South Surrey dog owner wants record wiped clean

‘Notice of distress’ intended to educate, animal-protection officer says

Anita Tibbe

A South Surrey woman is at odds with the BC SPCA over a notice she was issued last month alleging that her dog was in distress.

Anita Tibbe said she was at home with her nine-month-old daughter and some family members Aug. 5, when she was visited by two BC SPCA officers, who told her they had received a complaint that her dog, Cohen, was in distress.

Cohen  – a 5½-year-old German shepherd – spends most of his time in the family’s fenced backyard, Tibbe said, where he has two beds under the covered porch, plenty of lawn and a covered stairwell leading to the basement.

Tibbe claims the officers wrote her a formal ‘notice of distress,’ indicating that he did not have adequate shelter from adverse weather, and would need to have an insulated dog house built within two weeks, or she would risk losing him and facing charges.

“To be told that we are not providing adequate shelter is over-the-top,” Tibbe said, noting that she is a lifelong dog owner who always considers dogs “a member of our family.”

Tibbe immediately emailed the BC SPCA’s senior animal-protection officer to dispute the claim that Cohen had been left in distress.

After some back and forth via email – including photos of their backyard showing where Cohen’s beds are – and a phone call, Tibbe said the officer agreed that Cohen wasn’t in distress, that the weather wasn’t adverse on the day the officers visited her home and that the notice shouldn’t have been written.

When asked to comment, senior animal-protection officer Eileen Drever  told Peace Arch News that she couldn’t discuss the particular case because of privacy concerns.

Speaking in general terms, Drever said that such notices are issued to pet owners as a means of “trying to educate people,” and that they remain on file as a matter of record for the BC SPCA.

“If we issue a notice to somebody, we do not revoke it,” Drever said. “It’s on our record.”

Drever said that in a “worst-case scenario,” legal action – such as a warrant for seizure of an animal or charges – could be taken.

While Tibbe was relieved that officials agreed Cohen was not in distress, she is upset that the BC SPCA won’t completely revoke the notice she was issued.

“I take great offence that my name is attached to a notice of distress,” she said. “None of it was true, and it shouldn’t have been written at all.”

Tibbe said she suspects it was a neighbour who made the complaint to the BC SPCA, noting that several other dog owners in her neighbourhood have had unexpected visits from officers in recent months, and said that is all the more reason why she wants the notice removed from her record.

“If these people are out to get me, now there’s a paper trail on me, and it can start to look really bad even though it’s not true,” she said. “You can’t start paper trails on people for doing nothing.”

According to Tibbe, Drever told her she was satisfied with Cohen’s conditions in their yard and on their deck, as long as his owners bring him inside during inclement weather, and saw no need for them to build him a dog house.

Tibbe was told she would receive a followup phone call from one of the visiting officers, but more than two weeks after her last correspondence with the BC SPCA, she hasn’t received a call or a visit.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Girls, women try their hand at marine rescue in Surrey

Achieve Anything Foundation, RCMSAR Crescent Beach host ‘Operation: This IS You! Saving Lives at Sea’

White Rock cadets nab medals at Vernon competition

Thirteen members of 907 Squadron compete at regional meet

Surrey boy living with congenital heart disease to speak at local Tedx event

Mason Vander Ploeg will be speaking on saving the oceans

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Winds up to 70 km/hr expected across Metro Vancouver

Winds are expected to subside overnight

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Fraser Health warns some schools of possible COVID-19 exposure

A sixth COVID-19 patient is a woman in her 30s in the Fraser Health region who recently returned from Iran

High-risk sex offender cuts off ankle bracelet, on the loose in Vancouver: police

Vancouver police said Kirstjon Olson, 38, is a provincial sex offender with 27 court-ordered conditions

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read