Rescue Journal

some things are gifts and some wonderful gifts turn around and just scare the shit out of you.

Carol  ·  May 1, 2009

the cbc national piece literally pulled our ass out of the fire...$12,000 in donations put directly towards our ever growing vet bills.

but it did something else made us known in our community where before we weren't really known because i have been trying to keep a fairly low profile around here.

why is that you ask?...because we are not legal. this property is only zoned for a hobby kennel use...there are some pretty strict the numbers of dogs we can house. i didn't look for a commercial kennel property for 2, there is no way i could afford what we needed and two because in commercial facilities you have to house the dogs in commercial, cement and chain link kennel facilities...not nice for elderly and sick dogs to live in there.

so i took a risk based on 2 innocent belief that i could keep the numbers of dogs to within a reasonable distance of the actual numbers allowed. like maybe 4 or 6 over...but not 3 times the amount. and my belief that at some point, something would happen that allowed us to move one more time to a home that could accept the reaity in numbers needing sanctuary care from a society that really just didn't think they deserved what they do.

it is not working out that way.

yesterday i got a call saying that since we are now here and the city now knows what we are up to...i need to fill out the applications for a kennel permit and today renee said one of the neighbors (she doesn't know who) was yelling at her in the bottom field that we have too many dogs and he was close on the numbers which means he saw the national piece too....and the rock bottom truth is...that yes we do have too many dogs.

there is the legal side of which quite honestly, we are royally screwed...the law is the law and i know what the law says so i can't pretend ignorance there.

and there is the moral side of this...that there are 25 senior and special needs dogs who value their lives here, who are finally after a lifetime of uncertainty, getting the care, respect and the comittment that they were entitled to from the moment of their birth.

and in the middle of this is me...close to tears on my birthday because i am so afraid of what is coming and if i can protect them all.

day one of 51 sucks...i would like to go back a year before anyone of importance knew we were here and what we were doing..back to a time when it was little less scary and uncertain than it is today.



Carol, I used to be a Land Use Planner and I agree that sitting down with the municipality is the best way to go. I also like the idea of proposing a new zoning/land use category of a sanctuary.

Do not worry. If need be, the municipality that has authority over your area can be inundated with letters of support from the US. You have plenty of supporters from all over.

Please let us know how we can help. In the meantime, take care of yourself.

Beverley Wristen

May God Bless you Carol and all of the wonderful animals there. I feel like crying because this is so unfair. It seems to be quite alright with the city when my small dog is attacked twice by bigger dogs but not alright because you give ailing senior animals a dignified and happy home when noone else wants them. Maybe the mayor of Mission needs to come out and visit saints and get a good look at all the good things that are being done for your SAINTS. I am praying really hard that this all works out for you and Frank and I would be more than willing to attend any coincil meeting about this should the need arise and also sign any petitions. Please dear God keep this dear place open as the ones who know this home need it as they have no place else to go. We love you Carol and all of your dear saints, each and every one. Love, Frank&Beverley


thx for the info jean...i am and have been well aware of the legalities and our obligations to our neighbors from the beginning...they have been very kind and understanding. and i am sure the board is quite well aware of their obligations also, but like me, they also have a very soft heart for the animals who come here and so it is hard for all of us to simply stick to the rules.


Oops, we posted at the same time. Just to clarify for readers - a hobby kennel licence (is that what you are applying for, Carol?) doesn't require 4.4 acres. It requires only .88 acres, but allows a maximum of 8 dogs - who can live the way the Saints dogs do, without concrete and wire runs.


Barbara's suggestion that you approach council for a new category called "sanctuary" is an excellent idea.

Applying for rezoning in order to be eligible for a kennel license (for which one needs 4.4 acres in Mission) doesn't help because you would also need to change the kennel regulations (as you pointed out - seperate wire and concrete runs for each dog) which are pretty standard across municipalities in BC.

I believe that any application for variance (and, I'm guessing, to be zoned for sanctuaries if such a category were to be developed) requires the signatures of a certain percent of your neighbours within a certain area - not sure of the details, but I recall having to sign on a neighbour's request for variance.

The neighbours, after all, have some rights too - and 25-30 dogs (plus many other animals) on about 3 acres would likely be an issue in more than one neighbourhood, no matter how well intentioned.

BTW, it is the responsibility of the Board of any registered charity to ensure that the organization abides by the bylaws of the municipality....that is one of their primary responsibilities. So perhaps your board could take on this battle to keep Saints within the bylaws or to get the bylaws amended.


i went to the city, asked for the applications...immediately they asked if i was carol? and they were so very kind and compassionate.
the application is filled out and handed in and i am hoping to arrange for an inspection as early as can be. while my natural fearful inclination is to hide dogs...i have decided not to do this. we will do this completely above board and honestly and then deal with whatever it is that we will have to deal with.

the animals currently at saints (and the 2 incoming that i already have committed to) are not under any personal risk. the city will not make us "get rid of" (cuz where will they go, this is the end of the line anyway) or euthanize in order to comply to the rules. they will work with us to find a solution that is a time line to comply. lets face it, a dozen of the dogs currently here will reach the end of their natural life before the end of the year.

so i will try not to worry, you try not to worry...i think we have enough good karma to find a way thru this newest the city folks are REALLY nice (and not scary) too.


I will attend a council meeting in support of SAINTS if it comes down to that - hopefully it won't. I work for a local municipality and agree with Barbara; try to sit down with someone who you can work with from the City to come to a resolution.
Good luck!


I feel like you need this any day but especially now that you are not feeling well! and your bday to boot. I will do anything to help out. Remortgage my place to help fund another site, protest, call radio and tv stations until they listen, My heart goes out to you Carol... be well.


I am very sorry to hear this.

One can hope that logic and compassion will win in the end. SAINTS is a wonderful place and the animals need every wonderful place they can get as our society allows too many of them to die way before their time as it is.

If you end up needing community support via petitions, protests, attending of Council meetings etc, email me as we will get a brigade of animal-loving peopple who will support SAINTS' efforts to obtain a kennel license / zoning changes.

If there are other ways we may be able to help, please let us know.

Positive vibes and hopeful prayers sent your way.

Barbara DeMott

Hi Carol,
My advice is to take the bull by the horns and confront the city to see what they want and develop a solution together. If you let it downgrade to a neighbor calling the by-law officer situation, you will be in an adversary position that will have a bad outcome. The city official wants to look good so find a solution that makes them look compassionate but also like they are doing their job ( perhaps a new zoning category that is not a kennel but a sanctuary). You might also go back to CBC to televise a further documentary on the troubles you are having-the city official would not like to look bad on national TV. Or an interview on radio...


Carol, this is heartbreaking and so very typical of our society. Here you are sacrificing everything to enable these animals to have the caring home they never knew and you are being punished for it. I can't tell you how incensed these sorts of situations make me.

And it is true that publicity is a double-edged sword. Either people find out about you and want to give up their animals to you or you have too many people sticking their noses in where they don't belong.

Perhaps the National could do ANOTHER piece on what you are now facing to illustrate to Canadians what certain laws actually mean in practice. Or perhaps writing letters to your local lawmakers would help?

It would be an absolute tragedy if this CBC piece led to the dismantling of SAINTS. Please let your supporters know if there is anything we can do.


Carol, if push comes to shove, there are a ton of us who will help you fight every step of the way. You are not running a kennel, you are running a home!

Pat Jones

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAROL Hopefully things will work out in
your favor. You do such good work I think that will
show for you.Here,s Wishing you all the BEST.
I vote everyday for you. Pat