Frequently Asked Questions about Investigations

How do you find out about animals in distress?

Why are animals sometimes in very poor shape before anything is done?

If someone has been convicted of animal abuse or neglect, do you monitor them so they don’t repeat their actions?

Why are people who are convicted of animal abuse allowed to keep animals?

What happens to animals that are seized?

Who determines the amount of the fine?

If seized animals are sold, who gets the proceeds?

What can the public do if they suspect an animal is in distress?

How do you find out about animals in distress?

We rely on the public to inform us if they suspect an animal is being abused or neglected. Most often this is done through calls to our toll-free reporting line 1-800-455-9003.

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Why are animals sometimes in very poor shape before anything is done?

Our Peace Officers investigate every complaint we receive about animals in distress. Under the law, we can only investigate if we have reasonable and probable grounds to believe there may have been an offence under the Animal Protection Act. Normally, a call from a neighbour or witness constitutes such grounds for investigation.

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If someone has been convicted of animal abuse or neglect, do you monitor them so they don’t repeat their actions?

If someone is found guilty of an offence under the Animal Protection Act, the courts may impose conditions that allow our Peace Officers to enter the property to check on the well-being of any animals. When such conditions are ordered, we perform regular checks. Without such an order, we must rely on complaints from the public to our toll-free number.

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Why are people who are convicted of animal abuse allowed to keep animals?

It’s up to the courts to prohibit someone from owning animals if they have been convicted of an offence under the Animal Protection Act. The Alberta SPCA can put forward a prohibition order if we believe the guilty person will continue to mistreat animals. The final decision, however, is up to the court.

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What happens to animals that are seized?

Animals that are seized are moved to a caretaking facility. When large numbers of animals are seized, they may be taken to a commercial facility that has the capacity to hold and care for them. After the holding period specified by the Animal Protection Act, new homes may be found for the animals, or in some cases the animals may be sold.

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Who determines the amount of the fine?

If someone is found guilty of an offence under the Animal Protection Act, the court assesses the fine. The maximum fine under the Act is $20,000. In addition, the court may prohibit the guilty party from owning or caring for animals, or limit the number of animals they may own.

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If seized animals are sold, who gets the proceeds?

By law, an SPCA or humane society that seizes animals is entitled to recover the expenses incurred in caring for the animal. Under Section 7(4) of the Animal Protection Act, “The balance of the sale proceeds remaining… shall be paid to the former owner of the animal.”

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What can the public do if they suspect an animal is in distress?

Anyone who believes an animal may be abused or neglected is encouraged to call our toll-free phone number 1-800-455-9003. We encourage the public to call whenever they have reason to believe animals are in distress, even if they have called in the past. The conditions of animals can deteriorate quickly, particularly if they are in poor shape during extreme weather events.

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