Paws and People for Change – Advocating for a Compassionate Community

Once again, I am involved with the advancement of positive change for the animal community. If you are local, and you’ve heard about Shadow and Diesel, you will know that there are some big changes that need to be done in the Regional District of the Central Okanagan. Processes in place need overhaul. There is a consultant hired to do a review, so the Directors recognize there are big problems. Come and hear what he has to say on October 22. Information below.

RDCO Board Meeting October 22
RDCO Board Meeting October 22, all are welcome, all citizens of the RDCO are impacted by the changes the consultant will be recommending, regardless if you have animals or not.

Province of British Columbia Declares April23rd Animal Abuse Prevention Day in Honor of the Lost Lives of 100 Sled Dogs


The Province of British Columbia recognizes that the health, safety and well

being of all animals is vital, and



The Province of British Columbia will lead the country by enacting the toughest

penalties against animal cruelty so that anyone proven responsible for harming

an animal will be subject to those penalties, and



the Province of British Columbia believes that the prevention of cruelty to

animals is a matter of humanity and not just a matter of legislation,




by working together and sharing information on how to prevent, recognize, and

report signs of animal abuse, we can help protect all animals from abuse and

neglect, and



Our Lieutenant Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Executive

Council, has been pleased to enact Order in Council 903 on October 11,



NOW KNOW YE THAT we do by these presents proclaim and declare that April 23, 2011

shall be known as





honour of the lost lives of 100

sled dogs on April 23, 2010


in  the Province of British Columbia.


Recommendations from the Sled Dog Task Force Report

Here is a direct copy and paste of page 23, 24 and 25 of the Sled Dog Task Force paper:

original can be found here:

Please note Recommendation 5!!! This is what we are all working towards. It has been stated by the BC provincial government that they will act on all of these recommendations, but we need to close those loopholes!

5.1 Regulation of Standards of Care for Sled Dogs in B.C.

RECOMMENDATION 1: Amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCAA) to:

• create a regulatory authority to define Standards of Care for animals.

• extend the current six month limitations for bringing forward proceedings related to contraventions of the PCAA

RECOMMENDATION 2: Consider increased penalties for offences committed under the PCAA

RECOMMENDATION 3: Establish a working group to develop a Sled Dog ‘Standard of Care’ based upon current knowledge, best practices, science, and expertise with extensive input from key stakeholders including veterinarians, enforcement agencies, animal welfare organizations, and the sled dog industry.

This explicit and mandatory standard will define an acceptable standard of care and provide clarity to both animal owners and law enforcement officials.The standard should provide minimum requirements of care in addition to recommended best practices–including, but not limited to food, water, housing, socialization, tethering, euthanasia and other animal husbandry responsibilities.

Consideration should be given to referencing external authoritative standards, including the CVMA, to ensure the standard continues to reflect emerging best practices.

RECOMMENDATION 4: Require that all sled dog companies receiving tenures on Crown Land under the Land Act include in their management plans annual inspections by either the BC SPCA or a licensed veterinarian.

RECOMMENDATION 5: Recommend to the Government of Canada that consideration be given to strengthen the Criminal Code provisions related to animal cruelty.

RECOMMENDATION 6: Consult with the College of Veterinarians of British Columbia on the creation of a mandatory reporting requirement under the PCAA that requires veterinarians to report suspected cases of animal abuse to the BC SPCA and provides statutory immunity for veterinarians making such reports.

RECOMMENDATION 7: Enhance the capacity of the BC SPCA to undertake animal cruelty investigations.

RECOMMENDATION 8: Build upon the existing prosecutorial expertise within the Ministry of Attorney General to successfully pursue cases of animal abuse through ongoing training and related efforts.

5.2 Certification of Sled Dog Operators in B.C.

RECOMMENDATION 9: Encourage the development of a self-sustaining sled dog industry association which incorporates a certification and auditing program.Encourage agencies and organizations that have the ability to market or license sled dog sporting events (e.g.tourism associations, business advocacy and consumer organizations, race organizers), to require membership in this association as a condition for B.C.-related activities and marketing.

RECOMMENDATION 10: Enhance the provincial public sector’s ability to recognize and report instances of animal abuse by:

• Developing and delivering information awareness materials regarding animal abuse to front-line staff as appropriate;

• Developing policies to ensure the expectations and mechanisms to report animal abuse are in place; and,

• Establishing Information Sharing Agreements between the BC SPCA and the numerous provincial Ministries, Crown Corporations and non-government agencies with statutory obligations.


I note that Recommendation 3 does not include the term of *retirement*, but does include a recommendation regarding socialization. All dogs should be adoptable after their run … just like K-9s, seeing eye dogs etc.

Vigils for animal welfare in Canada continue with great hopes for election on May 2

Just many other groups have Facebook to help communicate their cause and inspire action, so is Vancouver resident Crystal Arber leading a global pack to bring awareness to Animal Cruelty legislation in Canada.  Arber, an MSW Candidate, was struck by the senseless and heartless executions of the Sled Dogs in Whistler BC and decided she could not just let things go on status quo. “These sled dogs cannot die in vain. We need to be their voice!” Seems thousands of other people agreed with her. For her, though, thousands are not enough; her goal is millions.

After some research, she discovered that animal cruelty legislation remains virtually unchanged since 1892. Animals are still considered property even though the majority of the population comprehends and views them as  sentient beings.

“They feel, they understand, and they display joy. Because animals are still considered property, it seems to give some people justification for abuse.” Arber says.

Arber has a goal of 100 cities around the world, and is halfway there.

Since mid February, 27 “walks” to highlight Canada’s lack of effective animal cruelty legislation have taken place already from Italy, across Europe and in to Canada through to the US.

Her April 23rd Vigil organizers in Canada, from North Vancouver BC and in every province are making a lot of noise as well as those organizers from England, South Africa,Australia, and US. And the media is listening even if the Harper government is not.

For local residents North Vancouver will hold its Vigil at the foot of Lonsdale at the New Shipbuilders’ Square. All local MPs and MLAs including Premier Christy Clark have been invited, and North Van Mayor Darrell Mussatto will be speaking.

MPs are also getting involved, letters. MP Mark Holland, drafter of Bill C-229,  spoke  in Waterloo about the fight for effective Animal Cruelty legislation.

“That’s really the focus of these Vigils”, Crystal explained. “We will have petitions on site at every Canadian vigil for people to sign. If the amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada were in place, as proposed in this bill, any offense would be enforced more effectively and efficiently. For example, we’d have less people getting away with a slap on the wrist for beating a three month old puppy to death, like what happened in Victoria early 2011.”

When asked how much Bill C-229 will cost Canadian taxpayers, Mark Holland, MP for Ajax Pickering since 2004, says “it is expected (to cost) nothing to implement. There really is no reason for them (the PCs) not to do this at all..” If anything, it will increase enforcement, he confirms, and it will increase the effectiveness of our court system, where currently, offenders have very little accountability. When someone harms an animal, they rarely are convicted because of our current Criminal Code. That is what needs to change.

“There is no need to make this a partisan issue – it is just the right thing to do.” He added, “I am happy to pull my bill if they agree to introduce it as government legislation. We badly need these changes passed.”

Libby Davies, NDP MP Vancouver recently said in the House on March 7 2011, “All these important citizen initiatives have focused our attention on what needs to be done. Animal cruelty laws must be effective and they must not be stripped down in the Senate. I urge all members to join together to protect animals and prevent animal cruelty.”

In fact, all the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc support changing legislation based on Bill C-229. So why is the bill being stopped? Holland attributes it to the complacency of the Conservatives who feel they have already done enough to support animal cruelty legislation. John Weston, Vancouver PC MP says in a letter to the editor North Shore News February 4, 2011 in response to the “despicable act” of the sled dog executions:  ” Our federal government supports the fight against animal cruelty. We need to send the message that animal cruelty is unacceptable in Canadian society. That is why our government helped pass Bill S-203 into law during the last parliament, a bill that increased the maximum penalty to five years for acts of animal cruelty.”

In a written reply to Mr Weston, Mr Holland said “You mention that your government “remains open to future initiatives to combat animal cruelty.” If that is true, then why has your government consistently ignored countless calls made over years to get a bill like C-229 through Parliament? …. demands have been made by … residents who live in West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, the riding you represent in Parliament.”

Bill C-229 allows for all regular hunting, fishing, farming, ranching, as long as these continue lawfully.

An election has been called for May 2, and the petitions for this Bill are still valid because they state “based on Bill C-229. If the public would like to get involved and make their voice heard, or to sign a petition, there are vigils happening in almost every area in Canada on April 23rd.

It seems the international population understands what the Canadian Conservative party does not.

More information about the Vigils in your city or around the world can be found at This site also has a repository on all the press received regarding the Vigils so far and is updated daily. Mark Holland’s website which contains the very short history on Animal Cruelty legislation in Canada is

Canadian Animal Cruelty Legislation has no balls – you can help change that!

Sled Dog Suzie Massacre Whistler
Meet Suzie, she loved her sticks and would always try to engage you. Suzie is no longer with us, and according to the WCB reports died a horriic death. Thank you to Amie Wills for her photo so we can remember her.

This petition is aimed at international citizens, not Canadians.

If you are Canadian please go to to get a hold of a good letter to send to your MPs – especially the Conservatives!

Information about Vigils happening around the world on April 23rd 2011.

Animal Cruelty part of the Canadian Culture?

Sled Dog Suzie Massacre Whistler
Meet Suzie, she loved her sticks, and would always try to engage you. Image courtesy of Sled Dog trainer, Amie Wills. According to the WCB report on the CBC website, when she was shot in the face, she made a horrible noise, and ran away in pain with her eye hanging out. She settled near some of her packmates, but she was finished off with a scoped rifle.

Most Canadians I have talked to in Kelowna really had no idea how bad our Animal Cruelty legislation is; they didn’t know that laws have not been substantially changed since 1892. But then, when news stories hit regarding someone setting fire to their pet, or dismembering an animal, how can we wonder why they are not successfully prosecuted.

At the end of January, 2011, Canadians and world citizens were shocked and dismayed to hear of the mass executions (known to some as the Canadian Sled Dog Massacre of the Whistler 100) of the Whistler dogs in 21-23 April 2010, two short months after the Olympics. While a Task Force has been appointed by the BC government to investigate, and the results and effectiveness of that remains to be seen, Canadians are no longer waiting for the government to do the right thing.

Some Canadians are no longer accepting that animal cruelty is part of our culture, part of our identity.

But we are not the only ones.

The international community is appalled at the lack of animal cruelty legislation in Canada. Countries like the United States, England, Norway, South Africa, Italy, and the list is growing every day, are signing online petitions directed to the Canadian Government that current laws are unacceptable. According to the IFAW organization, Executive Summary in “Falling Behind – An International Comparison of Canada’s Animal Cruelty Legislation”, “Almost every day in Canada newspapers cover stories of horrific acts of cruelty to animals. From house cats captured and killed in microwaves to dogs dragged behind cars until they die from their injuries — cases of cruelty abound.” Recently, a three month old puppy was beaten to death in a hotel room in Victoria, and the killer received almost nothing as a consequence to his action.

Unless, you, my fellow Canadian, support these kinds of actions? Do you accept that cruelty to animals is part of our Canadian culture?

A grassroots movement of Canadians say things need to change. There have already been 25 walks across the country and around the world, trying to bring awareness to Canada’s horrible animal cruelty legislation. There are more to come.

As of this writing, 46 vigils are taking place on April 23rd, the second and final day of the two day Canadian Sled Dog Massacre, and petitions will be available for people to sign. We want to symbolically show the sled dogs that we really do care that this happened to them by signing the petition in support of Bill C-229.

Have you already signed?

Letters have been written by residents of Canada to their MPs. Some have written every MP in Canada! The responses have been varied but predictable. Liberal MPs have responded with unequivocal support, while the Conservative MPs appear to be quite haughty and do not believe they need to listen to the Canadian voice.

From letters I received from Conservative  MPs,  it appears to me that they feel that their work with Animal Cruelty legislation is done with the passing of S-203. Maybe they think that with their stance in the polls, should there be an election called, they have it completely wrapped up, and they don’t need to lift a finger.

How do you feel about that?

To see all the vigils that are planned for April 23rd, please visit This is a facebook page.

Past events can be seen at the Advocates Against Outdated Animal Welfare, also a facebook page. This link though will take you right to the photo albums.

Why the dogs, why not the homeless?

I was asked the other day, how there could be so much attention on this situation, the one with the sled dogs, when there are so many other weighty matters that abound with our human population: homeless, child abuse, addictions, you name it. Why do people show up at protests for a potential bunny cull, but not for these others? Fair enough question. Happy to explain…

There is a difference yes. The difference here is that the humans are the caretakers of animals. The animals have no choice, really, but to live within our society as we wish. Humans do have a choice, and if they are incapable of choices, their caretakers have choices. In my opinion, if their caretakers abdicate from or are incapable of their responsibility, then we have human conditions such as are listed above.

In Kelowna, we had an overpopulation of bunnies in one of our areas, according to some people there were THOUSANDS. Apparently people would dump their unwanted bunnies there, and well, bunnies do what bunnies do, and the population exploded. What is the City to do? They came up with the idea of a cull, but too many people protested, (though one went out with his 14 year old son and beat some to death with a bat – and a serial killer is born!) Long story short, the majority (I don’t know if all) were put with TRACs on a bunny farm. I believe they were all fixed so they could not reproduce. But, the point here is that it was because of human action that this problem occurred in the first place. Human action. Powerful beasts, we humans.

Our laws in Canada are atrocious. They are outdated and insufficient for the cruelty that humans are capable of. They have not been changed since 1892! Truth of the matter is, you can do anything pretty much right now to an animal in Canada, and you’ll just get a slap on the wrist. There are many of us that want that changed. The sled dog executions were an unavoidably, tremendously impactful event that shoved our current laws unceremoniously in our face, and demanded our attention to get these laws changed NOW. We could not NOT do something! We are taking ownership of our laws, we are taking ownership of our voice. But why is this so important? They are just DOGS for heavensake!

Case in point:
Here is the WCB report from BF who killed the Outdoor Adventure Sled Dogs – have you read it?

The outrage that I and others feel that this was even permitted to happen (and that some people think it was okay to do) is why we are using this momentum to get our laws changed so that if it ever did happen again, there would be severe penalties for their actions. Bill C-229 is not perfect in my eyes, I would like things to be much stiffer in penalties, and stronger in definitions, but I know laws need to change in increments. Maybe my son or grandchildren will see what I would envision as a perfect legislation.

The dog walks listed in this facebook Vigil for 100 Sled Dogs group are not just “dog walks”. There is so much more behind it, there will be petitions that people can sign so they at least feel like they are :doing: something. That is the motive behind the dog walks. People around the world! are disgusted that something like this could happen in our day and age, in our supposed evolution and consciousness as human beings.

This is not like a protest for a bunny cull. These dogs were massacred, horribly, terribly and painfully. By their pack leader. In front of the survivors. You don’t think dogs feel anything? Look at how your companion greets you next time when you come home.

There are so many people in this world who are watching Whistler, watching them deny that Outdoor Adventures is even part of Whistler, even though Outdoor Adventures is advertised as a Whistler business, given a Whistler business license, and sold as a Whistler activity. There are so many people in this world watching Whistler bury their heads in the sand thinking that if they can’t see a problem, no one else can either.

There are so many people in this world who are watching Canada, watching our government and forming opinions on our population, that we allow this sort of thing to go on. There are so many people within Canada itself, watching and writing and petitioning our government to change the legislation so that this will ever happen again.

I am one of these people, and I hope you are too. This goal is obtainable. We can get the legislation changed. We can make a difference. We can do this. Even one petition from each person with 25 signatures will add up to the million we hope to get. Every signature counts. Every voice counts. Your voice counts. This is not just about the dogs, or about dog walks. This is about making a difference for everyone.

Here is a link to information that you can get started in your own community. It is a note I posted on facebook, and thought perhaps others might like to make an impact in their own community. Any questions, by all means, let me know.

BC Sled Dog Task Force Likely Going to Turn Its Back on Sled Dogs

If you thought the fate of the 100 sled dogs who were slaughtered in British Columbia would mean a better day ahead for dogs, think again.

Instead of learning from the tragedy, instead of understanding that yes, sled dogs can be and frequently are adopted into pet homes, instead of acknowledging that death — whether it’s from a bullet to the head, a knife to the throat, or a syringe full of Fatal-plus –  is not an acceptable canine retirement plan, <b>the task force assigned to investigate the killings is turning its back on Canada’s working sled dogs.</b>

Please write to your MP and your Senate regarding this, and get the laws in Canada changed!
this is the bill mark holland, mp, wanted passed into law for tougher penalties re animal cruelty.
This is the PAPER Petition for people to sign –

discusses what is current and what is proposed by Bill C-229.

If you want to see how sad Canada is with regard to Animal Cruelty read this
how Canada ranks in animal cruelty legislation:

Please write!! Deadline for the taskforce presentation is not til March. We can make a difference, we have time!

Email addresses for the MPs of Canada 2011

Addresses of all MPs in Canada:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Letter to the MPs, MLAs of Canada regarding Animal Rights and Animal Cruelty Legislation

Please feel free to copy and paste, or adjust as you feel necessary. Write to all public representatives and have all of our government hear how we feel about animal rights and animal cruelty. Here is a list of the email addresses

Dear MLA (or MP or Senator) of Canada,

There is outrage all over the world about the massacre of the sled
dogs. Canada is or maybe already has a reputation for cruelty and lack
of regard when it comes to their animal population.

Our society is one of compassion, we Canadians pride ourselves on
being one of the most compassionate peoples on this planet. But, as
Mahatma Ghandi said, ‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress
can be judged by the ways its animals are treated.

This current disposal of sled dogs in Whistler is a prime example of
what is wrong with the current legislation. These sled dogs (and other
animals) are used for economic gain, but disposed of when they are no
longer able to be supported. This is unacceptable. Animals are
sentient emotional beings. A parallel could be drawn between a parent
who can no longer support a child, would it be acceptable to kill

Under no circumstances should any company be able to discard animals.
There must be agreements signed to this effect. The SPCA or other
humane organizations must be involved and funded to enable relocation,
this needs to be a requirement!

The animal cruelty laws need to be changed. Currently Bill C-229 is in
progress and needs to be passed pronto!

The animal rights laws need to be changed. Bill C-50 needs to be
resubmitted as per requirements and passed pronto! Please SUSPEND
whether you are Liberal or Conservative or NDP or Independent and look
at the entire picture! There is no room for political ego in this
situation! How amazing would that be if you all worked together?

Animals are living sentient beings and need to be recognized as such
in updated legislation to protect their rights.

The words “brutally” and “viciously” must be defined in the Criminal Code.

“Lawful excuse” must be defined as self-defense for both human and animal!

Animals can not be killed or discarded, in any manner, when they no
longer serve their economic use.

A business who uses animals in their day to day work, for economic
gain, for human enjoyment”, must make provisions within their business
plan for the future of these animals.

A business that kills their animals must be penalized financially and
criminally for their actions. Each animal killed must be a subsequent
sentence. Sentences should be major fines, not $500. Go big!

Any illnesses arising from the ordered actions of employees that
require medical or psychological care must be turned back to the
company or parent company of that employee who ordered the action.

Any animal inflicted injuries arising from the actions of any
employees because of their killing animals must be turned back to the
company or parent company of that employee.

Canada must step up to the plate and change the laws that have, in
substance, not been changed since 1892. Bill C-50 is written already,
and could be passed without much ado, as it has already gone through
legislature. C-229 is a good start! Canada likes to think of itself as
a supporter of other nations, and that it has a good reputation in the
world. But as mentioned, a nation’s (or man’s) character is easily
judged by how he treats animals. And what does the world think of us

I do worry that a very narrow minded approach is going to be taken by
this task force – ie just looking at the sled dog issue. I hope
that… this task force pushes forward an increase to spca funding to
support preventative measures. All companies like Outdoor Adventures who use animals
for “human enjoyment” should be made to sign an agreement than none
can be killed because they can’t afford it… that part of the
business requirement is there is acknowledgment that the future of
such animals be assured, and that execution is not acceptable.

I would like a response on what you specifically are doing to aid this venture.
Thank you.

Julia Trops