report animal abuse or neglect
SPCAs and humane societies rely on the public to help prevent cruelty to animals. To report suspected animal neglect or abuse, contact the following agencies:
- Medicine Hat Bylaw Services (Within the City of Medicine Hat) at 403-529-8400
- Alberta SPCA (Outside of the City of Medicine Hat) 1-800-455-9003
What is Abuse?
Lack of Food, Water and/or Shelter
This is the most common form of abuse that our constables investigate. A vehicle is not considered adequate shelter at any time of year. An adequate shelter must be available to protect the animal from the following elements:
- In the summer, the shelter must provide relief from sun and heat.
- In the winter, it must protect the animal from snow, wind, and cold weather.
Leaving an Animal in a Hot or Cold Vehicle: The inside temperature of a vehicle can become extreme within a matter of minutes. This is the topic of the majority of calls we receive during the summer and winter months, as pet owners often fail to realize that a vehicle acts as an oven or a refrigerator, depending on the time of year.
On a warm day, in only 10 minutes, temperatures in your vehicle can soar to 39°C (100°F). Even with your car parked in the shade or with the window open a crack on a sunny day, that’s hot enough to cause severe brain damage or even death.
Your pet does not sweat like you do. A hot car interferes with a pet’s normal cooling process, that is, evaporation through panting. With nothing but overheated air to breathe, an animal can last only a short time before suffering irreparable brain damage or even death.
On a cold day, a vehicle chills quickly because of a lack of insulation.
Failure to Provide Care: This also applies to veterinary care, if required.
- This is a Criminal Code offence.
It is very important for pet owners to give appropriate care and attention to (i.e. spend time with) their pet. Unfortunately, current legislation does not address neglect issues, so we are unable to charge under this category unless we can prove that physical distress occurred due to these circumstances.
The following items fall under the category of neglect:
- Dirty conditions: An animal should not be forced to stand or lie in its own excrement
- Short lead length: If a dog is kept tied, it should have enough room to move freely and not be forced to stand or lie in its own excrement. Dogs should not be tied with choker collars because they may become tangled and choke themselves.