Ciaron Lewis: Punk rocker, animal activist

When you look at Ciaron Lewis’ Facebook, half of the photos are pictures of him with dogs. The other half feature him playing guitar in his punk band Neighbourhood Watch.

The 53-year-old Fredericton man decided to combine both of his interests with Punks 4 Paws, a fundraiser for SPCAs in New Brunswick.

This is the third year Ciaron has put on the event.

“They like the community activism — it’s not really activism, it’s more what I call making bad life decisions for a good cause.”

Each year, bands from across the Maritimes volunteer their time in Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton. All proceeds go directly to help fund operation costs of local SPCAs.

This year’s acts included Snap! Burlesque and bands Piss Horse, Small Package and the Helfiends.

The Fredericton show raised 800$ this year.

Lewis’ love for animals didn’t start in Fredericton. He’s been doing rescue work for years, even in Mexico in 2005. He worked with the Quintana Roo SPCA in the town of Playa del Carmen rehabilitating street dogs.

Hindawi, a research paper database website, said 7,000 stray dogs die in Mexico each year due to effects of overpopulation.

“That was a big eye-opener for me, because it wasn’t like [Canada], it was a quite desperate environment for animals,” said Lewis.

Lewis then returned to Ontario, working with families and advocacy groups who were trying to fight against discriminatory breed-specific laws in Ontario.

“At that point, I was rescuing people too,” said Lewis, describing the many cases where pitbulls have been seized, and families needing legal help to return them.

In 2015 he returned to Fredericton, with helping animals and people still on his mind.

He decided to combine his passions, which led to the birth of Punks 4 Paws.

Lewis said the punk community welcomed the concept, with bands willing to travel to Fredericton to support the cause.

Lewis estimated that last year the event raised $5,000 between Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John.

He said donations increase each year. Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John continue to compete to see which region recieves the most donations.

He said the Fredericton SPCA expressed their gratefulness for the donations offered to them.

Lewis said the punk scene is one big community, emphasizing that everyone is welcome to enjoy the music being offered, and to support an excellent cause.

“Regardless of the genre you play, we’re all one big happy family here, and we all support each other.”

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