volunteer meetup 24 jan 2015

Fort Erie Animal Bylaws Force Suspension in BCFS Dog Rescue

Never in a million years would I thought I’d have to fight so hard to do animal rescue. I knew there would be huge challenges to help animals, but I thought those would be with evil abusers  – not animal officials in my own home town. — Amy Bremner, President of Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary.

Fighting for our Right to Help Animals 

The Fort Erie council meeting on Monday August 10, 2015 was a violent roller coaster ride that turned into a mixed bag of new beginnings, while still being shackled to the old world bylaws.

The councilors will be reviewing the twenty year old animal bylaws for the next six to eight months to bring them up to date.  We have been battling for positive change since 2012, so we aren’t excited by another delay, although they have asked that BCFS be included in the creation of the new bylaws, if and when they are eventually overhauled.

We do send out a big thank you to Marina Butler, Chris Knutt,  and Mayor Redakop for defining the amendments listed below.

Four Amendments to Animal Bylaws

Councillors have created four changes for the interim that will allow Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary to remain in operation, albeit extremely controlled and limited, but active for the next 6-8 months.


1. Increasing the foster dog limit from two to a maximum of five dogs.  

Kennel licenses have no dog limits because according to the Fort Erie SPCA President Martha Lockwood: pure bred dogs are more valuable than rescue dogs, therefore their owners are more invested in them, so they never run away.  They are kept locked in cages and kennels, so they are safer than dogs kept in homes.

How can the SPCA say that pure bred dogs are more valuable than rescue dogs? Half our rescue dogs are pure bred dogs, but they must lose their value when they are designated: rescue

Rescues often put a great deal of money into rescue dogs who need extensive veterinary care or behavioural modification due to abuse and neglect.

According to Ms Lockwood, rescues can’t be trusted with a no dog limit because rescues will hoard animals. Are those who profit off the lives of animals more trustworthy than those driven by a moral code who chose to help animals voluntarily?

Hoarding is a mental health issue — not a rescue issue.

The incidence of hoarding reported by Ms. Lockwood in Fort Erie was an individual who was hoarding 22 cats. She stated all the cats were euthanized by the Fort Erie SPCA due to poor conditions. This is the complete opposite of what rescues do in providing appropriate vet care and proper nutrition to animals who have been neglected or abused. Helping animals is our mantra — not hoarding them.

Rescues take in the animals that would otherwise be euthanized by the Humane Societies and SPCAs; the animals with medical or behavioural issues.

Rescues are not trying to take over. We are a bonus to those who are trying to help animals . We will take the tough cases. These animals are transferred to rescue rather than being euthanized. We aren’t taking away easily adoptable animals and we are saving more souls!


Ms Lockwood said she understood rescues have the best intention, however, she believes rescues work beyond their means (big hearts don’t go with big wallets) leaving the SPCAs to clean up rescue messes.

BCFS operating budget for 2014 was $50,000. The donations were used to care for 18 permanent residents and rescue 44 animals. The SPCA budget for 2014 was over $400,000 and they were unable to tell council how many dogs they re homed in 2014.

BCFS has zero employees — we are 100% volunteer.

BCFS never wanted this to be: us against them. We wanted to work with the Fort Erie SPCA, however, it has become clear that BCFS does not share common ideas or values with the Fort Erie SPCA.

2. Foster fee license to remain at $125. 

Should BCFS foster in 2015 we have to pay $125 for the remaining months of 2015 and then in January of 2016 we have to pay another $125 to help animals.

A kennel license is $125 and comes with no dog limit. Two words: Puppy Mill. Why are people who make money off the lives of animals more trustworthy than a proven Registered Charity Animal Rescue? Do you know how hard it is to get a Charity number from the CRA?

BCFS is providing a free service to the town — except we have to pay to help animals. No other municipality in the Niagara region requires foster homes to pay a fee to rescue. Its absurd to ask people to pay to volunteer.

It is also absurd to allow the Fort Erie SPCA to set the amount of fines they themselves collect. The councillors asked Wendy Trombley, manager of the Fort Erie SPCA if the charge for a rescue license would increase if the dog limit was increased and she said: YES.

When council asked why – Ms Trombley said it would increase her administrative costs for rescues to have more than a few dogs.

3. BCFS will be required to report to the Fort Erie SPCA. 

BCFS will be required to report to the Fort Erie SPCA the names and addresses of  Fort Erie residents who adopt or foster dogs from BCFS. If a dog is adopted or fostered in another city we will not be required to report the names of those families.

dog behind bars

We can’t even begin to describe how this is a violation of privacy and completely segregates Fort Erie Families. If I lived in Fort Erie I wouldn’t adopt a dog from BCFS where my personal information is going to be shared with the Fort Erie SPCA.

It is the responsibility of the adopting family to license the dog, not the rescue or breeder.

4. Alpacas and llamas will be removed from the exotic animals list. 

Both species have been designated regulated livestock, in their own group, under the division which includes sheep and goats, for some time. This is merely a much needed upgrade. 

The final straw

Fort Erie SPCA administration staff carry out euthanizations on animals. This is not done by a vet, nor supervised by a veterinarian. They stated they had “training,” but how would you feel knowing that the person who works the front desk is also the person responsible for euthanizing your dog? 

At the council meeting August 10, 2015 the three representatives of the Fort Erie SPCA (Martha Lockwood, Wendy Trombley and Robin) told stories of how they euthanized each other’s dogs and how Robin euthanized an old cat.

We are merely stating facts. Please listen to the meeting at:

August 10th, 2015 Fort Erie Council Meeting 

Registered Charity Leaves Fort Erie

The Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary Board of Directors has deliberated and discussed the new changes to the bylaws and we’ve come to a heartbreaking decision.

Given the horrific information that came to light at the August 10, 2015 meeting BCFS does not feel comfortable operating in Fort Erie and will seek alternate locations for the future of BCFS.

Added to the BCFS personal experiences is the  story of the OSPCA raiding a rescue where the family dog was euthanized without consent.  OSPCA kills Family Dog of Rescue Group

Their dog was dying of cancer and became very ill in the kennels. We think of our own dog Gus –  Gus would never survive locked in a cage. If this trend continues, SPCA could justify his early demise due to his history.


The Board of Directors is unwilling to risk BCFS animals, or the rescue, by putting ourselves under the control of the Fort Erie SPCA and the current bylaws. It is with great sadness that we announce:

Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary will operate cautiously as a farm animal sanctuary only. We are unable to operate as a companion animal rescue under the current Fort Erie Bylaws.

The only way BCFS would operate in Fort Erie is to be given an exemption from the bylaws. The only people who can give BCFS an exemption are the Fort Erie Town Councillors.

Mayor – W. Redekop
Regional – S. Annunziata
Ward 1 – G. McDermott
Ward 2 – S. Passero
Ward 3 – K. Zanko
Ward 4 – M. Butler
Ward 5 – D. Lubberts
Ward 6 – C. Knutt

On a personal note….. by Amy Bremner 

I want to help animals because I love them and see the love they have to offer. When I see an animal in pain I have a deep visceral reaction that inspires me to help. I believe all dogs are good dogs and that all animals deserve respect and love.

2014 year end

Not a single volunteer at BCFS receives a salary. Most people volunteer because they love and want to help animals.

Volunteers are becoming a very rare breed who should be nurtured and respected. Volunteering time, money, fuel and energy is a wonderful gift that gives back to the community and instils respect in our young people.


I work full time. I don’t need to continue to help animals. I don’t need to keep BCFS going as a form of survival or income. I do it because I love animals and I want to teach the next generation about the importance of loving animals, so that animals continue on the path of having better lives.

furever home tv series teaser puppy mills episode

Never have animals been more in the media. Never have people made such an effort to care about creatures that can do nothing for them, but love.


I will continue to help animals in my own way, in a place I can respect the laws of the land too, and I will continue to educate the next generation.

I will not continue to try and make change in a community which fights so venomously against goodness. I will not waste the remaining years I could dedicate to helping animals trying to change Fort Erie.

I don’t consider it giving up. I consider it moving forward in fulfilling my dream of helping animals.

Thank you to those who have supported me and BCFS. Stay tuned for the future….

Little g Ranch
Little g Ranch

With much love from the farm,

Amy Bremner





17 thoughts on “Fort Erie Animal Bylaws Force Suspension in BCFS Dog Rescue”

  1. I am disgusted at what’s going on.I think this should be in national newspapers .the fact that they euthanized a dog and are not vets or vet tech is a mental health issue. What the hell,as for pure bred being more important that’s pure bullshit I have two rescue mutts I would not want to trade them for the world
    God bless you

    1. People that dedicate their time, money and most importantly their heart to rescuing animals are TRULY animal lovers. BCFS is just that! I believe most of us raise our kids to be caring, loving, helpful human beings, and I find it very disturbing and disappointing that people like BCFS and volunteers are being “bullied” and/or punished for doing what their heart and soul is directing them to do. Fort Erie, YOU should be ashamed of yourselves!

  2. Disgusting. The Fort Erie SPCA and their board of directors needs a huge rake down. Enough of the old boys club. I’m so disgusted with this town for not supporting the BCFS and all they are trying to do. Go ahead town council and put your heads on your pillows at night with the vision of unnecessary euthanized dogs and cats because ms Wendy and her crew at the Fort Erie SPCA can’t stop being bullies and work with a rescue organization. This is exactly why I don’t support the spca and now will not vote any of this council ever again!!!!!@

  3. I am so disgusted and ashamed that you have been treated this way My heart breaks for all the animals that you could have helped ! I do think that people have a right to know what goes on in our spca. Please Don’t let this experience stop you from doing and fighting for these animals ! Because the love you get back is so worth it ! Thank you for all you have done !
    Linda Fincher

  4. Oh Amy, I cannot think that this can be motivated by anything but ENVY and GREED! They have no idea what harm they are doing. What they do know is they cannot give the animals in their institution the same degree daily one on one care and freedom that those at BCFF get. I am so very for all of the animals that will miss out on the very special care given at BCFF during this period.

  5. Bless you for believing in the best that an animal dog or cat can bring into the lives of a human heart. Thanks for trying to protect them. All they need is live and support. Thanks for being there.

  6. I hate the Fort Erie SPCA I had 2 amazing turtles we found in buddies down at a local park and one we had found on the side of central Rd all full of duty and almost dead …. My son who loves turtles brought these turtles home were they were very well taken care of we had the one turtle from the age of abt 2 weeks old till he was almost 3 one of the others for 2 months and the one found on the side of the road sadly did pass away…. But all efforts in a well balanced diet and excersize were met at every stage of there stay here and our oldest boy Waldo was amazing he loved us and we loved him and the SPCA of Fort Erie told me I could do jail time so I reluctantly gave them our babies… They were supposed to contact me back so we knew were they went so we could maybe go see them in there new home and continue our bond we had made … But instead all I got was 2 pricks telling me I don’t know how to care for turtles and there better off with them …. They were vibrant in colour and growing proper and were healthy in all ways ….. The Fort Erie SPCA is a joke and I can’t stand them ….. They also were supposed to put a sign at the local park so that it was tagged for having apparently indangered species ….. 8 months later and nothing put there so my conclusion all just a lie so I’d give up my family pets so they could just kill them or dump them …

  7. I am saddened to hear of your decision to stop rescuing companion animals. As this is exactly what the OSPCA wants. Now that you have, a warning they are going after all types of rescues and small farms. I am afraid you might not be out of danger from them.
    They look at this as a way to make easy money . We are fighting them to get them back and they have hired Ruby-Shiller to fight us at the ACRB this is a first.

    If they ever show up on your doorstep get a witness to record them as well as your vet and a lawyer.

    Good luck,

    Randy Ashworth

  8. I too am disgusted with the actions going on in your locale. So many wrong thoughts going on, it is hard to comment on only just one. I am supporting the horribly wrong seizure of the rescue dogs in the North Bay area and will support you too in whatever way I can. The OSPCA is way out of control! Bless you and know that there are many who will back you for your good deeds.

  9. I am so frustrated, angry and disgusted for what you are going through. But I do think you are right to move on at this point. For your own sanity and the animals you do have. I wish there was something I could do or say from here in Buffalo that would make this transition easier for you. I know it was your dream to rescue companion animals and now you can’t do that. I hope you are able to move on or relocate. My very best to you. I love all you do for the animals. Please take care of yourself.

  10. This such an upsetting story. I have been reading such good things about the renewal of Fort Erie (Bridgeburg) whish makes this story such a heartbreaker. It sounds like and will continue to be the same as when I listened to my parents talking. They always said that the town was being held back by old fashioned thinking politicians. This decision to not support BCFF completely only proves that times have not change. Come on everybody in the town council get behind these folks and bring Fort Erie into the 21st century,
    The Fort Erie SPCA has and always will be a family run make money business, Lets get some new blood in there and then maybe we will see some progress. Take an unscheduled visit and see for yourselves the condition of the place. Would you not want to have a huge acreage instead of a cage while waiting for your forever home.

  11. Tom~Leave it to the Town of Fort Erie, to drive yet another wonderful organization our of town!

    Karen~ I am disgusted and appalled to learn, not only that the BCFS have been driven out of town, but that the SPCA, is given the power they have! I wish BCFS all the best in the future I am sure you will be welcome where ever you end up!!

    Me and Mine will be proudly wearing our BCFS shirts, during the End of Summer Parade!

  12. Most SPCAs and humane societies lost their way when they agreed to take over animal control or pound duties. You cannot protect animals if you are also killing them for profit and convenience. Some branches of OSPCA are really good, but not all. This demonstrates very poor leadership that is out of touch with what Canadians want and deserve.

    Taxpayers ARE funding the OSPCA when they donate, when the SPCA get grants from government or money for providing animal control and sheltering for a city.

    The most popular breed of dog in Canada is “rescued” notes a “Canadian Living” poll, “Canada’s 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds” (comment box won’t let me post link).

    Given this, I firmly believe opinion of Canadians about rescued and shelter animals is same or higher than US poll:

    “The overwhelming majority of Americans — 71 percent — believe that shelters should not be allowed to kill any homeless pets unless they are too sick to be saved or too aggressive to be kept as pets.

    That’s what an Associated Press-Petside poll conducted by GfK Roper found in October when it asked 1,118 people in 50 states to identify which of two statements matched their own view.

    Seventy-one percent said they believed “Animal shelters should only be allowed to euthanize animals when they are too sick to be treated or too aggressive to be adopted.”

    Only 25 percent believed “Sometimes animal shelters should be allowed to euthanize animals as a necessary way of controlling the population of animals.”
    – From “We are the 71 percent”
    – doggedblog (.) com

    Shelters/SPCAs should work WITH rescues!
    They should help put all necessary proven life saving programs and services.

    These are mandatory parts of the comprehensive solution endorsed by Ontario No Kill Advocates for Companion Animals as well as the Nova Scotia SPCA.

    Free resource ‘tools’ for getting there include Prepare, Educate, Fight, Win – from the No Kill Advocacy Center

    “Allegations of the OSPCA abusing the power granted to it under the Act have been publicly made by many…” Some refporms to “Act” recommended by Animal Justice Canada [but not comprehensive enough for reform] – from “ OSPCA Act: A Better Way Forward” 

    “The OSPCA Act legislates an inherent conflict of interest by mandating the OSPCA’s investigatory/enforcement function without establishing independent oversight of the OSPCA, which also carries out sheltering services. The OSPCA Act exempts industry practice from compliance with the prohibition on causing or permitting an animal to be in distress, as well as the Standards of Care prescribed through Regulation. The OSPCA Act prevents animals subject to redemption periods from receiving adequate and appropriate medical care. There are no current minimum standards of care specifically directed at animals in the shelter environment, or marine mammals who are held in captivity.”

  13. I am a professional artist and would like to help. I’m disabled, so volunteering isn’t really an option. I can provide artwork or jewellery for auctions if that might help you.
    Never give up!

  14. What gets me going is the fact that government run animal shelter s keep the animals so many days before deeming it unadoptible then putting it down rescues on the other hand keep them until they are at a good home that why I appreciate the work rescues are doing over government run shelters for the rescues out there keep up your good work the animals benefit more from it

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