Volunteer Position: SpayAid BC Coordinator

Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


About Paws for Hope Animal Foundation (Paws for Hope):  Paws for Hope is a Charity based in British Columbia (BC) with a mission to shift the culture of companion animal welfare in BC by creating new models of practice and remediating the underlying causes of harm through cross sector collaboration, education and advocacy.  

Paws for Hope values the human-animal bond and believes that, whenever possible, loved pets should be supported in the community in order to keep them with their families. In addition to preserving the significant bond between people and their pets, it helps to free the rescue and shelter system for those pets who are truly homeless and/or survivors of intentional acts of cruelty and neglect.

SpayAid BC partners with veterinary hospitals to eliminate pet over-population in British Columbia by providing a spay/neuter assistance program for low income earners. 


Summary of position

The SpayAid BC Coordinator is a volunteer position reporting to the Executive Director. The Coordinator will be the primary liaison between veterinary partners and individuals seeking assistance.  Duties include

  • Receiving and accessing applications for assistance
  • Liasoning with veterinary partners and individuals seeking assistance 
  • Tracking data 
  • Maintaining relationships with veterinary and community partner

Skills and Abilities

  • Self-motivated, collaborative and a good listener
  • Excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills
  • Values collaboration, maintaining an environment of honesty, openness and energetic exchange in a professional manner
  •  Excellent computer skills and proficient in use of  Google Drive
  • Passionate about animal welfare and the human/animal bond


Approximately 7-10  hours a month. Coordinator must have own computer, and will be supplied cell phone and printer (if needed)


This is a volunteer position. Coordinator will be reimbursed any out of pocket expenses.

To Apply

Send Cover Letter & Resume to Kathy Powelson.  kathy@pawsforhope.org


Volunteer Board Member Positions Available

Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


Paws for Hope Animal Foundation envisions communities that embrace all pets as family, ensuring they are loved, free from harm, and where no pet is left behind. To that end, our mission is to shift the culture of companion animal welfare in British Columbia by creating new models of practice and remediating the underlying causes of harm through cross sector collaboration, education and advocacy..

We are committed to the establishment of a more sustainable approach to animal welfare issues within the province and work closely with partners and others in the field to build such sustainability and accountability. Direct assistance is provided to homeless and low income pet guardians through donated food and supplies, free animal healthcare clinics, funding for emergency veterinary care and low cost spay and neuters. We provide temporary foster care for pets whose people are in crisis, with an emphasis on supporting those fleeing violence. We also provide grant assistance to animal welfare charities, lead the Animal Welfare Advisory Network of BC (AWANBC), support remote communities with their cat over population crisis and conduct advocacy initiatives on issues that impact animal welfare in our province.

The Board supports the work of Paws for Hope and provides community leadership, fund development support and strategic governance. Board members play a critical role in helping to move Paws for Hope to our next level of development.

We are looking for individuals with specific experience in:

Charity Law
Fund Development
Animal welfare
Event planing

Specific Board Member responsibilities include but are not limited to:

Leadership, governance and oversight
– Serving as a trusted and devoted advisor to the Executive Director with the development and implementation of the Foundation’s strategic plan.
– Attend bi-monthly Board meetings and review agenda and supporting materials prior to meetings.
– Approving Paws for Hope’s annual budget, audit reports and making decisions on the Foundation’s governance and direction.
– Assisting the ED and Board Chair in recruiting other Board Members and/or committed volunteers.
– Serving on at least one committee and/or specific task forces.
– Representing Paws for Hope to stakeholders and the community at large; acting as an ambassador for the organization.

Board Members are expected to make Paws for Hope a philanthropic priority and to make annual contributions to the Foundation. In addition to their volunteer services. Fund development and achieving financial sustainability is a high priority for the Foundation, and Board Members are expected to help contribute to achieving financial growth of the organization.

Board terms
Paws for Hope’s Board Members will serve a two-year term to be eligible for re-appointment with Board and membership approval. Board meetings are held in person on average every other month with additional teleconference meetings as required. Committee meetings take place through email correspondence or as required via teleconference if in person meetings are not possible. Our Annual General Meeting is held in September and Board Members are expected to be in attendance.

Application Process:

Ideal candidates will have the following qualifications:
– Professionalism and experience in fund development and financial growth in the non-profit sector.
– A commitment to the understanding of animal welfare and the community members Paws for Hope serves through its programs and services.
– An agreeable personality with the goal of building consensus and facilitating respectful discussion among diverse individuals.
– A passion for improving the lives of animals and a belief in and understanding of the human-animal bond and how it pertains to those we serve.

Resume and Cover Letter
Please submit a detailed summary of your experiences and qualifications, along with a letter highlighting your interest in Paws for Hope and how your skillsets will best serve the Foundation and those we strive to serve within our community.
Please submit all documentation to Paws for Hope’s Board President, Wendy Riley by email to wendy@pawsforhope.org.

Volunteer Position: Community Coordinators

Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


About Paws for Hope Animal Foundation (Paws for Hope): Paws for Hope is a registered charity based in British Columbia (BC) with a mission to shift the culture of companion animal welfare in BC by creating new models of practice and remediating the underlying causes of harm through cross sector collaboration, education and advocacy.

Paws for Hope values the human-animal bond and believes that, whenever possible, loved pets should be supported in the community in order to keep them with their families. In addition to preserving the significant bond between people and their pets, it helps to free the rescue and shelter system for those pets who are truly homeless and/or survivors of intentional acts of cruelty and neglect.

No Pet Left Behind (NPLB) is a Paws for Hope program that provides temporary foster care for pets whose people are fleeing violence. We work in partnership with veterinary hospitals, animal shelters and rescue organizations and volunteer foster homes to ensure pets and their people can find safety.

We are looking for community coordinators across the province to assist in service delivery outside of the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.

Summary of position

The Community Coordinator is a volunteer position reporting to the NPLB Program Coordinator. The Community Coordinator will be the primary liaison between community partners and fosters and our NPLB Program Coordinator, and duties and responsibilities include:

Conduct home visits with foster applicants
Assist with pets transports as needed
Provide pet supply delivery to fosters as needed
Building relationships with social and housing services and other first responders in the community to promote Paws for Hope services
Promoting foster and other volunteer opportunities in the community

Skills and Abilities
Self-motivated, collaborative and a good listener
Excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills
Values collaboration, maintaining an environment of honesty, openness and energetic exchange in a professional manner
Excellent computer skills and proficient in use of Microsoft Office and Google Drive
Passionate about animal welfare and the human/animal bond
Proficient in handling cats and dogs (other animals an asset)
Pet First Aid not necessary, but considered an asset

Approximately 20 hours a month. Coordinator must have regular access to a vehicle.


This is a volunteer position. Coordinator will be reimbursed for mileage, and any out of pocket expenses.

To Apply

Send Cover Letter & Resume to Cassie Preston cassie@pawsforhope.org.

Behind every animal is a person

Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


My career did not start in animal welfare. I began as a graduate student in Criminology and then worked in the social services. During my time in the social services sector, I helped to support youth in the foster care system, young people who were sexually exploited, and adults living with HIV/AIDs. I also supported literacy programs that were accessed by children living in low-income families and newcomers to Canada. My husband has also spent the vast majority of his career supporting vulnerable populations. Social justice is in our blood.

Admittedly though, when I founded the Paws for Hope Animal Foundation, it wasn’t with the intention to support people. I was driven by my love for animals and the recognition that the animal welfare system was broken.

However, it did not take long for me to make the connection between animal welfare and social justice. It did not take long to realize that behind every animal needing help, is a person who, more often than not, needs help too—a person who has been marginalized because of their race, gender, disability, sexuality, mental health, or history of abuse and neglect. These are people who face barriers simply because of circumstance or who they are. The way our society is structured means they will never know the various privileges that many of us have spent our lives taking for granted.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have witnessed our neighbours to the south rise up against racism, oppression, and state violence. The catalyst was the brutal murder of George Floyd but the fuel of this fire goes back centuries.

Most of us stand in solidarity with our American brothers and sisters in the fight against racism. But doing so requires us to pay attention to racism and oppression in our own country and communities—to understand and address the systems that continue to marginalize and harm racialized Canadians and First Nations peoples.

We must commit to learning more about our own history of colonialism, slavery, and oppression. Because we too are benefiting from our country’s racist past. We must commit to learning more about the Residential School system and the 60s Scoop and the ongoing genocide of First Nations people.

Standing in solidarity demands we understand the history of the land we are standing upon. In 1914, Canada turned away the Komagata Maru, a steamship on which a group of people from India attempted to immigrate to Canada. A riot ensued when the ship returned to Calcutta and dozens of people died. In 1942 over 22,000 Japanese Canadians were sent to internment camps for the duration of WWII. The last residential school in Canada didn’t close until 1996.

These are but a few examples of the racism that has shaped our country and influenced the beliefs and laws and systems that continue to benefit some groups over others. Animal welfare professionals have an obligation to fight against these systems. They are inherently harmful to certain groups of people and, as such, are inherently harmful to animals as well.
Whichever way you frame this work and however position yourself (social justice ally, animal welfare advocate, harm reduction supporter), there is an inherent call to action. Those words are verbs—ally, advocate, and support. They require and demand action.

We cannot continue to focus only on the animal. Doing so is not only unjust; it is also ineffective. We cannot make a sustainable difference in the lives of animals if we are not also working towards a better life for their people. We must do a better job of seeing the people behind the animals we care so much about. We must check our own biases and prejudices and challenge ourselves to do better when people are reaching out for help.

If you want to help figure out how Paws for Hope can do that, please get in touch. If you want to support people with pets that are in need right now, donate here. If nothing else, reflect on your position in society, your values, and how you can be a part of the change that is needed.

We must stop seeing ourselves as animal saviours but as social justice warriors.

Kathy Powelson
Executive Director

My Lacy

Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


Each time we share a story about a rescue gone wrong, we are approached by others who have had similar experiences, with either the same “rescue” we wrote about or a different one. Most are afraid to come forward because of intimidation and threats. Typically these experiences are coming from a small handful of “rescues. The damage, heartache, fear and emotional and financial distress is significant in all cases. But with no regulations or systems of accountability, we haven’t been able to do much more than share these stories in hopes that people will hear the message and know what to look for when bringing a pet into their family.

We are working hard on your behalf, to develop rescue standards of practice an accreditation program so you can rest assured that the organization you want to adopt a pet from is ethical. In the meantime, please read and share the story of Lacy and her Mom.

My dog is a BEAUTIFUL dog. I love her to the moon and back. It was such an amazing moment when SHE chose me to be her fur-ever mommy. I sat on the floor and let all the dogs come to me and let me pet them, Lacy came up to me and rolled over and wouldn’t stop kissing me. I knew once she showed me her tummy and loved on me that she chose me, she trusted me to love her and protect her for the rest of her life. And that I will do.

Less than 2 weeks of having her I needed to rush her into an emergency vet for severe coughing and throwing up a ‘foamy’ substance. I was terrified that I did something to hurt my dog! They had to separate Lacy from the rest of the waiting room as she was an adopted dog from out of Canada and recently was around several dogs and with the adoption they didn’t know if she had kennel cough or not; Fair enough. They ran so many tests, x-rays, blood work you name it, they did it…..And we waited there for HOURS! To find out that she has megaesophagus and the coughing and the foamy substance was her having Aspiration Pneumonia due to the megaesophagus.
Megaesophagus is a generalized enlargement of the esophagus — a muscular tube connecting the throat to the stomach — with a decreased to absent motility. Esophageal motility is required for moving food and liquid down to the stomach.

Lacy has a special eating regime that we MUST stick to or she will aspirate and that will cause pneumonia and she could essentially die due to this condition if we do not care for her properly. She has to have special food made up into “meat balls” so that it goes into her tummy rather than her lungs; she has to have her food while sitting upright, and has to sit upright after her meal for at least 20 minutes to make sure that it stays down and she can get the nutrition from the food. Usually you would use a Baileys Chair, but we can’t afford that AND all of her vet bills, so we had to compromise and make one with a basket and blankets. She has seen a specialist about the megaesophagus and that is where we found out what we can do to help her. Specialists are not cheap either. I would do anything for Lacy to make sure she has a happy and healthy life ahead of her.
Attached to this email are the papers I first got with Lacy- which would be just the boarder papers signed by the vet stating that she was vetted. That is all I got when I picked her up. I had to phone around to get: Spay Certificate, Shots Records, Rabies Tag which I NEVER got when I picked her up. I had to chase all of that down before I could even register her in Edmonton Alberta where I live. I drove to Chilliwack to pick her up.

She is not 2yrs old like the paperwork said and like I was told she was, she is closer to 7 yrs old and has had a few litters of puppies – which I was told she has had no puppies. My current vet has told me all of this as we have to have every 2 months check ups due to her megaesophagus – each visit is x-rays and blood work.
I showed [“rescue” operator] the paperwork stating that the dog was indeed very poorly and she did NOT care what so ever. I asked if she could give me half of the adoption fee back so I could pay for the vet bills and she was rather rude about it and told me off. She never did pay me anything for vet bills due to her selling me a VERY sick dog.

[The “rescue” operator] told me multiple times during my interaction with her and all of the dogs at her house when I went to meet the dogs she had brought back — there was 11 dogs plus a new mom and her litter AND her 2 dogs so 13 dogs plus a litter of puppies, she told me that the new dogs were vetted 3 times. Once was in California at the one shelter that she told me she rescued these dogs from as it was a high kill shelter, vetted at the border and once by her personal vet she takes her own animals to, and I guess the vet that she was spayed at; but I don’t consider that one really as they were spaying/neutering multiple animals rapidly as each dog was promised to people within the next few days. Not one of those vets caught that Lacy had megaesophagus or aspiration pneumonia; which leads me to believe that she was not truly vetted at all and the papers were just signed stating that Lacy was vetted so she could cross the border.


We share this story in Lacy’s Mom’s own words because it doesn’t seem like anyone is listening to the increasing number of people duped by dog traffickers operating under the guise of rescue. It is time this ends. It is time to hold them accountable.

In 2016, we formed the Animal Welfare Advisory Network of BC to enable organizations to work together and to support strategies around specific projects and initiatives associated with companion animal welfare. Through the network, we are drafting rescue standards of practice and thanks to ongoing support from the Vancouver Foundation, the standards will be followed by an accreditation program. To find out more visit www.awanbc.com.

Support responsible and professional animal rescue work in BC and combat dog trafficking through a one time or monthly donation.

My so-called rescue: Jezebel’s story

Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


“Jezebel arrived smelling like she had been sitting in her own waste for days, and was about 15 lbs heavier than they had stated she would be. Her front left leg had a very noticeable limp. We took the next five days to settle her into her new home and routine. She was one of us instantaneously, enjoying all the pats and snuggles she could get. However, she did have trouble walking down the stairs and at times she would whimper on walks”.
-Jezebel’s new Mom.

Have you heard a story like this? More and more, we are being contacted by people who have adopted a dog from a so-called “rescue”, only to find that the dog has undisclosed health and/or behaviour issues. Even worse, when they contact the original rescue for support, they receive even more headache and heartache.

Last week we shared the story of Petey and the life-saving surgery his family was forced to pay for, because this same “rescue” refused to help and told his family to euthanize him.

The story we are sharing today is about Jezebel, a lovely dog who was experiencing chronic pain from the very start. When her new family took her to Canada West Veterinary Specialists, they recommended the leg be amputated. In fact, three veterinarians recommended the leg be amputated. When her new family contacted the “rescue” for support, not only did they not receive any – the rescue became hostile and demanded that Jezebel be returned to Houston!

Luckily for Jezebel, her new family did not back down. They loved her, and they knew that sending her back to Houston, a six-day trip with an uncertain outcome would be cruel.

They fundraised the $5,000 required for the leg amputation and the surgery was a success. Jezebel is living a very happy life with her new family, but it didn’t come without a lot of stress, financial and emotional hardship.

No family should go through this when they are adopting a dog, but in this unregulated environment these stories are becoming more and more familiar. Not only are we heartbroken to keep hearing them, but every time we speak out, we are accused of being “anti-import” or sabotaging the efforts of groups trying to save lives.

Let me be absolutely clear, our issue is not where the animal is coming from. Our issue is the unethical, irresponsible and borderline criminal behaviour these so- called rescue organizations engage in.

Time and time again, people come to us or one of our rescue colleagues for help because they have a pet with significant and undisclosed health or behaviour issues. It becomes clear that the “rescue” likely skipped screening and vetting steps, and when made aware of the issues, they refused to provide support. And more often than not, the individual representing the rescue begins engaging in threatening and bullying behaviour. Because of this, the adopter does not want to go public and there is no opportunity to warn the public and expose these practices.

We are also often contacted by people who are interested in adopting a dog from a “rescue” with questionable practices and reach out to us for support. Up until now, when someone reaches out to me, I try to educate them and direct them to resources on sourcing reputable rescue organizations and avoiding “red flags”. At the end of the day, I realize that the ultimate decision is theirs. However, given the increase in the number of dogs coming through these “rescues” – even now with travel restrictions in place! – and the number of people who have ended up with sick dogs in the last week alone, our recommendation has changed.

Until government regulations and/or AWANBC’s Accreditation Program are operational, it is our recommendation not to adopt from a “rescue” or individual who participates in International dog trafficking, including the US mass rescue transports practices
. This may mean you will have to wait longer to get the perfect family member, but it will also ensure that you when you do find your new pet, you can meet them first, work directly with a local representative, and have a better chance of knowing what you are signing up for. In addition, if things do not work out, you can rest assured that the rescue organization or shelter will take them back.

As an animal welfare organization, one of our priorities is to support rescue. We exist because we value the human-animal bond, and it hurts us to tell people NOT to adopt when they see a face online or hear a sad story. But it hurts us more to see people and animals failed. They deserve better, and we need to keep working together to ensure that animals from all countries get a bare minimum of care and consideration before being placed in a home.

Kathy Powelson
Executive Director

Help for Petey

Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


Over the years we have been advocating for a more professional and transparent rescue system. Recently, we established the Animal Welfare Advisory Network to bring together animal welfare and rescue organizations to build a more professional sector.

We continue to speak out against practices that are doing more harm than good. Petey came from one of these “rescues”. Transported from Texas, and adopted directly to a family without any veterinary screening . Within days of being adopted, he showed signs of distress and a veterinary exam showed he had swallowed a corn on the cob and that it had been in there for some time. When Petey’s family reached out to the “rescue” they adopted him from, they received no help and were told to euthanize Petey.

Emergency surgery was required to save Petey’s life, and his family were left with a bill of over $5,000. His family had fallen in love with him immediately and they wanted to make sure he was given a second chance. Petey’s Dad was recently laid off because of COVID-19 and his human brother has medical needs that are covered by his Mom’s earnings. Receiving no help from the “rescue” who imported him from Texas, they created a Go Fund Me page and maxed out their credit card.

We also believe Petey deserves a second chance, and should not suffer because of bad rescue practice so we provided a $1,000 contribution towards the surgery.

Petey’s surgery went well and he is recovering at home with his very grateful family.

Unfortunately, there is not much we can do to stop bad “rescue” practice, other than to raise awareness and to encourage potential adopters to do their homework to ensure that they are adopting from a responsible and professional organization. In addition to working with a AWANBC member, you can also read this informative post from HugaBull Advocacy & Rescue Society on what to look for in a rescue organization.

We are committed to supporting a professional sector and the animals that come into their care. 100% of donations in April are going directly to emergent care of pets in needs, like Petey.

Pets and COVID-19

Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


During this extraordinary time, information is changing rapidly. THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED ON APRIL 1, 2020
Thank you to Dr. Emilia Gordon, BC SPCA for sharing this important informaiton.

Essential Service

On March 26, the BC government announced veterinarians and shelters, which includes animal rescue organizations are essential services. They must, however, follow the orders and guidance provided by the PHO to ensure safe operations and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. In addition, currently any business or service that has not been ordered to close and is also not identified on the essential service list may stay open if they can adapt their services and workplace to the orders and recommendations of the PHO.

Intake and Handling of Pets from COVID-19 Positive Households

A small new (not yet peer reviewed) study from China looked at experimental infection in various species. The ferrets and cats became infected and were able to transmit virus to each other, with younger cats being more susceptible. Some of the dogs became infected, but did not transmit the virus to each other. Thankfully, the pigs and poultry did not become infected.

As well, a cat (asymptomatic) in Hong Kong living with an infected person was found to be positive. This is the second cat who has tested positive under non-experimental conditions.

The AVMA has published updated recommendations for shelters for the intake of animals coming from COVID-19 positive households.  You can read the recommendations here.  The significant changes from the initial recommendations is that pets do not have to be bathed upon intake as there is no evidence that animals can spread the virus to humans.  However, the recommendations take an abundance of caution in the spread of the virus from pet to pet and are recommending that animals from COVID-19 positive households be segregated from other animals for 14 days. 

Dr. Sandra Newbury from University of Wisconsin-Madison has created the new sample shelter intake protocol
As such the BC SPCA has updated their handling protocols, and they are outlined below.  

Animal handling for animals originating from households with confirmed or suspected human cases
(section updated March 31 2020)
Personnel must wear PPE when entering a contaminated environment (such as an infected person’s
home- CID and bylaw enforcement officers), when handling an exposed animal as for intake processing,
or bathing. Field staff should attempt to not enter homes of known affected people if at all possible. For
these purposes, PPE includes gown, gloves, shoe covers, and cap. For standard intake of these animals,
full PPE is not required, but it is recommended to wear a separate outer garment and wear gloves
between animals for all intakes.
1. Utilize double-sided housing so feeding and cleaning can be completed without handling the
animal if needed.
2. These animals should not be housed in the general population. They should be in separate
rooms (ISO or another room).
3. Restrict access by the public and nonessential personnel, as with any isolation population.
4. Caretakers of these animals should wear standard PPE for shelter isolation (Level 2 or 3
depending on species) with washable PPE preferred over disposable PPE (refer to Reusable PPE
5. Animals do not need to be bathed or decontaminated at intake. New recommendations indicate
that animal haircoats are unlikely to cause fomite transmission.
6. Disinfect exposed surfaces in common use areas where exposed animals have contacted (floors,
gurneys, animal control vehicles, tables, handling equipment, etc).
7. Segregation for 14 days is currently recommended. This recommendation is to protect animal
and human health, out of an abundance of caution. The 14-day period is due to risk of animals
becoming infected (not due to surface contamination) until more is known about animal
8. Animals should not be sent to foster or adoptive homes within the 14-day window, unless they
are being returned to their original home.
9. If at all possible, intake of animals from affected homes should occur directly into foster homes
with no other animals, bypassing a shelter stay entirely (intake vet treatments should still be
done but animals should not be housed in shelter). Fosters should follow the same general
precautions as the shelter, and be notified of risk and protocols.

10. While in care, our usual welfare programs apply. Dogs should still be walked (using separate
designated routes and no contact with people who aren’t wearing PPE) and animals should
engage in social contact with humans if they choose to do so (humans must wear PPE). Do not
kiss animals or allow them to lick your face. The usual guidelines for hand hygiene, food
consumption in areas separate from animals, etc should also be followed.

At this time, these guidelines are issued out of an abundance of caution and apply only to animals
from known affected human households, not to all intakes or animals with unknown history.

Animal Transport

The BC CDC has also published an Q & A document relating to pets. Of particular importance is their recommendation that “importers, rescue organizations and adoptive families should avoid importing animals from areas where COVID-19 is currently circulating”. Given that the virus is circulating in every country it is our recommendation that the importing of animals should cease immediately until the pandemic is over.

In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, it is recommended that animal transports be temporarily suspended. Transporting animals is an important component to saving more lives. During this time, animal shelters and rescues will play important roles in supporting pets in their local communities by helping them remain in their homes as much as possible and be able intake them when necessary.

Spay and Neuter

Veterinarians in BC have been advised by the CVBC to not conduct non essential and elective procedures. This includes spay and neuters. Dr. Julie Devy writes an open letter in support of such directives.

A letter in support of Bill 147 – to repeal Ontario’s “pit bull” ban

Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


Paws for Hope Animal Foundation has always supported breed neutral legislation and is a strong ally to HugABull Advocacy and Rescue Society and Justice for Bullies.  It was brought to our attention that PETA misconstrued a quote made by our Executive Director in a newspaper interview from over four years ago, in order to inflate support to their anti-pitbull stance.

In response, we have written the following letter to all members of the Ontario Legislature in support of Bill 147. It is unfortunate that PETA chose to mislead decision makers on this very important issue, however, it has provided us a platform to reiterate our position.

If you would like to email, call or write members of the legislature, you can find their contact information here.


Dear Members of the Ontario Legislature,

I am writing on behalf of Paws for Hope Animal Foundation in support of Bill 147, to repeal the ban on pit bull type dogs in the Province of Ontario. Paws for Hope is a BC animal welfare charity that envisions communities that embrace all pets as family, ensuring they are loved, free from harm, and where no pet is left behind. To that end, our mission is to shift the culture of companion animal welfare in British Columbia by creating new models of practice and remediating the underlying causes of harm through cross sector collaboration, education and advocacy.

Paws for Hope supports the position that dangerous dog legislation must be breed neutral as followed by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviour, Humane Canada, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Best Friends Animal Society and BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (to name a few).

Targeting specific breeds as a method to control dangerous dogs, discriminates against innocent members of that specific breed, and is not supported by scientific evidence that shows no one breed is inherently more dangerous than another. Breed specific legislation does not improve public safety because the factors that attribute to aggressive dog behaviour are not taken into consideration. The labeling of dangerous and banning of one specific breed can create a false sense of safety and removes the responsibility that should be required of pet guardians to properly socialize, train and care for dogs of all breeds. The most effective way to reduce dog aggression incidences is through proactive legislation that focuses on education, common sense rules, and targeting factors that contribute to animal aggression

In closing I would like respond to a quote of mine PETA misconstrued in their letter dated March 6th. It would seem that they attempted to identify Paws for Hope as an animal welfare organization that supports breed bans by taking an interview quote out of context. For your information, you can see the original interview here. In this interview, you will see the topic was dog importing, not pit bulls. It is unfortunate that they used this misleading tactic, and I would like to reiterate we do not support any type of breed specific legislation for the reasons stated above.

Thank you for moving this legislation as far as you have to date. It is in public safety and animal welfare’s best interest to repeal the ban and replace with progressive animal welfare policies.

Kind regards,

Kathy Powelson
Executive Director

Updated response to West Jet’s travel policy

Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


On February 7, 2020 we issued a press release supporting West Jet’s travel policy requiring rescue dogs to be flown as cargo, as opposed to coming attached to a passenger, otherwise known as a “flight angel”. In our statement, we indicated that this was good policy because it would require the CBSA to do a proper inspection. The assumption was also made by us and others, that this meant dogs who were able to fly in cabin now would have to fly in the cargo area. Since we published the release we have had conversations with our rescue partners who bring dogs in from LA from time to time and they have provided clarity on the issue and the impact of this policy.

It is important to keep in mind that these organizations have import licenses, and all dogs are registered on flight logs with the necessary paper work.

If a dog comes in attached to someone’s itinerary (flight angel), the costs is around $100, is considered commercial goods and they are delivered to international special cargo. They go to a secondary inspection where an agent sees the dog and paperwork and the organization pays duties on the dog. Traveling this way, the dog arrives two hours before the flight, and the process after the flight will take around an hour. So if traveling from LA, this is about six hours for the dog in cargo.

If the dog is not attached to someone’s itinerary and is shipped via cargo, it costs $600 and he has to arrive three hours before the flight and the process after the flight will take around two hours. Now the dog is in crate and cargo holding for over eight hours. When the dog is delivered to a cargo area it is not delivered to a CBSA agent, but rather airport cargo staff. There is no inspection and the dog is released when the fees are paid. In one situation shared with us, the dog was lost.

There is also a lot of confusion regarding the role Canadian Borders Services Agency and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have in inspecting the dog’s health. It is our understanding that the CBSA does an initial inspection and can refer any animal presented at the border for a secondary inspection by the CFIA. What does seem to be clear however, given the experience shared by our colleagues, is that dogs flying attached to someone’s itinerary spend less time in crate and cargo and are more carefully inspected upon arrival into the country. However, the inspection is likely only done when the dog is registered with a rescue organization with an import license. It is our belief that very few of the groups currently importing dogs have an import license and therefore, these dogs are being transported as personal dogs and are receiving no inspection either by the CBSA or CFIA.

It is unfortunate that our current environment does not have a set of consistent regulations and polices for rescue organizations to operate. The result has been a massive increase in the number of “organizations” popping up to flip dogs from other countries into Canada for a profit. Additionally, it is unfortunate that there does not seem consistent practice by the CBCSA or CFIA for the inspection of animals crossing the border. The reality is, there are a small number of rescue organizations with responsible rescue import practices. Unfortunately, the overwhelming number of groups with questionable practices have made it very difficult for them to continue to do their good work.

We stand by our position, that British Columbia has an overpopulation crisis of its own that many people are not paying attention to because many of these cats and dogs are in remote and underserved communities, where you cannot just fly in and remove the animals. Nor can you post about their suffering on social media. These communities do not have kill shelters, because they have no shelters. But these animals still suffer and die. Relationships need to be made to help support communities to build sustainable animal welfare practices. Similarly, this same work needs to be done in the communities these dogs are being pulled from internationally, or else nothing will change. Without work to address the social issues that result in pet overpopulation, every dog and cat removed from a community or shelter in crisis, another one will take its place.

We care very much about animals across the globe. We need to ensure our work is not causing more harm than good, that it can be sustained and that it is making a difference in the communities we are working with. We apologize for our hasty response. It is our responsibility to ensure we have all the facts before we make a public statement. It does not serve animal welfare to be quick to take a position and serves us all better when we are well informed.

Kathy Powelson
Executive Director