A day or two after reporting in the Straight, via Eargoggles' Clayton Holmes, that the proceeds for DVD sales for The Rebel Spell would go to A Better Life dog rescue, I encountered troubling news stories online that the people who run this rescue operation were supposedly breaking into private residences to liberate dogs who were being "abused" (by the standards of A Better Life, anyhow), then re-selling the pets. This is something the RCMP allege that A Better Life are doing for profit - something the founder, one Jan Olson, and her partner deny. Without any evidence one way or the other, I'm willing to believe their denial, actually - this sort of action seems far more likely to stem from idealism (and maybe a bit of a vigilante streak) than the profit motive - but I'm still troubled, particularly in discovering that this is a controversy that has followed the group for some time; here's another story, from 2009. Personally, I don't really like the idea of any private group - people with no public oversight, accountable only to their own consciences - breaking into private property for any reason, let alone to take things and redistribute them (...and this applies whether we regard a pet as property or not). Unless they have a pretty damn good moral justification for taking such an action, this is stepping wayyy too far outside the rule of law for my tastes; between pets being left alone for a few hours and people breaking into homes and yards, I have a pretty clear moral sense of what the greater evil is. And the whole "report abuse" function on their website seems a little too Stalinist, a little too open to abuse in its own right... I actually have no pets of my own precisely BECAUSE I would consider it wrong to leave them alone for long periods, as I would be obliged to do; but that doesn't mean I think that everyone should be made to follow that rule, under the penalty of vigilante action.
So I guess I won't be buying this DVD by The Rebel Spell. Bummer, I would have liked to have seen it.