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Statement from the Board and CEO of the Regional Animal Protection Society

The RAPS team wishes to clarify issues surrounding the case of Rhoda, a dog that we have undertaken to assist in obtaining life-saving heart surgery.

First, we wish to apologize unequivocally to Rhoda’s family, especially Robyn, as well as to our entire community. This matter could have and should have been handled much better. Stress and anxiety, instead, surrounded this case and for this we are deeply sorry.

Here was our intention: Around Giving Tuesday, and with the added burden of the pandemic affecting so many families, the RAPS Animal Hospital offered to fund veterinary services for one family per week in the month of December. One of those families included Rhoda. On examination, it was discovered that she required a pacemaker. Our commitment to the recipients of our offer was to cover in-house services at the RAPS Animal Hospital. Rhoda’s heart surgery is a specialized operation available only at Canada West Veterinary Specialists. While we provided Rhoda with complimentary care at our facility, the heart surgery is estimated to cost between $10,000 and $15,000. Because this was obviously not a procedure we could do in-house, we undertook to raise the funds required. With the support of Rhoda’s family and many people in the community, we appealed for funds. To date, $5,500 has been raised.

We attempted to be transparent with our online communications by posting that the funds would be redirected if adequate funds were not raised, any residual monies would be used to care for other animals in need at RAPS. RAPS does this with all such fundraising activities because CRA does not allow for the refund of donations and monies therefore must be directed to other charity programs of the designated agency.

The family has said that we have not been clear in our communications around the amount of money raised and, while we have different recollections of telephone conversations, we accept that our communications could have been more responsive. We are sorry for the way we handled this matter and we hope we can make it up to the community by being more responsive and doing things better in the future.

The most important issue we are discussing here is the life and health of Rhoda. We have consulted with the Canada Revenue Agency and we are taking the following steps.

Under CRA legislation, RAPS cannot refund the donations made. Therefore, all funds raised on behalf of Rhoda are being transferred to Boundary Bay Hospital in trust for Rhoda’s care. We urge the community to come together and raise the additional funds required for this urgent procedure at (604) 514-8383. We appeal to the community to make the donations directly with Boundary Bay Hospital in the account designated for Rhoda (which will not be tax receipted for CRA purposes because the donations will not be processed through a charity).

Our organization has learnt from this matter and we are committed to doing better.

Over the recent past, RAPS has assisted over 8,000 people in the community with our outreach programs, we have provided over 2,100 animals and their parents with medical veterinarian subsidies in the amount of $2.5 million at the not-for-profit RAPS Animal Hospital. We have made important agreements and partnerships with organizations that represent the most vulnerable people in our society needing RAPS’ assistance and we have helped more than a dozen other animal rescue organizations in BC with assistance at the RAPS Animal Hospital.

RAPS is a beloved community asset and we trust that our supporters and friends will accept that we made a mistake in our handling of this matter. Over 25 years, we have saved and improved the lives of tens of thousands of animals. In this instance, we disappointed our friends and ourselves. We will do better. And we are sorry.