Pet Safekeeping

How pet safekeeping can help individuals escape domestic violence

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, pets receive veterinary checkups and vaccinations, any needed treatments and may be spayed or neutered if requested by their owners.

The program began in mid-2014 in the greater Edmonton area and has been expanding in scope and range ever since. Our aim is to eventually offer this service province-wide. To date, we have agreements with over 30 social service agencies within a 300 km radius of Edmonton. Other programs are operated by SPCAs or humane societies in Calgary and Red Deer, and we work together to coordinate our programs.

Safety and confidentiality is maintained for the protection of all concerned. The program is offered at no charge and it is funded by Alberta SPCA donors and fund-raising efforts. 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 consider making a financial contribution to the program.

Oversight of the pet safekeeping program

The pet safekeeping program is guided by an advisory committee known as the Alberta Alliance for the Safety of Animals and People (AASAP). This committee was formed in 2012 in response to an Alberta SPCA–funded 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.

AASAP 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

Our agency partners are a vital component in the success of this program.

How to get into an Alberta pet safekeeping program

AASAP Programs*

Edmonton: Contact any of the domestic violence agencies in the greater Edmonton area or call 211.

Lloydminster: Contact the Interval Home at 780-875-0966.

St. Paul: Contact the St. Paul Crisis Centre at 780-645-5195.

Whitecourt: Contact the Wellspring Crisis Centre at 780-778-6209.

Westlock: Contact the Hope Resource Centre at 780-349-6111.

*Clients must be referred by or verified by a recognized service agency or professional.

Other Programs

Red Deer: Contact the Red Deer & District SPCA at 403-342-7722 ext. 208.

Calgary: Contact the Calgary Humane Society at 403-723-6025 or any 24-hour veterinary clinic.

How to partner with Alberta pet safekeeping programs

Email AASAP to learn more about Alberta Pet Safekeeping Programs and to request a program in your area.

What people are saying about the pet safekeeping program

Client Testimonials

You and the dog foster family really played an integral part in changing my life for the better. I’m blessed and thankful. Thank you.

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.

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

I needed to express how you have had a big part in my life, and through only a few emails, a phone message and a phone call. There are people who are putting in so much effort and extending a hand to people they haven’t even seen, I didn’t have to struggle alone I was able to find a huge amount of hope.

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).

She no longer had to worry about her pets. She spent so much time living with her pets in her car because giving them up was not an option.

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The program took pressure off of our client, while she had children in the program with her.

The Pet Safekeeping 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 Safekeeping 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.