Pet Safekeeping

The Alberta SPCA’s pet safekeeping program offers temporary care for the pets of domestic violence victims who need to escape their abusive situations and have no other place for their pets. Once accepted into the program, the pets are given veterinary checkups and vaccinations, any needed treatments and may be spayed or neutered if requested by their owner.

The program began in mid-2014 in the greater Edmonton area, and has been expanding in scope and area ever since. Our plan is to eventually offer this service province-wide. As of May 2015, we have agreements with 26 social service agencies within a 200 km radius of Edmonton. Other programs are operated by SPCAs or humane societies in Calgary and Red Deer, and we all work together to coordinate our programs.

Safety is an important concern, and confidentiality is maintained for the protection of all concerned. The program is offered at no charge to those who need it; it’s funded by Alberta SPCA donors and fund-raising efforts, and we were fortunate in 2015 to receive a grant from the Edmonton Community Foundation. As awareness grows, so do the number of requests for help; please click here if you’d like to contribute financially to the program.

Our agency partners are a vital component in the success of this program. The pet safekeeping program is guided by an advisory committee known as the Alberta Alliance for the Safety of Animals and People (AASAP), which consists of representatives from the following organizations:

  • A Safe Place Women’s Shelter
  •  Alberta Association of Animal Health Technologists
  • Alberta Human Services
  • Alberta SPCA 
  •  Alberta Veterinary Medical Association
  • Centre for Public Legal Education of Alberta
  • City of Edmonton Animal Care & Control Centre
  •  Edmonton Humane Society
  • Edmonton Police Service
  • Edmonton Women's Shelter Ltd. (WIN House)
  • Red Deer and District SPCA

AASAP was formed in 2012 partly in response to the release of our study, Inside the Cruelty Connection, which found that 59% of pet-owning women in emergency shelters had delayed leaving their abusive environments out of concern for their animals.

In setting up our program, we were fortunate to receive advice from other agencies with established programs: Calgary Humane Society, Red Deer and District SPCA, and New Brunswick’s Safe for Pets Too.

Anyone in Edmonton and the surrounding area can access the program through one of the Edmonton-area women’s shelters, or by calling 211. 211 is a free and confidential 24 hour community information and referral line that can connect you to a full range of programs and services within the community. If calling from outside a 211 telephone service area, dial either 780-462-4636 (Edmonton) or 403-264-3388 (Calgary).

Anyone who is in immediate danger should call 911.

Client Testimonials


I'm so grateful for this program because I got to keep my pets. They're all I have left and even though I missed them I'm so happy that I was able to put them somewhere safe. 

Without the program I wouldn’t be able to keep my cat.

Thank you for keeping my dogs safe.

The program helped me focus on myself and do personal thinking because I didn’t have to worry about my dog, I knew he was safe.

I don’t know how I got into this situation and I didn’t know what I was going to do with my pets. I would have lost my pets if it wasn’t for the Pet Safekeeping Program. I can’t express how grateful I am; thank you for everything.

Agency Testimonials    

Our client refused to come into shelter because she didn’t have a place for her dog and cat. Thanks to the Pet Safekeeping program she was able to find safety for herself (and her pets).

The Pet Safe Keeping program removes a critical barrier for many seniors grappling with a life-changing decision—too often, clients have had to choose between their own safety and their pet’s safety. Isolation and the fear of loneliness are huge issues when it comes to deciding to leave an unsafe situation, particularly for seniors who have never lived alone before. They will most likely be losing some form of relationship, and in the past this has also meant leaving a furry family member behind, or having to surrender it. Having the Pet Safe Keeping program not only means that their pets are safe and will be able to rejoin them once they have secured safe accommodation, but reduces that fear of living alone—they get to keep a part of their family, and that can be a life saver, a reason to continue to live.

The client had no other options when leaving a very dangerous situation. The Pet Safekeeping Program made sure she didn’t have to surrender her dog. The compassion and vet care provided was critical.

She has no family and all she has is her dog. Thank you for making sure she could keep her dog.