Community Assistance and Support Programs

The Regional Animal Protection Society recognizes that animals make our lives, families, neighbourhoods and communities safer, healthier and happier.

We also recognize that caring for animals means caring for their guardians, too. People with companion animals often need support in delivering the best loving care possible for their pets. In 2018, RAPS opened the RAPS Animal Hospital, a not-for-profit, community-owned veterinary facility. The hospital’s bottom line is not profit — it is saving and improving the lives of as many animals as possible.

This hospital, which eliminates the profit motive from veterinary care, is foundational to our belief that caring for animals demands that we also care for the people who care for them. As a result of this new facility, we have been able to exponentially increase the amount of veterinary care we provide to the community.

The programs listed below are specifically for general community benefit and are not direct subsidies to any individuals. If you are looking for information on RAPS Animal Hospital subsidies, discounts and interest-free payment plans, please visit


Spay and Neuter Programs

We deliver spay and neuter programs to animals in the community, including feral and stray animals who have been trapped by our organization or partner agencies. Worth thousands of dollars each year in community assistance, these programs not only provide affordable and humane treatment for the animals being spayed and neutered, they also reduce the environmental impacts of cat, dog and rabbit overpopulation.

Strengthening other Rescues

We have been able to bring animals from rescue agencies throughout the province to our facilities to provide veterinary care of the highest quality, while also fostering, sheltering and homing animals from rescue situations.

Support for Vulnerable Households

We deliver services to people who are in transitional housing, including those who have been at risk of homelessness or who are experiencing domestic violence.

The vast majority of emergency shelters in Canada do not accept pets. We provide compassionate boarding for companion animals of people who are in such housing situations.

Those facilities that do accept pets have requirements for up-to-date vaccinations and other veterinary health standards that people with low or no incomes are unable to afford. In these instances, we have been able to ensure that companion animals meet the health requirements of the facilities (such as vaccinations and up-to-date records) so that these individuals are able to remain united with their companion animals, who are often their most significant social relationship.

Surge in Surrenders

The COVID pandemic brought significant challenges to every person and every organization in the world. As we emerge from the depths of this unprecedented time, indications are that many of the pets who were adopted while families were confined to their homes during the pandemic are being, or will be, surrendered because they no longer suit the usual lifestyles to which we are returning.

We foresee severe strains on all animal-serving organizations as this unfortunate trend proceeds. With our not-for-profit hospital, combined with our RAPS Cat Sanctuary, RAPS Adoption Centre, our fostering network and our in-development RAPS Dog Sanctuary, we will be in a position to help animals in our immediate community and those who are in the care of other rescue organizations across British Columbia.

Pet Food Bank

While the creation of the RAPS Animal Hospital was a turning point in our organization’s history, it represents a continuation of a commitment to animals … and their people. Our long-standing Pet Food Bank is a no-questions-asked source for healthy, nutritious pet food so that no household ever has to make a choice between feeding themselves or feeding their pets.

Broad Community Benefits

  • Enhanced inter-species understanding and relationships
  • Recreation, rehabilitation and socialization for people of all ages and abilities
  • Meaningful volunteer experiences
  • Environmental and economic benefits from recycling economy

These are examples of the programs we deliver that provide direct community assistance to animals and people. However, everything we do is about building community and recognizing the symbiotic and magnificent relationship between species.

While the RAPS Cat Sanctuary exists as a loving, forever home for cats who would have faced euthanasia in other jurisdictions — a “Kitty Club Med” — it plays another role, too. Visiting the cat sanctuary is a family tradition for hundreds of Metro Vancouver households. For those whose housing situation, allergies or other issues do not permit them to have companion animals at home, this weekly visit is an opportunity to bond and benefit from interaction with the hundreds of cats in our care.

The sanctuary is also a destination for individuals and groups with special needs, providing a meaningful, enjoyable and enriching opportunity for young people, seniors and those of all ages to interact with animals. This can be a simple socialization visit or part of a larger rehabilitation regime. Regardless, the cat sanctuary is a destination for people of every demographic and difference.

Likewise, the hundreds of volunteers who allow the Regional Animal Protection Society to deliver individualized care to the hundreds of animals in our facilities benefit as much as the animals they care for. For so many of our devoted volunteers, from teenagers to seniors, the time spent doing the glamorous work of feeding the animals, cleaning their shelters or scooping litter boxes is a time of meaning and joy.

Support for these Programs

Support for these community assistance programs is provided by numerous donors, sponsors, grantors and community partners.

We acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia.

Additionally, revenues from our RAPS Thrift Stores support these programs as part of a holistic vision of caring for animals and people. Unlike many thrift stores, which operate on a for-profit model, 100% of revenues from the three RAPS Thrift Stores go directly into programs and services for the animals. Not only do the animals benefit from this, but the clientele is able to access quality clothing, housewares and a huge variety of consumer goods at extraordinarily low prices. Young volunteers gain valuable retail sales and management experience. The cherry on top of all the benefits of the thrift stores is the environmental impact of recycling and upcycling discarded, quality consumer goods.

You can find out more about RAPS Thrift Stores here.