Archive for December, 2010

Animal shelter toasts 4 years of no-kill policy

Richmond News December 29, 2010 7:02 AM

After four years of operating the Richmond Animal Shelter as a no-kill shelter, the Richmond Animal Protection Society (RAPS) is holding a special event on New Year’s Eve.

On Friday, Dec. 31, from noon to 3 p.m., RAPS will have an open house and anniversary party to celebrate four years operating a municipal animal shelter under a no-kill policy of animal welfare and rescue, according to a news release from RAPS.

The public and Richmond city councillors are invited to join RAPS in marking their fourth birthday by attending the open house and seeing what no-kill sheltering has done for Richmond’s homeless animals.

Punch, cookies and other desserts will be served.

The public is invited to sign RAPS’ anniversary card by answering the question, “What does having a no-kill animal shelter mean to me?”

A volunteer will provide guided tours of the facility.

RAPS has operated for 21 years as a no-kill animal rescue organization, but in 2007 was awarded the contract by the City of Richmond to operate the city’s animal shelter and provide animal control services.

RAPS promised the community they would change the municipal shelter to a no-kill facility, only euthanizing animals that are too sick or injured to recover or who are deemed too dangerous and unstable to allow them to live a quality life.

Euthanasia is never used to deal with the massive animal overpopulation in Richmond including the abundance of homeless dogs, cats and rabbits.

RAPS has also implemented innovative policies such as a low-cost community spay/neuter program for dogs and cats, dog training classes for the public, special reactive dog-training programs for volunteer dog handlers and worked to stop the retail sale of rabbits and dogs in Richmond.

The society is a non-profit organization, operating two shelters in the City of Richmond, the Richmond Animal Shelter and the RAPS Cat Sanctuary

Year-end donations can be made to RAPS to support the no-kill sheltering policy in person or online at or by calling the Richmond Animal Shelter at 604-275-2036.

© Copyright (c) Richmond News


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Student club gives back

MacNeill Animal Rescue Club

By Christie Lagally, Richmond News, December 22, 2010

See original article in the Richmond News.

Three teachers and 19 MacNeill Secondary students have come up with a brilliant idea.

While some students might prefer to play football or be a member of the chess club in high school, these forward thinking secondary students are members of the MacNeill Secondary Animal Rescue Club!

The Animal Rescue Club started in September and, led by teacher Wayne Hirayama, the student club members learn about animal rescue by visiting local shelters and fundraising for animal causes. The club holds fundraisers by selling cupcakes, pizza or hot dogs at MacNeill during the lunch hour.

Since the club’s inception, the students have visited the BC SPCA Education and Adoption Centre, the Richmond Animal Shelter and the RAPS Cat Sanctuary which houses more than 900 cats and is the largest of its kind in North America.

Hirayama says the students visit the rescue groups to learn about the incredible volunteer time and staff effort it takes to rescue, house, feed and care for so many homeless animals in our community. The mission of the Animal Rescue Club is to support those rescue efforts, and that’s exactly what the students are doing.

So far, this year the students have held 10 fundraisers (about one to two per week), but during their visit to the RAPS Cat Sanctuary, the group found out about a very special cat in need and decided to dedicate their fundraising efforts to help him.

Hirayama says the club’s motto is that even making a difference for one animal is a big difference.

Well, that’s good news for Mr. Bojangles, a three-year resident cat at the RAPS Cat Sanctuary.

This tabby and white feline often gets the attention of visitors to the sanctuary because he’s so friendly, but he also has strangely loud breathing. Unfortunately, in the last few months Mr. Bojangles’ breathing abnormalities turned into breathing problems, and he now needs some extra care from a veterinary specialist.

The Animal Rescue Club decided this would be their next fundraising effort, and they are holding their weekly fundraiser and taking donations from the public to cover the costs of diagnostics to determine, and eventually treat, Mr. Bojangles breathing problem.

It was clear to me when I spoke to Mr. Hirayama, that the members of the MacNeill Animal Rescue Club are dedicated to helping Mr. Bojangles and the cause of animal rescue in general, but Hirayama says the students are also learning the personal joy of giving back to the community and supporting the diligent efforts that go into animal rescue and care in Richmond.

Members of the Animal Rescue Club will be fundraising for Mr. Bojangles for the next few months and invites the public to help out.

If you would like to make a donation to help the Animal Rescue Club meet their goal, donations can be made at MacNeill secondary school office (6611 No. 4 Rd). or at the Richmond Animal Shelter (12071 No. 5 Rd.).

Christie Lagally is a volunteer pet columnist. View her blog at

© Copyright (c) Richmond News

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Vote for Turtle Gardens to win a Pepsi grant

Here’s an easy way to help a very deserving rescue group continue their life-saving efforts.  Just vote for their community idea in the Pepsi Refresh Project.

Click here to vote!  Or go to

Also, check out the Turtle Gardens website at

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Lots of ways to make holidays happier for fidos

Angus the Chihuahua

See original Richmond News article here.

By Christie Lagally,Special to the Richmond News, December 8, 2010

Like so many volunteers who dedicate their evenings and weekends to animal rescue, Linda Lanyon works full time as an elementary school teacher, but also operates BC Chihuahua Rescue (BCCR).

This rescue group of volunteers and foster homes takes in surrendered and former puppy-mill Chihuahuas and finds them new homes.

The all-volunteer rescue group doesn’t operate a shelter, but depends on a network of foster homes to house and care for each precious little dog.

But last summer, Lanyon’s rescue work was kicked up a notch when she was vacationing in Las Vegas, Nev. She and her sister were enjoying the Donny and Marie show at the Flamingo Las Vegas.

Donny Osmond, the actor, singer and former teen idol, was looking for audience members to participate in his Make a Difference (MAD) campaign. Lanyon’s sister volunteered her, and Lanyon came away with an extra $300 from Osmond’s show and instructions to turn that $300 into positive change.

And Lanyon has done just that through her work with the Chihuahuas. She used the money to purchase ‘OPT to Adopt’ bracelets to educate the public to adopt an animal instead of purchasing them at pet stores.

After so many puppy-mill chihuahua rescues, Lanyon knew that educating the public on animal adoption was an excellent way to make that $300 make a difference.

But BCCR’s work doesn’t just stop at education. Lanyon says the most necessary tasks for volunteers of BCCR are to provide foster homes and help to raise funds. So many of the animals that come to BCCR are in dire need of veterinary care and they spend nearly all their funds to pay vet costs. But it’s worth it! Lanyon’s rescue has provided permanent loving homes for 26 rescued Chihuahuas this year alone.

Wendy and her dog Angus

Richmond Urban Dance Company owner and dance teacher Wendy Riley recently starting volunteering with BCCR, and providing those necessary tasks of animal rescue was exactly what Riley wanted to do.

She now works to help homeless Chihuahuas by inspecting new foster homes in our area and selling the Make a Difference bracelets and other BCCR merchandise at her Urban Dance Company retail shop.

But right now Lanyon and Riley have been getting the word out that BCCR is looking for more foster homes. Surrendered and rescued Chihuahuas need temporary housing while an adoptive home can be found. Perhaps you can provide such a sanctuary?

Riley says good foster families are in homes where people are typically around much of the time and the yard is safe and secure for the little dogs.

If you think you might be able to provide a loving foster home, contact BCCR through their website.

But in the meantime, don’t miss this opportunity to contribute to the chihuahua rescue effort by purchasing beautiful ‘Make a Difference’ bracelets and other merchandise at or at the Urban Dance Company in Richmond.

And even if you can’t donate, you might find other ways to help by looking that the BC Chihuahua Rescue wish list at

Christie Lagally is a volunteer pet columnist. View her blog at
© Copyright (c) Richmond News

Images by Gemini Visuals.

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Vancouver needs to draw a line in the sand…

See letter in the Province.

Dear Editor, Residents of Vancouver and Vancouver City Council:

If you haven’t already heard, a new pet store that sells puppies, kittens, birds and other small animals will be opening in Vancouver’s Tinseltown this month.  The store, part of a large chain of pet stores in our area, has made it clear from their website that they are stocking live animals for retail sale.  While these plans have, no-doubt, been underway for a while, this comes right as the Richmond City Council has made the highly-applauded decision to ban the sale of puppies and dogs from retail outlets.  And earlier this year, the Richmond councillors banned the sale of rabbits due to overpopulation of pet rabbits abandoned to Richmond’s parks.

Vancouver-ites should be really upset that their city is continuing to allow retail and impulse purchasing of animals in pet stores.  Not only have documentaries by the CBC’s Marketplace clearly shown that local pets stores such as Pet Habitat and PJ’s pet source their puppies from puppy-mills and puppy-brokers such as the Hunte Corporation, but the sale of dogs, cats, birds and other small animals in Vancouver will only fuel our on-going homeless pet crisis in this region.  This costs the city of Vancouver to pay for ever more dogs to be housed at the Vancouver Animal Shelter and ever more cats and other animals housed at the BC SPCA.

Meanwhile your local, independent animal rescue groups are packed full of animals that need homes, and a large percentage of those animals came from people who bought their pet at a pet store, and then gave it up because it was too much work.

Richmond-ites understood the consequences of retail animal sales, and when Richmond Council asked for public consultation on this matter, the City received over two hundred pages of public support for the ban, and only two pages of dissenting opinion.

I encourage residents of Vancouver and the Vancouver City Council to look at what your pet stores are costing you both financially and ethically.


Christie Lagally
Animal Welfare Advocacy Coalition

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Milo lands on his feet, but needs help swimming

Milo the dog at the Richmond Animal Shelter has quite the story to tell of his recovery.  Now, he needs a little help getting some hydrotherapy.

See the article in the Richmond Review. Milo needs physio

See the Vancouver Sun article at:

The mystery dog Milo needs help mending (this link may be disconnected)

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The new face of politics! A column by Corry Anderson-Fennell

Now that animal welfare is a part of  mainstream politics (or at least it’s getting there), this cat takes a stand on the issues.  See this wonderful column by Corry Anderson-Fennell.

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Petition to end retail puppy sales in Vancouver and Burnaby

Vancouver and Burnaby are ready to take on their pet stores to stop puppy-mills and prevent impulse purchasing of animals which end up in the city’s local rescues. Now you can sign a petition on-line at

Here is the text of the petition:

* Target:;
* Sponsored by: Kathy Powelson

A call to our city councils to follow Richmond’s lead and ban the sale of puppies in pet stores.
End the mass production and inhumane treatment of dogs.

Richmond became the first city in Canada to pass a bylaw that bans the sale of puppies in pet stores.  The goal of Bylaw No.8663 is to limit impulse purchases and to reduce the number of dogs bred in puppy mills.  Shelters across the province will testify that one of the consequences of impulse purchases of the cute puppy in the store window is the overpopulation of homeless dogs filling their facilities.  The number of purebred dogs in shelters range between 25 – 50 % across the province.  Puppy mills are notorious for their substandard and inhumane living conditions and health care.  So much so, that  a large movement in the United State protesting the mass production of puppies has hit the streets and outside stores that sell puppies. This includes Utah based Best Friends Animal Society’s national”Pets are not Products” campaign.  With an estimated 10,000 puppy mills in the United States, we have our work set out for us.

The majority of puppies in Canadian pet stores come from the United States, many of which are brokered through the Hunte Corporation, based in Missouri.  It is estimated that up to 60 percent of the puppy mills in the United States are based in Missouri, due to, until recently, little regulation.  Enter Proposition B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act.  Passed in November, this Missouri law limits the number of breeding dogs to 50 and requires a higher standard of care relating to all aspects of a dog’s health; accommodation, food, water and veterinary care. Time will tell whether this new law will have a significant impact on the goal of eliminating the mass production of puppies and whether it will improve the quality of life for breeding dogs.  It is, however, a step in the right direction.  Given the Hunte Corporation does not actually ‘breed’ dogs, but rather ‘brokers’ them, it is doubtful that this laudable law will have any impact on their business.  In fact, it seems that they are untouchable.  Despite numerous complaints filed with the USDA and failed USDA inspections, it is business as usual at the Hunte Corporation.

While regulations may help improve the welfare of dogs whose sole purpose is to breed, the only way to eliminate puppy mills is to stop the demand.  For as long as people are willing to purchase puppies at stores, companies will supply them.  Unwanted dogs are abandoned daily.  The ‘lucky’ ones end up at shelters where there is a chance they will find another home.  Others are dumped in garbage bins, left tied to a tree, a truck or simply just left in a desolate area.  Shelters across the US and Canada are full of homeless dogs.  Rescue agencies are stretch beyond their means and hundreds of thousands of dogs are killed each year because there are not enough resources to care for them.

There was overwhelming support for Bylaw No.8663 from the community of Richmond.  The strongest opposition, not surprisingly, came from owners of pet stores that sell puppies.  We call upon city councils across the Lower Mainland to follow Richmond’s lead and make it illegal to purchase puppies in pet stores.  You have an amazing opportunity to improve the welfare of so many animals and to relieve the burden of your municipal shelters and community rescue groups.  The precedent has been set, the momentum has begun, we urge you to do the right thing.

Sign the petition.

A special thanks for Helen at RAPS for sending me this petition.

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BC Chihuahua Rescue on Shaw TV

Check out BC Chihuahua Rescue on Shaw TV!

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Victoria Times columnist calls for pet-store puppy sale ban

Well, here we go! Richmond’s decision to ban the sale of dogs from retail outlets is starting to spread throughout BC, and the latest call comes from Times columnist, Virginia Bennett.  See her simple and clearly stated article here.

For resources on banning the sale of dogs in your city, click here.

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