VANCOUVER -- Metro Vancouver's anonymous crime tips hotline is now taking tips about animal abuse in the region, as well.

The BC SPCA is encouraging people to report animal cruelty to Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers.

The agency says people are often nervous to report animal cruelty when they learn about it, because it often involves people they know. The SPCA hopes that the anonymity of Crime Stoppers will encourage people to speak up without fear of repercussions.

Speaking at a news conference announcing the partnership with Crime Stoppers on Wednesday, BC SPCA senior manager for cruelty investigations Shawn Eccles said tips are critical to the work the organization does.

"We want to encourage people: Where they see something, say something," Eccles said. "It's extremely important. It's how we do our job. If people did not report animal cruelty, we would not be able to investigate it."

Information about animal cruelty provided to Crime Stoppers will be passed directly to the BC SPCA for investigation, without the tipster being identified.

Crime Stoppers guarantees that tipsters won't be contacted and won't be called to testify in court.

The BC SPCA received more than 8,000 calls regarding animal cruelty last year.

To report animal cruelty or other criminal activity, tipsters can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or visit