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Dog on a blanket

The City of Edmonton Animal Control Peace Officers enforce the Provincial Animal Protection Act (APA) in Edmonton. APA enables the City of Edmonton’s Animal Control Peace Officers to respond to animals in distress or animals that have been abandoned. The Act was previously enforced by the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS).



Animal Protection Definitions

Animal Care Duties

Under the APA, a person who owns or is in charge of an animal 

  1. Must ensure that the animal has adequate food and water, 
  2. Must provide the animal with adequate care when the animal is wounded or ill, 
  3. Must provide the animal with reasonable protection from injurious heat or cold, and 
  4. Must provide the animal with adequate shelter, ventilation and space. 
Definition of Distress

Under the APA, no person shall cause an animal to be in distress.  An animal is in distress if it is: 

  1. Deprived of adequate shelter, ventilation, space, food, water or veterinary care or reasonable protection from injurious heat or cold, 
  2. Injured, sick, in pain or suffering, or 
  3. Abused or subjected to undue hardship, privation or neglect
Abandoned Animal

Under the APA, an “abandoned animal” includes an animal that 

  1. Is left for more than 24 hours without adequate food or water or shelter, 
  2. Is left for 5 days or more after the expected retrieval time from a registered veterinarian or from a person who for money consideration or its equivalent stables, boards or cares for the animal, or 
  3. Is found on premises with respect to which the tenancy agreement has been terminated
Intentional Harm/Abuse

Various sections of the Criminal Code of Canada deal with cruelty to animals.

445.1 (1) Everyone commits an offence who

  1. wilfully causes or, being the owner, wilfully permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or a bird;
  2. in any manner encourages, aids or assists at the fighting or baiting of animals or birds;
  3. wilfully, without reasonable excuse, administers a poisonous or an injurious drug or substance to a domestic animal or bird or an animal or a bird wild by nature that is kept in captivity or, being the owner of such an animal or a bird, wilfully permits a poisonous or an injurious drug or substance to be administered to it;
  4. promotes, arranges, conducts, assists in, receives money for or takes part in any meeting, competition, exhibition, pastime, practice, display or event at or in the course of which captive birds are liberated by hand, trap, contrivance or any other means for the purpose of being shot when they are liberated; or
  5. being the owner, occupier or person in charge of any premises, permits the premises or any part thereof to be used for a purpose mentioned in paragraph (d).

446 (1) Everyone commits an offence who

  1. by wilful neglect causes damage or injury to animals or birds while they are being driven or conveyed; or
  2. being the owner or the person having the custody or control of a domestic animal or a bird or an animal or a bird wild by nature that is in captivity, abandons it in distress or wilfully neglects or fails to provide suitable and adequate food, water, shelter and care for it.

The penalties for non-compliance with the Animal Protection Act may include monetary penalties up to a maximum of $20,000, prohibition of animal ownership for a period determined by the courts and any other terms and conditions a court deems appropriate.

Who To Call In Edmonton

Agency Concerns Investigated  
Animal Control Peace Officers

Investigate concerns within Edmonton that fall under the Animal Protection Act of Alberta, including:


  • Inadequate food or water
  • Inadequate care when an animal is wounded or ill
  • Inadequate shelter or protection from injurious heat or cold
  • Inadequate ventilation or space
  • Left for more than 24 hours without adequate food or water or shelter

Provides shelter for stray pets found within Edmonton, and investigates concerns under the City of Edmonton’s Animals Licensing and Control Bylaw, including:

Bylaw issues 

  • Dog attacks 
  • Excessive barking, excessive pet waste, nuisance cats on private property
  • Pet licensing
  • Too many pets
311 (in Edmonton) or 780-442-5311 (from outside Edmonton)
Independent third party Any complaints about animals owned by the City of Edmonton will be investigated by an independent third party. 311 (in Edmonton) or 780-442-5311 (from outside Edmonton)
Edmonton Police Service (non-emergencies)

Investigate concerns of intentional harm to animals under the Criminal Code of Canada, including:

  • Intentional abuse or harm of an animal
  • Poisoning concerns
  • Threats to harm or kill an animal

780-423-4567, #377 from mobile


Edmonton Police Service (emergencies)

Animal emergencies 

Animals in imminent danger of death or serious injury (including animals left alone in hot or cold cars that are exhibiting signs of distress*)

*signs of distress can include dark coloured tongue, loss of bowel control, excessive panting/drooling, vomiting, lethargic, frantically trying to break free from the vehicle, non responsive or excessive shivering/shaking


For Concerns Outside Edmonton

Agency Concerns Investigated Contact Info
Alberta SPCA Investigates concerns under the Animal Protection Act outside of the City of Edmonton or the City of Calgary. 1-800-455-9003
Calgary Humane Society Investigates concerns under the Animal Protection Act within the City of Calgary. 403-205-4455
RCMP Investigates concerns under the Criminal Code outside of Edmonton or Calgary. 911 or contact local detachment


For Wildlife Concerns

Agency Concerns Investigated Contact
Alberta Fish & Wildlife Dangerous wildlife and poaching. 310-0000
WILDNorth Injured or orphaned wildlife found in Edmonton or surrounding areas. 780-914-4118


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