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60th Anniversary

Compassion for Animals Since 1959

Compassion for animals has always been at the core of our organization and it continues to influence our work on behalf of animals.  As we enter our 60th year, we are highlighting compassion as our theme and as the motivating force for what we do every day.

It was September 1959 that we were incorporated as a non-profit organization under the Societies Act in Alberta. Until that time, the Northern Alberta SPCA  (now known as the Edmonton Humane Society) operated in the Edmonton area.

In the late 1950s, there was pressure on the Alberta Government to enact provincial animal welfare legislation, to  both acknowledge farm animals as well as to better protect all animals. From there, the Alberta SPCA was born with a focus on animal welfare issues outside of Edmonton and Calgary. This meant livestock welfare issues could be responded to.

Archie Bruce was the Alberta SPCA's first special constable.

The early days of the Alberta SPCA were lean. Archie Bruce (left) was both the executive director and sole special constable and he served in that role for both the Alberta and Northern Alberta SPCAs. He did not have a work vehicle so he used his own.

In the mid-1960s, pressure intensified on the Alberta Government to create provincial animal welfare legislation. Bruce, along with Alberta SPCA President, Zennon (Zeke) Young, and Lou Hyndman Sr. developed the framework for what would become the Animal Protection Act, which came into effect July 1, 1967. With the legislation came a $10,000 grant to the Alberta SPCA to enforce it, and with that, the Alberta SPCA was able to hire a second constable.

The Alberta SPCA has continued to evolve since those early days. We now have 11 Peace Officer positions, and offices in Edmonton, Okotoks and Innisfail.

Longtime Alberta SPCA President Joy Ripley with goats in 1994.
Special Constable Cliff Humford seizes horses in 1986

Our organization was instrumental in pushing for improvements to the Animal Protection Act (APA) in 1986 and in 2006 to meet the growing expectations of Albertans for animal welfare. The Alberta SPCA’s mission to protect, promote and enhance the well-being of animals guides us in pursuit of better outcomes for animals. More recently, Alberta SPCA staff and board members have been advocating to modernize the APA to improve enforceability and to give Peace Officers more tools to better protect animals.

In 1981 we added an education department. It is the longest continuously operating education program in the province, with two full-time teachers with education degrees. Our department works tirelessly to ensure curriculum-related resources are available for teachers to intergrate humane education into classrooms. In 2014 we added the Pet Safekeeping Program, ensuring people fleeing domestic violence situations have somewhere to place their pets so they can enter a safe shelter. In 2019, that program evolved into the One Family Welfare department, ensuring other people in crisis situations can also access help for their animals. When people are suffering, so are their pets. By helping those people, we are also helping animals!

 

Throughout our 60 years, the Alberta SPCA’s number one focus has always been on the animals. As our staff decide how best to proceed with any situation before us, we always ask one simple question, “what is best for the animal?” Charges may ultimately be laid in some cases, but even if they are not, as long as we have helped the animal, we have done our job.

As we proceed into the next 60 years in our history, it is hard to predict how society will change. What is predictable is the Alberta SPCA’s compassionate approach will continue as we strive to ensure every animal in Alberta be treated humanely.

Alberta SPCA 60th Anniversary Timeline

60th Anniversary Timeline

January 1, 1910

Alberta Humane Society is Created

Alberta Humane Society is Created

The Animal Welfare movement had been underway for a number of years, and in 1910, the Alberta Humane Society was formally registered. The name would later be changed to the SPCA – Northern Alberta, and that organization would advocate on behalf of animals for nearly 50 years before the creation of the Alberta SPCA in 1959.

September 10, 1959

Alberta SPCA is incorporated as a Non-profit Organization

Alberta SPCA is incorporated as a Non-profit Organization

It was September 10th, 1959 that the Alberta SPCA was incorporated as a non-profit organization under the Societies Act in Alberta. Until that time, the Northern Alberta SPCA  (now known as the Edmonton Humane Society) operated in the Edmonton area. Our first Executive Director and special constable was Archie Bruce, who held the positions for both the Alberta SPCA and the Northern Alberta SPCA for 8 years.

July 1, 1967

The Animal Protection Act comes into Effect

The Animal Protection Act comes into Effect

In the mid-1960s, pressure intensified on the Alberta Government to create provincial animal welfare legislation. Bruce, along with Alberta SPCA President, Zennon (Zeke) Young, and Lou Hyndman Sr. developed the framework for what would become the Animal Protection Act, which came into effect July 1, 1967. With the legislation came a $10,000 grant to the Alberta SPCA to enforce it, and with that, the Alberta SPCA was able to hire a second constable.

The Alberta SPCA has continued to evolve since those early days. We now have 11 Peace Officer positions, and offices in Edmonton, Okotoks, Innisfail and in northern Alberta.

January 2, 1980

Alberta SPCA Hires First Female Special Constable

Alberta SPCA Hires First Female Special Constable

Early in 1980, the Alberta SPCA welcomed its first female special constable. Candy Scales would eventually become the head of the enforcement department and remain with the organization for 18 years.

February 12, 1981

Strathmore Office Opens

Strathmore Office Opens

On February 12th, 1991 the Alberta SPCA opened our Strathmore office. Until then, our 2 Special Constables worked out of their homes or in rented spaces.

October 1, 1983

First Education Officer Hired

First Education Officer Hired

In 1981 we hired our first education officer, Elizabeth Gredley, to promote the values of humane education, and develop a humane education curriculum. Prior to this, education tasks were carried out by an education committee. Today, our Education Department is the longest continuously operating education program in the province, with two full-time teachers working to provide humane education materials to Alberta teachers.

April 1, 1994

Edmonton Office Space Purchased

Edmonton Office Space Purchased

The Alberta SPCA rented a number of office spaces over the years, but it wasn’t until 1994 that we purchased our own building. The location on 124th street in Edmonton was our home for over 20 years until we moved to our current 118th Ave location.

October 1, 2006

The Animal Protection Act is Updated

The Animal Protection Act is Updated

In 2006, a major revision to the Animal Protection Act was enacted, only the second update since its inception in 1967; the first update took place in 1989. The changes came after many years of lobbying by the Alberta SPCA.

July 1, 2014

Pet Safekeeping Program Launched

Pet Safekeeping Program Launched

A landmark 2012 study called The Cruelty Connection, demonstrated the link between family violence and animal abuse. The report, which was commissioned by the Alberta SPCA, led to the creation of the Pet Safekeeping Program, giving domestic violence survivors an option to foster their pets while seeking safety in a protective shelter.

June 1, 2019

One Family Welfare Department Added

One Family Welfare Department Added

The Pet Safekeeping program expands into the  One Family Welfare department. OFW offers assistance to people and pets in crisis, even if their situation is not connected to family violence.

Alberta SPCA 60th Anniversary Posters

Alberta SPCA News

Death of Dogs from Ukraine a Concern for All

June 24, 2020 The Alberta SPCA was saddened to learn dozens of puppies died while on route to Canada from Ukraine as part of a shipment of approximately 500 dogs last week, and we are pleased to hear an investigation is underway to determine what happened and to ensure a tragedy like this is not

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Dan Kobe

Foal Fun – Sharing #Pawsitivty

Spring is a time of new beginnings. A number of horses that came into our care this spring were pregnant and this means our herd is growing. And the babies are so incredibly cute! However, while we enjoy watching little ones like this having fun, we would prefer owners take steps to ensure we do

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Dan Kobe

Separation Anxiety in Dogs

What Happens When Your New Dog Stays Home Alone? One of the good news stories during the COVID-19 crisis has been the overwhelming number of people offering to foster or adopt pets. It seems many had wanted to include an animal in their family and decided that since they were home most of the time,

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The vision of the Alberta SPCA is that every animal in Alberta be treated humanely.

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