A black puppy lays down against a wall.
Services Cruelty Investigation

Cruelty Investigation

How We Investigate Cruelty

Calgary Humane Society employs a team of provincially-appointed Peace Officers who enforce the Animal Protection Act of Alberta in the City of Calgary. Concerns of animal abuse, neglect, and abandonment are investigated thoroughly with a focus on positively impacting every animal encountered in the course of duty, whether through official enforcement intervention or through education to enhance the owner’s pet care toolkit. In severe cases, animals may be seized and/or charges laid where education and compliance is insufficient or fails.

A dog with floppy ears and one eye stands on a leash outside.

What do we Investigate?

Our Protection and Investigations Department investigates public concerns of animal abuse, neglect, and abandonment. In addition to these complaint-based investigations, the team also has legislated inspection authority where animals are for sale, hire, or exhibition. This includes pet stores, rodeos, and circuses. Concerns about distress to an animal that are investigated include:

  • Lack of adequate:
    • Food (starvation or malnutrition)
    • Water
    • Shelter (protection from injurious heat or cold)
    • Veterinary care
    • Space (overcrowding)
    • Ventilation (unsanitary conditions)
  • Physical abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Practicing veterinary medicine without a license

Animal Protection Act (Provincial Legislation)

Burden of Proof: Beyond a reasonable doubt.

Strict liability: Proving Intent is not required in the absence of a due diligence defence.

Offence: Allowing or causing an animal to be in distress.

Statute of Limitations: 6 Months

Maximum penalty: $20,000 fine and/or prohibition from owning or caring for animals up to lifetime.

Canadian Criminal Code

Burden of Proof: Beyond a reasonable doubt. Proving Intent is required in addition to the commission of the act.

Offence(s): Most common sections:

  • Kill, maim, wound, or injure an animal without lawful excuse
  • Place poison in a location easily consumed by animals kept for a lawful purpose
  • Cause unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal
  • Abandon an animal in distress or willfully neglect or fail to provide suitable and adequate food, water, shelter, and care for it
  • Uttering threats to kill, poison or injure an animal that is the property of any person

Statute of Limitations: Hybrid: 6 Months for summary / None for indictable

Maximum penalty: 5 years’ incarceration and/or $10,000 fine. Prohibition from owning or caring for animals.

Report Animal Offenses in Calgary

Contact the following agencies if you have reasonable grounds to suspect animal cruelty:

Calgary Humane Society

Contact Calgary Humane Society to protect animals from people. This covers abuse, neglect, or abandonment of animal.

Call 403-205-4455 or report online

Calgary Animal & Bylaw Services

Contact Calgary Animal & Bylaw Services to protect people from animals. This covers barking, bites, running at large, strays, licensing etc.

Call 311

Calgary Police Service

Calgary Police Service enforces Criminal Code specific animal cruelty sections. This covers threats to kill an animal, poisoning, organized dog/cock fighting and bestiality. CPS is also able to enforce the Animal Protection Act for after-hours coverage between 7pm – 8am weekdays and 5pm-9am weekends, where animal cruelty has resulted in likelihood of grievous injury or death (i.e., can’t wait until morning for intervention).

Call 403 266-1234 or 911 depending on urgency.

Fish and Wildlife

Contact Fish and Wildlife if you encounter dangerous wildlife or poaching.

Call 403 297-6423

Report Animal Cruelty Outside of Calgary

City of Edmonton

Edmonton Animal Care and Control

Call 311

Edmonton Police Service

Call 780 423-4567 or 911 depending on urgency.

Anywhere outside of Calgary or Edmonton

Contact the Alberta SPCA for animal welfare complaints outside of Calgary or Edmonton.

Call 1-800-455-9003

You can also contact your local RCMP detachment or municipal police department.