Hundreds of pet owners and animal lovers packed the front lawn of Campbell River's city hall on Wednesday to protest a council decision that led to the SPCA leaving the city last weekend.

Hundreds protest SPCA’s demise in Campbell River

More than 400 people gave up their lunch hour on Wednesday to let city council know they're unhappy

There was no mistaking it, the front yard of city hall smelled like dog poop.

The real “stink” though was raised by hundreds of animal supporters – many with their pet dogs – who gave up their lunch hours Wednesday to let city council know they want their much-loved SPCA back.

“I have been a veterinarian for 23 years, and have lived in many communities, and I can say without any hesitation that our Campbell River SPCA has been the best run and most efficient organization that I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with,” said Dr. Helen Kwong of the Merecroft Veterinary Clinic.

Last Saturday, about 50 people showed up at the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) branch for an emotional farewell as staff moved out of the small shelter after nearly 30 decades of service.

Coastal Animal Control Services, a private contractor, took over pound and animal control duties on Monday.

On Wednesday though, in a much bigger rally of support for the SPCA, approximately 400 people – along with many pet rescue dogs – showed up on the front hall of city hall, demanding accountability.

“We want council! We want council!” they chanted over and over.

But not a single councillor showed up to speak and, when last seen, Mayor Walter Jakeway was at 2nd Avenue and Cedar Street, hovering over the free goodies provided by the health authority to announce construction of the new hospital.

“How can Coastal Animal Control do the job at half the price? Simple answer is, they can’t,” said Dr. Kwong. “The B.C. SPCA is so much more than animal control…in the words of the great Gandhi, ‘the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated’.”

Another woman, one of many speakers who voiced their continued support for the SPCA, summed up the feelings of many who attended the rally, “I’m so heart-broken. I just want them back.”