Alberta

Reporting

Within Edmonton:

Call the City of Edmonton (311 in Edmonton, or 780-442-5311 from outside Edmonton). More information is available here.

Or call the Edmonton Police (780-423-4567; #377 from mobile)

Within Calgary

Call the Calgary Humane Society (403-205-4455), or report online. More information is available here.

Or call the Calgary Police Service (403-266-1234).

To report suspected (companion and livestock) animal cruelty or neglect outside of Edmonton or Calgary, call the province’s Animal Distress Line (1-800-455-9003) which is housed at the Alberta SPCA.

Investigations & Enforcement

Up until 2019, the Edmonton Humane Society was responsible for animal cruelty protection. Peace officers with the City of Edmonton took over enforcement of the APA in February 2019. There are four full time officers and one sergeant on the animal protection team. General duty officers can provide support if needed (such as for seizures of many animals). The officers are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

In both Edmonton and Calgary, there are dedicated but informal partnerships among law enforcement officers across agencies who have prioritized animal cruelty.

The RCMP, municipal police, and peace officers appointed under the Peace Officer Act can also investigate suspected cruelty and enforce the Animal Protection Act.

An animal-specific team of provincially appointed peace officers is employed by the Calgary Humane Society. The Calgary Humane Society relies on private donations and fundraising, including for the funding of animal cruelty and welfare investigations.

An animal-specific team of provincially appointed peace officers is employed by the Alberta SPCA.

The Alberta SPCA employs twelve peace officers with authority to enforce the Animal Protection Act, serving Alberta outside the major centres of Edmonton and Calgary.

The Alberta SPCA receives an annual grant ($1,133.460.00) from the government of Alberta, through the Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry, in support of its animal protection services. Given the grant does not cover the full cost of the Animal Protection Services (APS) department, the Alberta SPCA relies heavily on fund raising to bridge the gap between the grant received and actual cost of the program, as well as other departments (such as Education and One Family Welfare), in support of its animal welfare mandate.

Data

 A table with three columns outlining data from the Calgary Humane Society’s Animal Cruelty Statistics between 2015 and 2019.  Row one: 2015. Total cases investigated: 1419. Results / Breakdown of investigations: 2496 seized animals, 43 individuals charged.  Row two: 2016. Total cases investigated: 1215. Result / Breakdown of Investigations: Medical neglect accounted for 20.6% of the investigations, 659 seized animals, 45 individuals charged.  Row three: 2017. Total cases investigated: 1075. Result / Breakdown of investigations: 435 seized animals, 31individuals charged. Row four: 2018. Total cases investigated: 1059. Result / breakdown of investigations: 557 seized animals, 39 individuals charged. Row five: 2019. Total cases investigated: 1093. Result / breakdown of investigations: 496 seized animals, 44 individuals charged, medical neglect up 20%.

Data supplied by the Calgary Humane Society 

A table with three columns outlining data from Alberta’s SPCA Animal Protection Services between 2015 and 2019.  Row one: 2015. Total cases investigated: 2236. Result / breakdown of investigations: 16 files resulting in prosecution. Row two: 2016. Total cases investigated: 2201. Result / breakdown of investigations: 19 files resulting in prosecution.  Row three: 2017. Total cases investigated: 2293. Result / breakdown of investigations: 13 files resulting in prosecution.  Row four: 2018. Total cases investigated: 2291. Result / breakdown of investigations: 24 files resulting in prosecution.  Row five: 2019. Total cases investigated: 2341. Result / breakdown of investigations: 14 files resulting in prosecution.

Data supplied by the Alberta SPCA

A table with three columns outlining data from the City of Edmonton Animal Protection Statistics from 2019 to 2020.  Number of complaints received / files investigated for 2019. January: 25; February: 299; March: 97; April: 106; May: 151; June: 152; July: 210; August: 156; September: 195; October: 144; November: 114; December: 123.   Number of complaints received / files investigated for 2020.  January: 216; February: 156; March: 111; April: 55; May: 93; June: 127; July: 121; August: 30 (Data up to August 5th)

Data supplied by the City of Edmonton

An orange cat with a mix of white and dark brown stripes on its head.

Forensic Veterinarians

Margaret Doyle (DVM) is a veterinarian with significant forensic training and experience who works at Riverbend Animal Hospital in Calgary. Dr. Doyle has a Master’s degree in veterinary forensics from the University of Florida. Dr. Doyle works with the police on a dedicated informal anti-cruelty team, made up of Calgary Humane Society peace officers and a Calgary Police liaison officer, and four crown prosecutors.

Dr. Nick Nation is a veterinary pathologist who supports law enforcement and cruelty investigations.

The RCMP has three forensic laboratories in (Vancouver, Ottawa, and Edmonton). The Forensic Science and Identification Services (FS&IS) offered at these laboratories assist with criminal investigations. These services are intended for humans, but given the human-animal violence link and other crimes against animals, they could be enlisted for cases involving other species.

The Alberta SPCA has utilized a multitude of programs in support of their prosecutions. Peace Officers (previously special constables), historically sent animal tissue samples to the OS Longman Laboratory which is run by the province’s Department of Agriculture Dr. Nick Nation conducted postmortems and provided his expertise in evaluating samples. When this was no longer available to the Alberta SPCA, their peace officers utilized private labs and on a limited basis with the Airdrie Provincial Laboratory. Officers currently work with the University of Calgary in support of this work.

With respect to farmed animals, the Alberta SPCA currently works with large animal practitioners who may conduct a field necropsy (completed under the protection of a search warrant) with the removal of samples sent for pathology (e.g. bone marrow analysis). Further, investigators often secure experts in pasture and forage analysis, and will work with experts in the analysis of feed.

Lawyers

Gordon Haight - Crown Prosecutor, Alberta (Calgary)
    • Developed Alberta’s first animal cruelty portfolio in Calgary more than 20 years ago
    • Has presented at forensics and animal welfare conferences over the years
Rosalind Greenwood - Crown Prosecutor, Alberta (Calgary)
    • Prosecuting animal cruelty files for nearly 10 years
    • Has presented at forensic and National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty conferences
Matt Dalidowicz - Crown Prosecutor, Alberta (Calgary)
    • Prosecuting animal cruelty files for nearly 10 years
Christian Lim - Crown Prosecutor, Alberta (Edmonton)
  • Has worked as a Crown Prosecutor for the Alberta Crown Prosecution Services.
  • Has followed Haight’s lead in Calgary and started Edmonton’s Animal Protection Portfolio in 2010. He has worked on a variety of cases including homicide, sexual assaults, domestic violence and animal cruelty prosecutions. He has spoken at the National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty multiple times. In 2019, his presentation was titled “Best Practices in Charging Decisions”.

 

Mandy MacLeod - Family Protection Prosecutor, Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (Edmonton)

Specializes in family protection law including the prosecution of the abuse of intimate partners, children, the elderly, and animals. She has a Ted Talk titled: Protect Pets, Protect Families: Time for Legal Change. She is a frequent presenter at the Canadian Violence Link Coalition Conference and the Canadian Animal Cruelty Prosecution Conference.

Alberta SPCA Prosecutions

Prosecutions occur in the courthouse nearest to where the offense took place. The Alberta SPCA works with multiple Crowns across the province, given the agency’s area of work is outside the major centres of Edmonton and Calgary.

Human-Animal Wellbeing and Supports

The Calgary Humane Society’s ‘Emergency Boarding’ program offers temporary short-term boarding for those experiencing crisis. In addition to daily care, animals also receive preventative veterinary care (i.e., vaccinations, medication, spay/neuter, etc.) upon arrival to program. Clients must be referred by a service agency or professional (e.g. social worker, police officer, EMS).

    Calgary Humane Society’s ‘Pet Safekeeping’ Program

    Calgary Humane Society’s ‘Pet Safekeeping’ program offers complimentary boarding (see above) for victims fleeing domestic violence. It involves the same referral requirements.

    With the help of community partners, the Alberta SPCA’s ‘Help for Animals’ program provides any food to any type of pet to pet owners impacted by COVID-19.

      The Alberta SPCA has a ‘One Family Welfare’ program and offers services to ensure the safety of both people and animals in crisis as they identify animal welfare is directly linked to human welfare. 

      Alberta Helping Animals Society provides no-cost ‘house call’ veterinary services to vulnerable people in Edmonton who are unable to access regular veterinary care. This is a mobile unit, partnered with other stationary veterinary clinics to provide a fuller range of services (i.e., dental care, x-rays, lab analysis, etc.)

        ‘Tails of Help’ helps seniors, disabled, and low-income individuals care for their companion animals by providing necessary veterinary care. Currently, Tails of Help is running the ‘2020 COVID-19 Relief Program’ where all veterinary clinics in Alberta can access funds to help patients cover veterinary costs during the pandemic. 

          The Alberta Animal Rescue Crew (AARCS) believes in cooperation to create a more compassionate world for animals. AARCS has assistance programs to help support animal owners care for their pets (i.e., dog food assistance, outdoor pet shelter assistance, etc.).

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          Alberta Pet Food Banks