cost of living in the province has caused more pet owners to reach out for help.

In 2023, the SPCA provided 717,621 meals to pets in need, a dramatic rise compared to the 633,502 meals handed out in 2022.

“That need is expected to continue to rise in 2024,” said SPCA outreach specialist Diane Waters.

REALTED: ‘Struggling to feed their animals’: Rising cost of living has more people surrendering their pets

With demand for services on the rise, the BC SPCA says it’s grateful for the efforts of volunteers.

Last year, some 3,369 volunteers from across the provinces contributed 217,467 hours of work.

“The BC SPCA does not receive government funding for any of the services we provide to B.C.’s most vulnerable animals,” said Adrienne McBride, BC SPCA senior director of community animal centres.

“We can’t thank our generous and kind supporters enough. They make this important and life-changing work for animals possible.”

SEE ALSO: Island-based SPCA seeks funds to help surrendered bulldog puppy in need of surgery

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