Step 4: The Animal Custody Appeal Decision

After you present your evidence and arguments at a hearing, the BCFIRB panel will make a decision. The decision will be in writing. It will be sent to you and the BCSPCA, and posted on the BCFIRB Animal Custody Appeal Decisions web page.

The BCFIRB panel may consider whether the BCSPCA decision was

  • Consistent with ensuring the well-being of the animal(s) involved,
  • In compliance with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and
  • Consistent with the principles of good decision-making (strategic, accountable, fair, effective, transparent, inclusive).

These considerations arise out of BCFIRB’s primary objective of ensuring the well-being of the animal(s) involved, and its responsibility to adhere to administrative law.

In its decision, the BCFIRB panel can, under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act:

  • Require the BCSPCA to return the animal(s) with or without conditions regarding care;
  • Permit the BCSPCA, at the BCSPCA’s discretion, to destroy, sell or otherwise dispose of the animal(s); and/or
  • Confirm or change the costs the owner is liable for.

BCFIRB decisions are final. There is no mechanism in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act that allows BCFIRB to change decisions. However, you can apply to the B.C. Supreme Court for a judicial review within sixty (60) days of the BCFIRB decision, unless an extension is granted by the Supreme Court.

BCFIRB processes and procedures can be reviewed by the B.C. Office of the Ombudsperson, providing an additional layer of accountability.