News reports in Mexico say Lynn Earle, 60, was found stabbed to death in her home in Playa del Carmen earlier this week.
She retired from the West Vancouver Police Department in 1996.
Friend Lisa Edwards said Earle had a gigantic heart for humans and animals, and spent several years working with animal rescue agencies in Mexico.
"She was warm, loving, hilarious, generous, vivacious, dynamic and fun-loving," Edwards said in a statement Friday. "She would do absolutely anything to help a friend in need, an animal in need or a stranger in need."
Edwards said Earle, divorced with one child, loved living in the country and felt at peace in Mexico, her home for the last 10 or 12 years.
The two women had worked together for five years helping animals in that country.
"We volunteered together for spay and neuter campaigns in Mexico ... and she was a great helper and friend to our sanctuary in Cancun, too, always giving of her time whenever we needed help and she loved to help out.
"She volunteered for various animal rescues in our area, doing whatever needed to be done, and giving fully and graciously of her time and substantial energy."
The West Vancouver police issued a news release expressing condolences to Earle's family.
It said she worked her way through the ranks, first serving as a civilian employee, then a bylaw officer before spending three years as a patrol constable.
Earle touched many Americans and Canadians, who got to know her through the Mexican animals clinics where they came to help out, said Edwards.
"Her loss will be felt by many people all over. We are all just devastated at the senseless crime and tragic loss of our friend."
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