Director of Animal Protection Services
Ken Dean has been close to animals his entire life, so it only made sense he would seek a career that included animal welfare. He grew up on a mixed farm in Saskatchewan where his family raised cattle, as well as keeping horses, pigs and chickens. After college, Ken landed Ken a job as a Wildlife Conservation Officer in Alberta for a number of years before taking a break to return to farming. Ken’s commitment to animals led to a job as a dog handler in the corrections system before bringing his animal welfare skills to the Alberta SPCA. Ken’s first few years with us were spent as a livestock auction inspector. Eventually, Ken was promoted to field supervisor for all of Alberta before assuming the role of Director of Animal Protection Services in 2010.
Southern Region Supervisor
Rick Wheatley’s involvement with animals includes a connection to an iconic Canadian symbol. He admits he joined the Mounties so he could be part of the RCMP Musical Ride, and he achieved just that, performing with them for four years. Following his retirement from The Ride, Rick stayed involved with horses, teaching riding and jumping. He also picked up farrier skills and still shoes horses to this day. During Rick’s time with the RCMP, he chose to work in remote posts in British Columbia that allowed him to also work on large ranches and learn the trade from some of the best cowboys. While Rick has retired from ranch life, he still has livestock on his southern Alberta acreage, including 4 horses, 2 mules, 2 dogs and 3 cats.
Northern Region Supervisor
Stuart has 38 years experience in animal welfare and protection. Originally from Northern England, Stuart spent 17+ years with the Royal SPCA, where officers were moved around England much like Mounties move community to community here. Stuart has always had a sense of adventure and when the opportunity to move to Canada presented itself in 1999, Stuart and his family made the bold move Alberta.
Stuart is celebrating 20 years with the Alberta SPCA in 2019. He and his wife live on an acreage just outside Edmonton where they currently have two dogs and nine. cats.
Ryan Butterwick's career with animals started long before he joined our Animal Protection Services team. He spent many years working with and training performance horse, and still does to this day. Ryan also helps manage a herd of cattle. His knowledge and experience allow Ryan to speak with authority when offering suggestions to livestock owners on ways to improve the health and care of their herds.
Karen was in school to become an animal health technologist in Fairview when she first decided she wanted to be an Alberta SPCA Peace Officer. It was a visit from a peace officer to speak to her class about animal welfare and enforcement that convinced her this would be her career path.
On top of her work as a Peace Officer, Karen has spent over 20 years working in emergency vet clinics, and another four as an animal control officer to gain the necessary experience to work at the Alberta SPCA. Karen loves fighting for the underdog, whether it’s people or animals, a passion that helps her deal with the challenging situations our Peace Officers face.
Colin owns a small farm in central Alberta where he keeps horses, cattle and donkeys, as well as companion animals. While he didn't grow up on a farm, Colin always seemed to be around farm animals as many of his extended family members ran farming operations. On top of his animal background, Colin has extensive law enforcement experience. He worked as a Sheriff with the Alberta Government for over 20 years, as well as a civilian employee of the RCMP.
Emma Fillion joined the Alberta SPCA after graduating from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Health, majoring in Performance and Companion Animals. While in school, Emma spent 5 years working as a veterinary assistant in a small animal clinic. While growing up in the Edmonton area, Emma was always around horses, and has extensive experience working with performance horses. Emma owns a competitive show jumping horse named Cole that she works with every day, as well as being the owner of a rescued rabbit, cat, and 2 dogs.
Dana has spent her entire life around animals, but her experiences are a little different than most Albertans. Her early years were like many in this province, growing up on a farm and tending to cattle and horses. However, she decided to take her experience overseas, working on a beef farm in England. While there, she also helped tend polo ponies (they are horses, but in England they still refer to them as ponies). After that, Dana headed north to Scotland where she spent some time working with sheep and border collies. Dana’s wide variety of experience ensures the Alberta SPCA has a diverse knowledge of animal species to deal with any situation our peace officers face.