Alberta has two pieces of legislation to help protect animals from neglect, abandonment and abuse.
The Animal Protection Act of Alberta (APA) prohibits causing or permitting animals to be in distress. The Act specifies that a person who owns or is in charge of an animal must provide adequate food and water, adequate care when wounded or ill, reasonable protection from injurious heat or cold, and adequate shelter, ventilation and space. The Act also prohibits the abandonment of animals, which includes leaving an animal for more than 24 hours without adequate food, water or shelter, leaving it for more than 5 days after the expected retrieval time from a registered veterinarian, stable/boarding facility or caretaker, and leaving an animal on a premise where the tenancy agreement has been terminated. The maximum penalty for those found guilty under the APA is up to a $20,000 fine or a lifetime prohibition on owning animals.
The Criminal Code of Canada prohibits wilfully causing or, being the owner, wilfully permitting to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or a bird. This includes fighting or baiting, poisoning, and participating in the shooting of captive birds when liberated. The maximum penalty for those found guilty under the Criminal Code is imprisonment for a term up to 5 years or a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to 18 months.
In order for a Peace Officer to investigate a complaint, please make sure you have the following information when you make a report:
- The date and time the concern was witnessed.
- An address for where the animal is located.
- The details of the concern.
Different agencies will investigate concerns for animals based on the location of the animal, the type of animal, and the nature of the concern. Please use the table below to determine who to call.