The BC SPCA honoured 14 heroes from across the province this past weekend during its annual awards ceremony in Vancouver. Among the recipients were a devoted philanthropist, a generous veterinarian, and an emaciated mother dog who courageously cared for her pups despite the horrific conditions she faced.
Philanthropist of the Year
Kevin Edgecombe is a local businessman, longtime Kelowna Branch supporter, and an excellent example of philanthropic leadership in his community. For the past six years, Edgecombe has been the sponsor of the branch’s annual golf tournament. “Kevin’s involvement in the event has contributed to us raising $280,000 for the Kelowna Branch. We couldn’t do it without him,” says Marni Adams, manager, fundraising support. He is also a significant supporter of Kelowna’s annual gala through his own donations and generous bidding on auction packages. In addition, Edgecombe played integral part of the branch’s extensive renovation, leveraging his business relationships to secure in-kind donations which significantly reduced the cost of the project. Read the full story.
Caring Company of the Year
Petsecure Health insurance received the Caring Company of the Year award for their outstanding support to animals in need. Petsecure has committed to a two-year agreement with the society to provide six weeks of accident and illness insurance for all cats and dogs adopted from BC SPCA shelters. To date, 16,651 adopted dogs and cats have received this complimentary insurance, resulting in $46,000 in paid claims. Petsecure has also committed to supporting the BC SPCA through a minimum of $140,000 in donations and sponsorship funds throughout the two-year period. Read the full story.
Reporter/anchor Klaudia Ceglarz and CHBC Global Okanagan received the BC SPCA’s 2012 award for Media Excellence. Global Okanagan’s coverage for the Kelowna Branch includes raising awareness about animals for adoption, promoting fundraising events, and assisting with education and advocacy messages. Ceglarz, a BC SPCA volunteer herself, serves as the BC SPCA media champion for the Scotiabank and BC SPCA Paws for a Cause walk in Kelowna. She also takes a personal interest in animal cruelty stories and has gone out of her way to ensure such stories receive significant media coverage. In addition, Ceglarz recently initiated a partnership with the BC SPCA to reintroduce weekly pet segment on the news. Read the full story.
Volunteer of the Year (2)
Husband and wife team Sheila and Bob Dale received the society’s Volunteer of the Year award for their efforts on behalf of the Parksville-Qualicum Beach Branch. Since 2006, the duo has helped the BC SPCA raise more than $75,000 to save the lives of animals in need. The Dales have achieved this largely by coordinating and overseeing the branch’s annual flea market and book sale, which raises between $7,000 and $15,000 every year for abused and homeless animals. Bob and Sheila have also offered their time and skills for a variety of tasks, including dog walking, writing donor thank-you letters, and helping with building projects at the shelter. Read the full story.
As an integral part of the SPCA team in the Lower Mainland for nearly 25 years, Gail Higgins also received the Volunteer of the Year award. Gail first became a volunteer in 1989 at the Vancouver shelter, where she helped with cat socializing and grooming, as well as the training of new volunteers. Here, she was also very active in the branch’s annual fundraising walk and participated as a key member of the Friends of the SPCA. Since 2009 to present, Gail has been volunteering with the West Vancouver Branch where she serves on the community council, fundraises, coordinates the volunteer program, as well as helps out with shelter duties. Read the full story.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Husband and wife team Shawn Eccles and Eileen Drever are dedicated, knowledgeable, and passionate protectors of animals. The pair joined the BC SPCA in 1980 and for the past 32 years they have held a variety of roles with the society, saving thousands of neglected and abused animals. Shawn and Eileen received the Lifetime Achievement Award for their outstanding contributions.
Eileen Drever worked for the SPCA in Scotland before joining the BC SPCA Vancouver Regional Branch. In 2003, she became a senior animal protection officer, overseeing a team of special constables and investigating hundreds of cruelty cases. Well-known in the media, Eileen hosts a weekly adopt-a-pet segment on Global Television and serves as a media spokesperson for the society.
Shawn Eccles, chief animal protection officer, has extensive expertise in every aspect of the BC SPCA’s work; he has experience in hands-on roles in night emergency work, shelter operations, education and training, policy development, and now in animal welfare protection. He has been instrumental in the creation of courses in animal cruelty investigations at the Justice Institute of B.C. and continues to be a mentor and role model for constables across the province. Read the full story.
Veterinarian of the Year
Dr. Patricia Reeves received the Veterinarian of the Year award for her ongoing dedication and indispensible support to the South Peace SPCA Branch. “Helping animals is second nature to Dr. Reeves,” says Wendy Davies, manager, South Peace Branch. Dr. Reeves, alongside her husband Dr. Trevor Reeves, works at a family-run vet clinic in Dawson Creek and has contributed thousands of dollars in free or greatly discounted services for SPCA animals. In addition, Dr. Reeves often responds to after-hours emergencies without charging after-hours fees, assists with caring for and adopting out animals from cruelty investigations, and educates shelter staff on medical issues. She and her vet team also help to combat pet overpopulation by offering a 50 per cent discount on spay/neuter surgeries for low income residents in the area. Read the full story.
Stu Rammage Award
The Stu Rammage award is named in honour of one of Canada’s most dedicated animal welfare advocates and goes to those who have shown exceptional achievement in the protection of animals. This year the award was presented to the BC SPCA cruelty investigations team, led by Marcie Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations, for their investigation into the mass killing of sled dogs in Whistler. The April 2010 investigation—the largest, most complex animal cruelty investigation by the BC SPCA to date—required the participation of every single member of the department. Because of the extraordinary hard-work of the team, charges against Robert Fawcett, the former general manager of the sled dog operation, were approved by Crown Counsel. In addition, Moriarty was also instrumental in working with the government to produce a new code of care for sled dogs in B.C., which comes into effect in October. Read the full story.
The BC SPCA humane education department is key to creating a brighter future for animals in British Columbia. The department, lead by Craig Naherniak, general manager of humane education, helps to develop young people who have empathy and compassion for all living things—humans, animals and the environment. Specific work done by the humane education team includes the BC SPCA Kids Club, which began in 2004 and today engages more than 5,000 young people; a monthly e-kids newsletter; fun animal-themed workshops; summer camps programs; the development of animal welfare curriculum for BC classrooms; a monthly e-teacher newsletter, and Bark! Magazine. Read the full story.
Branch of the Year
The Williams Lake & District Branch is a shining example of success in all aspects of shelter operations, fundraising efforts, volunteer support, and community outreach. Despite economic uncertainly across the province during 2011, the branch has not only managed to meet their budget, but rather surpassed it by $27,000. Under the expert leadership of manager Liz Dighton, the Williams Lake Branch maintained a strong community council, increased their adoption rate by 11 percent and increased branch fundraising by an impressive 51 percent. Read the full story.
Staff Excellence (2)
West Vancouver Branch manager Dragana Hajdukovic is a true leader who proudly represents the BC SPCA in her community. Since joining the SPCA in 2011, she has demonstrated exceptional vision, enthusiasm, and skill in leading her branch. Under Hajdukovic’s guidance, the branch has seen a 50 percent increase in animal adoptions, a dramatic boost in donations and public support, as well as significant enhancements to animal welfare programs—all while keeping expenses within budget. Read the full story.
Senior wildlife rehabilitator Christina Carrieres, the longest serving wildlife rehabilitator at the BC SPCA’s Wild ARC facility, combines passion and expertise in her chosen profession. Carrieres began as a volunteer at Wild ARC and has since made a positive impact through her enthusiasm for wildlife, combined with her skills as an animal health technologist. Carrieres’ innovative approach is demonstrated on a daily basis, whether it’s coming up with new cage designs, enrichment strategies, or animal care protocols. She also helps to build and implement new volunteer training programs and is dedicated to further professional development opportunities for those working in the field of wildlife rehabilitation. Read the full story.
Animal Courage Award
Molly, a German shepherd-cross, received the BC SPCA Animal Courage Award for her bravery and resilience in the face of adversity. Molly and her pups were rescued by the SPCA from a Vancouver Island home where they endured horrendous neglect and suffering. When Molly was discovered, she had no access to food, water, or shelter, yet still attempted to nurse her sickly young pups. Constable Hitchcock, BC SPCA Constable who found Molly says, “It was heartbreaking to see the badly neglected dog trying so hard to nurture her puppies under such hopeless circumstances.” Despite their hardships, Molly and her pups recovered beautifully and have all been adopted into loving homes. Read the full story.
The BC SPCA Awards Program honours both people and animals who have made outstanding contributions to animal welfare during the past year. Recipients include veterinarians, staff, volunteers and animal heroes. The non-profit BC SPCA cares for nearly 32,000 abused, abandoned, injured and neglected animals each year in British Columbia.
The BC SPCA is a non-profit organization funded primarily by public donations. Our mission is to prevent cruelty and to promote the welfare of animals through a wide range of services, including cruelty investigations, emergency rescue and treatment, sheltering and adoption of homeless and abused animals, humane education, advocacy, farm animal welfare, spay/neuter programs, and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.