Days after a Metro Vancouver animal rescue was raided for the third time by the BC SPCA, advocates are calling for overdue regulations in the industry.
Kathy Powelson of the Paws for Hope Animal Foundation said it was disheartening to learn this week that 1atatime Rescue Society was once again the subject of an SPCA warrant.
Officers were last dispatched to the Langley property in September.
"The fact that within six months the situation had repeated itself, it's quite upsetting," Powelson said.
There is a growing issue with amateur rescues in the province, according to Powelson and other animal advocates. While there used be around 65 rescues operating across B.C., that number has ballooned in recent years to more than 170.
That's a potential issue given the lack of any regulations governing rescues.
"There's no criteria that an organization needs to meet," Powelson said. "We know that there are some really amazing groups doing really amazing work, but we also know there are groups that aren't doing good work."
According to Maria Soroski, co-founder of the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association, when there were only a few dozen rescues in the province, most were fairly reputable.
Unfortunately, there are now a number of groups whose practices can potentially put both pets and people at risk.
Problematic rescues will import dogs from the U.S. and adopt them out before giving them a proper veterinary checkup to make sure they aren't carrying diseases or parasites, Soroski said.
"It's really important that these rescue follow ethical behaviour," she said. "What I mean by that is the dogs are spayed and neutered, they're free from disease such as heartworm – which we didn't have in B.C. but it is coming up here now."
Reputable rescues will also test animals' behaviour before adopting them out to an unsuspecting family. Paws for Hope said that's a crucial step, particularly when families have small children at home.
"They [could] get a dog that has either aggression or separation anxiety or some type of behaviour," Powelson said.
Powelson said she and others involved in animal welfare are keen to see the B.C. government introduce regulations that would keep rescues accountable.
"I don't think anyone should be self-governing," she added.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Shannon Paterson