We are called Catspan Society. We are the original and legal Catspan. We are a non profit registered Society in BC and a CRA approved regstered charity. The other group goes by several names, most recently "catspan ferals registered charity" who are not a registered non profit in BC and are an unincorporated entity without provincial government oversight.
In the late 1990's a group of Nanoose residents began paying to feed and spay a feral cat colony, and this group was led by our Liv Kennedy who in fact founded the local rescue effort. In 2004 the group "Catspan" was created. Catspan fed colonies until 2014.
At that time there became a deep and unpleasent rift in the Board of Catspan. Our directors wanted to stop the euthanization of asymptomic cats on the basis of an inacurrate failed SNAP tests, and we wanted to cancel the Barn Program that was experiening a 35% loss among relocated feral cats, and we wanted to support a local business in Parksville. Because of that, one director tried to *unelect* our directors without consent of the membership. This was remarkably unwise, and resulted in backlash by the members who wanted our societies directors to stay. This resulted in the directors who tried to remove others of the Board resigning in disgrace after the unpopular attempt the unpopular attempt
Only one board member did not resign. That person, ( our current executive director) and the sole remaining Trustee of Catspan- appointed a new board under the Trustee Act of BC and scheduled an AGM to elect new trustees. The AGM was held, and the membership voted unanimously to form a registered society, to protect our donors, the public, and to ensure order and structure and transparacy that the unicorporated Catspan lacked. Catspan then officially and legally became "Catspan Society" that for the first time had enforceable rules that governed the conduct of the group.
What we did not forsee, was that a small residual group ( still unincorporated and would call itself various names) would reappear sometime later, and refuse to relinquish all our funds, all our documents, our facilities or our name. That group is the incarnation now known as " Catspan ferals Registered Charity" . They change their name every year or two.
We were left with the unpleasent choice of taking legal action, and we retained a lawyer who confirmed in writing that our Trustee who had not resigned was the legal owner of all Catspan's assets. We were awarded a court order to examine the financial records.
Ultimately we chose to focus on the need of the community's forgotten cats, and walk away from the many donations our members raised for the beachcomber relocation project.
The residual group that resurfaced after the 2015 dissolution of Catspan ( now known as "catspan ferals registered charity" ) has placed on their a webiste some statements that imply a negative and false portrayal of our Society. Contrary to what they say:
1) We have the legal right to use the name " "Catspan" and the registrar of BC has designated us with that name and so has Revenue Canada.
2) The dissolution of catspan is not "recent" it occured in 2015.
3) The membership list is not "theirs" it is
ours. Our directors are the founding members of the group that started in 2004. Our TNR director began feeding feral cats before 2004 with Liv Kennedy.
4) We are not a "splinter group". Our society is the legal continuation of Catspan when it failed in 2015. ( Please see legal brief below) Our executive director is the only trustee who did not abandon the group or the cats or the public. She transformed the group into a registered non profit that had legally enforceable rules unlike the ad hoc unicorporated entity that preceded it. Our Society did not create confusion as they allege, we are the result of ending confusion.
5) IT WAS IN FACT LIV KENNEDY WHO FOUNDED
CATSPAN, AND OUR TNR DIRECTOR PICKED THE NAME IN A DOCUMENTED MEETING PRIOR TO APRIL 2004 ( THE ORIGINAL RECORD IS AVAILABLE FOR THE PUBLIC)
We made the difficult decision to re register the society with CRA rather than enter a wastful and protracted legal dispute with the residual group. That is the only reason they appear to be registered before us.
But now, Members have the right to see financial records previously held by a select few. They now have voting rights, the duties and roles of directors are defined in bylaws recognized by the Province of BC. Our records are not kept by a select few and are shared with all members under the laws of BC. Elected directors now cannot be summarily dismissed against the will of the membership.
We did not wish to have to respond to the behaviour of another group this way, but we feel the public has a right to know the truth. The legal opinion below clearly shows that our Executive Director Ms Seeley was the sole trustee and legal possessor of all Catspan's assets and lists and funds etc when "Catspan" dissolved after the Board resigned under pressure from members. It clearly shows the residual group and their hasty AGM was illegal and a nullity.
Ms Seeley is now the Executive Director of Catspan Society