Pets in peril: Why 2 BC animal welfare groups are sounding the alarm

Two animal welfare organizations in BC are sounding the alarm over a lack of resources available to care for people’s pets.

This week, statements released by both the Paws for Hope Animal Foundation and the BC SPCA highlight the urgent need for more pet fosters and parents who struggle with facing pet food banks.

Both organizations point to various crises to explain the growing need—as Paws for Hope looks to support pet owners fleeing violent households while the SPCA focuses on helping those displaced by natural disasters.


Paws for Hope says the demand for its crisis foster care program—No Pet Left Behind—is higher than it’s ever been.

“We can’t keep up,” the charity wrote in a Wednesday statement.

Animal abuse is present at 89 per cent of cases of domestic violence, according to Paws for Hope’s website.

The foundation also supports pet owners who are struggling with addiction and receiving mental health treatments.

The No Pet Left Behind program is a standalone in the province, but a lack of available foster homes means Paws for Hope is having to turn people away.

“Women and children are fleeing violence, families are losing pet-friendly housing and individuals are seeking vital treatment. People’s lives are at stake,” Kathy Powelson, executive director of Paws for Hope, said in the statement.

She describes the foster families that participate in the program as “very special.”

“They care for the pets of people in crisis, knowing that they will not have the opportunity to adopt their foster animal,” said Powelson. “By being there for a pet and a person in need, they are saving lives and keeping families together.”

Paws for Hope covers veterinary services and provides all necessities to foster families or individuals.

Anyone interested in joining the program as a pet foster is asked to visit the Paws for Hope website, or contact the program coordinator by emailing [email protected] or calling 604-506-9297.


Natural disasters are also threatening the well-being of pets and guardians across the province, the BC SPCA warned Thursday.

Diane Waters, outreach specialist for the BC SPCA, says evacuation orders and alerts issued over wildfires or floods can keep people and their furry companions away from their homes for weeks at a time.

“They often rely on the BC SPCA’s pet food banks for food and supplies until they are allowed to return,” Waters said in a statement.

She says 155 organizations are currently receiving support from the BC SPCA—up from 139 last year, when the society provided a total of 532,000 meals through pet food banks.

One community that hasn’t been impacted by recent wildfire-or-flood-triggered evacuations, Victoria, has seen demand for the pet food bank program surge by 25 per cent since 2022, according to the BC SPCA.

“The current food security landscape in our community and the rising costs of living have had an impact,” said Waters.

The BC SPCA’s biggest need right now, according to Waters, is litter and dry and wet food for cats.

Volunteers are also needed to assist with the collection and distribution of pet food and supplies.

Two generous British Columbians have agreed to match all donations up to $10,000 in response to the increased demand facing the BC SPCA.

For more information, people are being asked to contact Waters at 778-242-2710 or email [email protected].

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