SPCA Launches New Hotline


The new hotline will free SPCA staff like Donnelly, and provide callers with a more direct link to the investigators. Photo: Gagandeep Ghuman

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: April 20, 2013

The BC SPCA has launched a new animal abuse hotline to respond to complaints of animal cruelty and neglect across the province.

Calls to the new toll-free hotline (1-855-622-7722) are received by staff at a Victoria-based call centre, and details are dispatched to regionally based SPCA constables for investigation.

Previously, calls of suspected animal abuse were handled by SPCA branches and passed on to cruelty investigations staff.

“The new call centre will free up staff in our branches to spend more time providing hands-on care for the animals already in our facilities,” says Marcie Moriarty, chief enforcement and prevention officer for the BC SPCA.

Moriarty says the BC SPCA hopes the new toll-free line will make it easier for those who witness abuse to report it.

SPCA investigates more than 6,000 complaints of animal abuse a year, and depends on community members to alert them of situations where animals are in danger.

While the new hotline will initially deal with calls pertaining to animal cruelty only, the BC SPCA plans to eventually broaden the scope of the new call centre to include wildlife calls and general enquiries.

The BC SPCA cares for nearly 29,000 abused, neglected, injured and homeless animals each year at 37 SPCA locations across the province.
Squamish is also one of the fifteen municipalities where non-profits working for animal welfare will receive a new cat spay/neuter grant.

The program was funded in part by an SPCA donor who was concerned about the cat overpopulation in B.C.

It provides up to 1,000 operations and will prevent 5,000 kitten births this year in B.C. communities. Across the province, $60,000 has been distributed through this fund for trap-neuter-return programs for feral cats.

It will also provide low-income cat guardians with access to reduced-cost sterilization procedures. Seven municipalities have committed to match funding, with nine grants helping First Nations communities.

The Squamish Neighbourhood Animal Partnership and Protection Society (SNAPP) was one of the non-profits that received the funding.
Port Alberni, Campbell River, Haida Gwaii, Quadra Island and Ucluelet are some of the other communities who received the grant.

“Pet overpopulation is an issue in every community,” says Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA.

Chortyk said the SPCA spends nearly $2 million each year on spay/neuter initiatives across the province.

“We are very excited to launch this new initiative in partnership with municipalities and rescue organizations.”

Local SPCA branch manager, Marika Donnelley, said the new hotline would be a big help for the local branch.

Before the hotline, most people with animal abuse report had to call in the branch.

The new hotline will free SPCA staff like Donnelly, and provide callers with a more direct link to the investigators.

“Here, you might have to leave a message when we are closed, but the hotline is staffed for longer hours,”

The hotline is staffed from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Donnelly said people can still make a complaint at the local branch, but she would encourage people to make a call to the hotline.

“It’s a more direct venue for people who have an animal abuse case to report,” she said.

The Squamish branch gets approximately 40 animal abuse complaint reports each year.