Animal Protection Line

Animal Protection

Malnourished Livestock

Lack of Food & Water

If you own livestock or companion animals you must provide food that is suitable in quality and quantity appropriate for the species, and
a reliable source of water. It is not acceptable to expect or allow an owned
animal to fend for itself.

Animals that live outside in winter require additional food
to stay warm and can lose body condition very quickly if increased rations are
not provided.


A horse pawing in the snow for food is not an indication

that the animal is starving; pawing is a common way for horses to access grass under
the snow during winter months. It is important to note that horses will eat
more, and require additional feed, just to stay warm during colder temperatures.

As horses are grazers, grazing up to 18 hours a day, they expend
a great deal of energy on this activity. Winter grass, however, often lacks the
nutritional quality that spring and summer pastures offer, and supplemental
feeding of hay may be necessary. It is therefore highly recommended horse
owners get their feed tested to ensure it meets the nutritional requirements
for their animals.

Horses do have the ability to consume snow as a water source
in the winter, but it is not ideal. Horses require approximately 40 litres (10
gallons) of water a day, and ten times that amount if their water source is in
the form of snow. A liquid water supply is a critical part of keeping horses
healthy in the winter. Further, it is important to note feed in the form of alfalfa
cubes and pellets hold very little moisture and lead to a need for increased


Cattle, like most livestock, require increased food in winter in order to stay warm. The feed requirements of cattle change when the temperature reaches -20 or colder, and an extra two pounds of grain a day per animal is required. At -30, the feed requirements increase again by another two pounds of grain per head. These rations will only help the cattle maintain their weight; a cow that is not getting additional feed can lose one to three pounds a day on the bitterly cold days.

Report an Animal
in Distress


What happens when you Call?

When you call our Animal Protection Line 1-800-455-9003 we open up a file similar to a police investigation. In order to do so, we need timely, first-hand details to proceed.

What Should you Expect

We open up a file similar to a police investigation. In order to do so, we need timely, first-hand details to proceed. When calling, we will ask for a few simple questions.

When Do We Seize Animals

Alberta SPCA Peace Officers sometimes need to take animals into protective custody. When they do so, the officers will post a notice at the former location of the animals stating the reason for the seizure.

Investigating Neglect & Abuse

Our Peace Officers investigate every complaint we receive. We can only investigate if we have reasonable and probable grounds to believe there may have been an offence under the Animal Protection Act.

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