Nova Scotia

Key legislation



To report a companion animal in distress, complainants should contact the Nova Scotia SPCA by phone (1-888-703-7722), use their direct online complaint form, or email:

To report farmed animals in distress: 1-877-9ENVIRO [1-877-936-8476]) or email, the Department of Environment. The office is monitored from Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Complainants are directed to contact RCMP or municipal police after office hours.

To report a wildlife or fish emergency, people are encouraged to contact a conservation officer by phone (1-800-565-2224) or use this online complaint form.


Investigations & Enforcement

The Nova Scotia SPCA cruelty officers are responsible for companion animal investigations. These officers are also contracted for animal control with 16 contracts among various municipalities, towns, and First Nations communities. The SPCA currently employs 13 Full time officers and 4 part time. The enforcement department of the SPCA receives a government grant to support anti-cruelty work. In 2018, this grant was worth $320,000, whereas the investigation expenses amounted to a total of $725,560.

The Department of Environment is responsible for the responding to farm animal welfare complaints under the Animal Protect Act and sections of the Criminal Code.


A chart outlines the Nova Scotia SPCA Animal Cruelty Statistics between 2014 and 2018, divided into sections of the year, complaints reports, cases investigated, and highest cruelty calls by location. In all years, the highest cruelty calls by location was in Halifax Regional Municipality.  First row: 2014. Complaints reported: 1212. Second row: 2015. Complaints reported: 1626. Cases investigated: 1627.  Third row: 2016. Complaints reportedP 1648. Cases investigated: 180 calls of abandonment, 187 cases of direct abuse, 11 cases of hoarding, 106 inadequate shelters, 491 cases of neglect, 330 cases of surrounding tethering, 80 cases of unsanitary conditions, 116 sick animals as well as other general complaints.  Fourth row: 2017. Complaints reported: 1615.  Fifth row: 2018. Complaints reported 1600+. Cases investigated: 1900 complaints investigated (total includes re-checks from previous years). 1934 by-law investigations.

The majority of cases investigated involve general neglect.

A small brown puppy has its front paws up.

Forensic Veterinarians

St. Mary’s University offers a forensic science certificate program. One of the sample courses offered is ‘wildlife forensics’, which suggests the possibility for considering non-human animal forensics.

This is the only forensic science program East of Toronto. Coupled with the fact that East Coast (PEI) also houses the Atlantic Veterinary College, this may be an important place to consider the potential growth of veterinary forensics.

Nova Scotia’s Agriculture department also has its own Animal Health Lab.


Brian Cox, Senior Crown Attorney

Nova Scotia has a designated Environment Prosecutor. The prosecutor works explicitly on cases related to the Environment Act, food safety, public health, meat inspection, fisheries and aquaculture, animal welfare, natural resources and the fur industry. Brian Cox, a senior Crown attorney in Halifax was appointed to the role in 2018.

Janine Kidd, Crown Prosecutor, Nova Scotia

Janine prosecutes animal cruelty offences in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Janine advises the SPCA, police and consults with colleges about animal cruelty files in Dartmouth and Halifax. She presented at the 2018 National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty Conference on new precedent-setting animal cruelty prosecution cases across the country.

Human-Animal Wellbeing and Supports

ElderDog Canada is an organization based in Nova Scotia with offices throughout Canada. ElderDog focuses on maintaining the human-animal bond, particularly for senior people and dogs. Through their Dog Care Support for Seniors program, volunteers assist seniors care for their pets by obtaining food, minor grooming, transportation to vet appointments, and temporary care during hospitalization free of charge. 

The Nova Scotia SPCA’s ‘Spay and Neuter Program’ services low-income families at subsidized rates. There are three clinics that offer this program throughout the province (Dartmouth SPCA, Cape Breton SPCA, Yarmouth SPCA).

The Nova Scotia SPCA’s ‘Paws & Support’ program offers care for animals whose owners undergo short-term hospital treatments or are transitioning out of conditions of domestic violence.

Bide Awhile offers a spay and neuter program as well as a ‘Pet Pantry Food Bank’ for low-income people who qualify.

** Both the Nova Scotia SPCA and Bide Awhile are offering food during COVID-19 (opens in new window).

The Disaster Animal Response Team of Nova Scotia works in partnership with the Canadian Red Cross to set up emergency shelters for animals affected by man-made and natural disasters. As people often will not evacuate without their pets, this provides a safe place for animals to reside to ensure the health and safety of both people and animals.