If we arrive at a property to find animals in distress, our first priority is always to relieve the distress. Often, this means working with the animal owner to understand what the problems are and implementing solutions to improve the conditions. However, if the animal owner is unwilling to make improvements, or the condition of the animals is dire, we may make the decision that the animals need to be removed. If we are dealing with a herd that contains animals with different levels of health, we may seize only part of the herd. However, if the Peace Officer feels the other animals on the property are at risk of falling into distress, we may choose to put the entire herd in protective custody.
Process to Reclaim Seized Animals
When Alberta SPCA Peace Officers take animals into protective custody, they will post a notice at the former location of the animals stating the reason for the seizure.
Pursuant to section 7 of the Act, the Alberta SPCA will be entitled to transfer ownership of these animals to new owners, unless you take all of the following steps within 10 days of the date of seizure shown on the attached Notice of Seizure:
- Provide written notice to the Alberta SPCA, in the form of email, fax or written letter, of your intention to reclaim the seized animal(s).
- Prove your legal ownership of each of the animals listed in the attached Notice of Seizure that you claim to own.
- Provide payment to the Alberta SPCA of all expenses claimed by the Alberta SPCA for seizure, transportation, assessment, care and board of the animal(s) up to the date of reclaiming of the animal(s).
However, even if you comply with above steps, if you have been charged with an offence under the Act, the Alberta SPCA may choose to not release some or all of the seized animal(s) to you while the Alberta SPCA seeks a custody order under Section 13 of the Act to protect the animal(s) pending your trial for the offence. No transfer of ownership of the animal(s) under a custody order will be made until your trial is over.
If you do not comply with the above steps within the 10 day time limit, any ownership interest you may have in the animals will be ended, and no payment for any value of the animal(s) will be made to you if the costs of seizure, transportation, assessment, care, board and sale exceed the proceeds of any sale of the animal(s), or if there are no proceeds from sale or other transfer of ownership of the animal(s).