Step 2: File an Animal Custody Appeal

Appeals must be made in writing AND be received by BCFIRB within the deadlines set by the PCAA. Otherwise, you will lose the right to file your appeal.

APPEAL TIME LIMITS

Notices of appeal must be made in writing and received by BCFIRB within the following time limits. Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, BCFIRB cannot hear appeals of BC SPCA review or costs decisions submitted outside of the time limits below.

I asked the BC SPCA to review the seizure of my animal.  The BC SPCA reviewed the seizure and told me they will not return my animal.  I am appealing their review decision to not return my animal.

Appeal must be received by BCFIRB within four (4) calendar days of you getting the BC SPCA decision.

Filing fees for these appeals must be received by BCFIRB within six (6) calendar days of you getting the BC SPCA decision.

To calculate the four (4) days, start counting on the day after you receive the BC SPCA decision. If BCFIRB is not open on the 4th day (e.g. weekend or holiday) the time is extended to the next day the office is open.  The same method is used to calculate the six (6) days for the filing fee.

I am appealing the amount of costs the BC SPCA has told me I must pay.

Appeal must be received by BCFIRB within four (4) calendar days of you getting the BC SPCA decision.

Filing fees for these appeals must be received by BCFIRB within six (6) calendar days of you getting the BC SPCA decision.

To calculate the four (4) days, start counting on the day after you receive the BCSPCA decision. If BCFIRB is not open on the 4th day (e.g. weekend or holiday) the time is extended to the next day the office is open.  The same method is used to calculate the six (6) days for the filing fee.

I asked the BC SPCA to review the seizure of my animal.  The BC SPCA has not provided a decision.  I want to appeal the original decision to take my animal.

Appeal must be in writing and received by BCFIRB no earlier than 28 calendar days following your request to the BC SPCA for a review.

Filing fees for these appeals must be received by BCFIRB within two (2) calendar days of the written Notice of Appeal.

To calculate the 28 days, start counting on the day after you requested a review. You can file an appeal on or as soon as possible after the 29th day.

Who Can File an Appeal?

If the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) has taken an animal because it appears to be abandoned or in distress and you are:

  • The animal owner
  • The operator in relation to the animal, or
  • Someone who has custody of the animal,

you can file an appeal with BCFIRB about the BCSPCA decision to take your animal and/or any related costs you are charged by the BCSPCA.

What Can You File an Appeal About?

If the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) has taken your animal because it has been deemed abandoned or distressed, you can file an appeal with BCFIRB about one or more of the following:

  • The BCSPCA review decision confirming that your animal(s) will not be returned (they will be sold, destroyed or otherwise disposed of).
  • The original BCSPCA decision to take custody of your animal(s) if, after 28 days following your request for review, the BCSPCA has not given you a review decision.
  • The costs charged by the BCSPCA, and/or the costs the BCSPCA has determined you must pay before the animal(s) is returned.

How Do You File an Appeal?

When you file an appeal with BCFIRB, you are entering into a legal process and will need to follow specific steps required by BCFIRB. As a tribunal, BCFIRB is committed to a user-friendly process and will clearly direct both you and the BCSPCA in the steps you need to follow.

To file an appeal with BCFIRB, you need to:

  1. Complete the PCAA Notice of Appeal Form (PDF); (or provide the same information in writing if you cannot use the form).
  2. Submit the form to BCFIRB by mail, courier, fax or email so that it will arrive within the time limit. Include a non-refundable $100 filing fee payable by cheque or money order to the Minister of Finance. If sending the form and filing fee separately, you must make sure the fee arrives not later than two (2) calendar days after the end of the time limit (address in table below).
  3. Send a copy of the form to the BC SPCA by mail, courier, fax or email (address in table below).
  BCFIRB BCSPCA
Send to the attention of: Executive Director Chief Prevention and Enforcement Officer
Mailing Address PO Box 9129 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9B5
1245 East 7th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5T 1R1
Address for Courier 780 Blanshard Street
Victoria, BC V8W 2H1
1245 East 7th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5T 1R1
Fax 250 356-5131 604 681-7022
Email firb@gov.bc.ca mmoriarty@spca.bc.ca

Appeal submissions must include

  • A clear statement of the issue(s),
  • The grounds for the issue(s),
  • Evidence,
  • Affidavits, and
  • Remedies requested.

Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, BCFIRB cannot accept appeals submitted outside of the time limits below.

What Happens When You File an Appeal?

The exact process and timelines of an appeal process will be based on your specific appeal.

1. BCFIRB receives the Notice of Appeal and filing fee
The owner, operator in relation to, or the custodian of the animal sends a completed Notice of Appeal to both BCFIRB and the BCSPCA, and a $100 filing fee to BCFIRB.

2. BCFIRB sends the submission schedule within three (3) business days
BCFIRB sends the appellant (the person appealing the BCSPCA decision) and the respondent (the BCSPCA) a submissions schedule. The schedule sets out

  • The time in which the appellant has to make their submission to BCFIRB,
  • The time for the BCSPCA to respond, and
  • The time for the appellant’s reply.

3. The appellant and BCSPCA send submissions to BCFIRB within thirteen (13) business days
Written submissions, including witness affidavits and response submissions, from both the appellant and the BCSPCA must be sent to BCFIRB and copied to each other within the scheduled times laid out in the submission schedule.

4. BCFIRB holds a telephone hearing within three (3) business days following submissions
The appellant and the BCSPCA will present their summarized arguments and requested outcomes to a BCFIRB panel. Parties may have an opportunity to question each other, and may be required to answer any questions the BCFIRB panel may have.

5. BCFIRB makes a decision no later than ten (10) business days after the hearing
BCFIRB will release a written decision with reasons, and send it to both the appellant and the BCSPCA. The decision will be posted to the BCFIRB web site within seven (7) days after it is delivered to the parties. BCFIRB decisions are final and only subject to judicial review by the B.C. Supreme Court.

The full rules guiding BCFIRB’s appeal process can be found in the Rules of Practice and Procedure under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (forthcoming – please contact BCFIRB if you have any questions).