The BC SPCA is investigating videos circulating in Chilliwack that appears to show teens blowing smoke from marijuana in the face of a small kitten.
Officials were alerted to the video Wednesday morning by a call made to the society's call centre.
Chief enforcement officer Marcie Moriarty told CTV News that it's early on in the investigation, but that a constable will be assigned the case.
Few details have been confirmed, including whether the clips posted on Snapchat were captured in B.C.
In one of the clips, a lit lighter is held up to the kitten, which reaches out to the flames with its paws. The text "stoney" appears underneath.
The flame is then used to light a bong. After inhaling, the person holding the bong can be seen breathing out the smoke in the kitten's direction while another person holds the cat toward the smoke. The kitten turns its head away and puts a paw over its face.
The person holding the cellphone camera then turns the phone to show several other people standing around, some of whom are also holding bongs.
A second video, posted by another Snapchat user, shows what appears to be the same kitten lying with its eyes closed in a teen or young woman's shirt. Its front paws and face are sticking out of the neckline.
The person lights a bong, inhales, then blows the smoke out in a cloud near the cat's face. A discarded cigarette can be seen on the ground in front of her, suggesting the bong might be filled with a combination of the cigarette's contents and pot.
Moriarty says it's likely the people in the videos thought it was funny to get the cat high.
"It's not a joke… That comes with some tragic implications for the family pet," she said.
"Ingestion or being exposed to marijuana, the active components in it, is very dangerous for pets. It can affect their heart rate, their nervous systems, and it's not fun for the pet."
She said the SPCA has been provided with information on individuals who may be involved, and that an investigator will conduct interviews.
Unfortunately, she said, these videos appear online from time to time.
"What we want to get across is to educate people that this isn't funny, it's not good for your pet, don't do it, and if you continue and insist upon doing it, you could potentially face charges," Moriarty said.
Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals act it is illegal to cause an animal to be in distress.
Pot activist Dana Larsen agreed that the actions in the video aren't a fair way to treat pets.
"A person isn't going to like smoke being blown in their face like that and an animal isn't going to like it either," the director of the Vancouver dispensary society said Wednesday.
But Larsen said many pets can benefit from cannabis. Local dispensaries stock products geared toward pets including treats, food and oil.
"Primarily it's older animals, animals that have been injured, and it helps relieve pain," he said of the products' intended targets.
"It helps their joints move better and it can help them make a fuller recovery."
Others disagree about the use of cannabis products for pets. Veterinarian Adrian Walton said last year there is no legal backing or scientific research to encourage vets to prescribe it.
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association submitted a request in January asking that the rules governing medical access to cannabis products be amended to allow veterinarians to prescribe what is necessary to their four-legged patients.
Vets are worried pet owners will purchase cannabis products for animal use without the appropriate guidance and controls. The association also asked that a warning label be added to products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the ingredient in cannabis that provides the high, because it can be dangerous for animals.