PANEL: What If We Are Not Sheltering Animals Anymore?

SUNDAY, APRIL 9, 10:30AM-12:00PM

Geoff Urton, Senior Manager, Stakeholder Relations, British Columbia SPCA
Craig Naherniak, GM, Humane Education, BC SPCA
Roger Haston, Chief Administrative Officer, Petsmart Charities 

Just like your favourite book, all good things must come to an end. This provocative workshop promises to quicken your pulse by posing the provocative question:

Could it be time to close the sheltering chapter of North America’s animal protection history?

Our panel will provide data that demonstrates the Canadian unwanted pet problem could be eliminated in merely a decade through aggressive targeted spay/neuter initiatives.

But only by getting one critical person out of the way first: the protagonist in our story who is deeply attached to their identity as animal rescuer. The protagonist won’t let us achieve this victory and finish the story. Why? Because their very life is at stake! If the story ends, so do they.

In this presentation, participants will be asked to consider how they have been playing the protagonist in the story of animal sheltering. The panelists will offer their own new narratives for the animal protection movement, and invite them from the audience, to write a new story for our movement where even greater things can be accomplished for animals.

Join this workshop to discover for yourself what could be possible.

Three Key Learnings:
1. How we can eliminate unwanted pet problem in a decade
2. The role of targeted spay/neuter initiatives
3. Are we helping or hindering the process?


In every aspect of his life, Geoff Urton is committed to drawing out the best from others. It is through this ethos and a no bullsh*t approach to seeking common ground, that he has facilitated agreement between diverse stakeholders at the community and international levels.

Geoff has applied his background in Animal Welfare Science (UBC) and Dialogue and Negotiation (SFU) to create an innovative and evidence-based public policy approach that has altered the animal welfare landscape in Canada.

At the BC SPCA, he is honoured to have led a team of professionals with diverse backgrounds to the forefront of the animal welfare movement. His team has driven numerous landmark policy reforms, including phase-outs of barren cages for hens and gestation stalls for pigs, and regulations for BC’s dog and cat breeding industry.

At home, Geoff can be found telling completely made-up tales of heroism to his generous wife, Lise, and their two boys – or being walked by their determined tripod pup, Finn.

Other speaker bios coming soon!