To report suspected animal abuse call the Ontario SPCA at 310-SPCA (7722) or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), your local Ontario SPCA Animal Centre, affiliated Humane Society or police.
If the animal is a stray please call your local animal control department found in the yellow pages. If the animal has been abandoned by its owners please call your local Ontario SPCA Community.
The Ontario SPCA takes the issue of euthanasia very seriously. It is only done when there is no other humane option available. Reasons the Ontario SPCA euthanizes include: terminal illness or injury where there is no possibility of recovery, behavioural problems that pose a threat to other animals or humans, stray or feral overpopulation, disease transmission, and old age where the quality of life is impaired by major loss of functions. Sadly, in some cases animals may be euthanized due to shelter overcrowding. Overcrowding threatens the lives of all the animals in our care due to stress, weakened immune systems and increased risk of disease transmission. This requires us to make difficult decisions about euthanasia based on health, physical, emotional and psychological suffering, and the best interests of the hundreds of animals receiving lifesaving care in a facility. We ask that pet owners place identification on their animals in the form of ID tags, licenses or microchips. We also ask that all pets be spayed or neutered. The pet overpopulation crisis can be managed with this one simple procedure. For more information on the benefits of having your pet spayed or neutered, visit www.fixyourpet.ca. Also, please contact your local shelter to learn more about adopting an animal, or fostering pets to help provide a temporary home to animals in need.
Ontario SPCA Communities do accept owner-surrendered animals with a nominal surrender fee that covers a small portion of the animal's care while at the shelter. If you're considering surrendering your pet because you feel unable to deal with their behaviour, we encourage you to seek advice and training to work with behaviour problems before making a final decision. Most behaviour problems arise due to miscommunication between the owner and the pet (for example, pushing or yelling at a dog for jumping up only encourages more jumping), or when a certain need of the pet is not being met (inadequate exercise can lead to hyperactive and destructive dogs). If you are a dog owner, you may wish to visit the Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers' website to help find trainers in your area. (Please note: The Ontario SPCA does not endorse any individual trainer and encourages people to choose positive trainers who use methods that do not cause pain or suffering to dogs, but help foster a trusting relationship.) Veterinarians may also provide helpful advice or refer you to someone specializing in animal behavior in your area. Seek out "positive" trainers that will teach you how to motivate your dog to do the behaviours you'd like in a "positive" manner that enhances your relationship with your pet and builds trust. Avoid trainers who advocate the use of force, yelling, threats, punishment and violence. With a little patience and effort many behaviour problems can be resolved and you can be rewarded with a well-behaved animal and years of love and companionship.
In fulfilling our mission, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals strives at all times to provide its goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are also committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our goods and services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other customers. Comments and feedback regarding the way the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals provides goods and services to people with disabilities or to request a copy of our Customer Service Policy can be made by email to our Human Resources department at email@example.com or by phone at 905-898-7122. To learn about the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005) legislation and standards, visit the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario.
The Ontario SPCA believes that: The Ontario SPCA must act to prevent cruelty and to encourage consideration for all animals. No animal should suffer. All animals should have a good quality of life and should be treated with compassion. The Society must advocate for improved animal welfare and protection. Those who abuse or neglect animals should be appropriately penalized. All animal welfare organizations should work cooperatively for the benefit of animals. The Society should set high standards for animal care, protection and shelter. The Society must educate the public on animal welfare. Dedicated and committed volunteers and staff are essential to the success of the Society. All those who contribute to the success of the Society deserve recognition and appreciation. The Society should serve the whole province.
“Animal welfare,” as defined by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, is a human responsibility that encompasses all aspects of animal wellbeing, including proper housing, management, nutrition, disease prevention, responsible care, humane handling, and, where necessary, humane euthanasia. As an animal welfare organization, we believe that humans can interact with animals in entertainment, industry, sport and recreation, but that the interaction should include provisions for the proper care and humane management of all animals involved. We use scientific and legal arguments to promote and advocate for the protection of animals from cruelty.
“Animal rights” is a philosophical view that seeks to end the exploitation of animals and animal use industries, including the slaughter of animals for consumption, animal research, animals used in entertainment or education, service animals, working animals and companion animals. Animal rights groups typically avoid working with organizations involved in these practices, and may employ confrontational methods to promote change.
We work cooperatively and collaboratively with pet owners, farmers, landowners, producers, veterinarians, and breeders on issues that affect animals, and we actively work with municipal and provincial governments to ensure animals are provided with every possible protection under the law.
The Ontario SPCA is proud of being Ontario’s largest animal welfare organization, and one of the most responsive animal welfare organizations in Canada. Partnerships, based on professionalism, openness and understanding foster a spirit of goodwill and trust that helps us achieve changes that may otherwise not be possible.
Under provincial law, the Ontario SPCA holds the authority for the investigation and enforcement of animal cruelty legislation in Ontario. This authority may be delegated by the Ontario SPCA to its Animal Centres and Affiliate Societies in local communities, but it is the Ontario SPCA that is ultimately held accountable to the government and public in the conduct of its legislated authority, and the conduct of local Agents and Inspectors.
The Ontario SPCA’s unique relationship with its Animal Centres and Affiliate Societies is critical to its lifesaving work. Animal centres, formed by the Ontario SPCA, are administered by the Ontario SPCA Provincial Office in Newmarket. Affiliate Societies, which include Humane Societies and SPCAs, operate more independently from the Ontario SPCA and are administered at the local level by their own individual Board of Directors. To maintain an Affiliate status, the organization must ensure that their policies, bylaws and goals are reflective of the Ontario SPCA and pay an annual membership fee.
By affiliating with the Ontario SPCA, Affiliate Societies gain animal cruelty investigative powers in their local communities, and the benefits of belonging to a province-wide network which brings animal welfare organizations together for the purposes of learning from each other, sharing best practices, and working in partnership to help more animals.
Affiliates also gain access to many of the programs and services of the provincial organization. The Investigations Department of the Provincial Office provides training, guidance, leadership, support and oversight to all Agents and Inspectors across the province. In addition, the Provincial Office provides Branches and Affiliates with animal care and wildlife education opportunities; administrative and financial support; legal services; public relations, marketing and fundraising assistance; information and resource sharing; and leadership on community and provincial animal welfare issues and shelter operations.
Animal Centres and Affiliate Societies are funded by the communities they serve. As charitable organizations (and non-government agencies), they rely on the generosity of their supporters, including individuals, associations and businesses. Donations made to the Ontario SPCA Provincial Office are used to support and strengthen the activities and initiatives of the entire network of Centres and Affiliates.
By uniting as “One voice for animal welfare in Ontario,” the Ontario SPCA and its Animal Centres and Affiliate Societies are able to accomplish many lifesaving feats that would otherwise be impossible to accomplish. The future for animal protection is bright as we continue to find new ways of working together and sharing our strengths!
The Ontario SPCA is an open admission, For Life, organization; we strive to accept all animals.
When entering one of our facilities, each animal is given his/her own animal care plan. The animal’s best interests are always at the forefront of all decisions we make, including adoption, foster care, veterinary care, transfer to other adoption centres or rescue groups or, in some cases, euthanasia.
Our staff are professionals who work in this field because they love animals, and the decisions they make are made for the good of the animal and of the communities that they will live in.
Our Animal Welfare philosophy leads us to focus on optimum solutions for animals in our shelters including high-volume spay/neuter services, adoption programs like Meet Your Match, animal fostering, animal transfer programs, humane education for the prevention of cruelty, enforcement of the Ontario SPCA Act and rescue & relief services.
The Ontario SPCA works in partnership with many organizations to ensure that optimum animal care strategies are available for communities across Ontario and we extend our programs and resources to Animal Welfare organizations across the province and around the world.
For more information on our Animal Welfare programs and services, please visit our website, www.ontariospca.ca
What is a “No Kill” facility?
The term ‘no kill’ can be a contentious one in animal sheltering and the term is used differently by different groups.
A true ‘no kill’ facility is one where animals are kept alive at any cost, and no animal is euthanized, regardless of state of health (including emotional health) or temperament.
Unfortunately, many of these facilities do not recognize that emotional and behavioural suffering is just as damaging as physical suffering, and/or will adopt out animals with aggressive temperaments who are a danger to the community.
For example, if an animal is physically healthy, but is showing signs of emotional distress in the form of behaviours caused by living in a kennel or cage for years, a true ‘no kill’ facility would keep the animal alive, without consideration for the emotional and behavioural suffering this animal is experiencing.
Ideally, the animal would be provided with in-shelter enrichment and/or the opportunity to go to foster care to alleviate the emotional distress, but this isn’t always an option for many facilities. Unfortunately, many of these facilities are more like ‘warehouses’ for animals, rather than safe havens.
There are other groups who refer to themselves as ‘no kill’, who actually will euthanize animals, thereby negating the term ‘no-kill’. Often these groups euthanize only for health related reasons and often only in the case where the animal could not live without on-going physical suffering.
Again, these can be places that do not recognize or treat emotional or behavioural distress or suffering.
There are also ‘limited admission’ facilities that often also refer to themselves as ‘no kill’.
These facilities pre-screen the animals admitted into their shelter, usually choosing not to admit animals who suffer from minor-to-major behavioural problems, aggression, or suffer from any illness.
These groups often take only the ‘easiest to adopt’ animals, thereby allowing them to say they are ‘no kill’ simply because the animals they take in are ‘easy’ animals to adopt back out again. Other animals who do not meet the admission requirements are simply referred to other facilities.
If a shelter has a “no kill” policy, it is important for the public to ask the shelter to define the “no kill” policy, so that the public may understand which definition the shelter is practicing.
The ASPCA has a similar philosophy towards “no kill” facilities:
”The ASPCA believes that unwanted pets deserve a dignified, painless death rather than suffer from such cruelties as malnutrition, disease or trauma, outcomes commonly associated with an unwanted and/or uncared-for existence. Similarly, long-term housing of individual dogs and cats in cages without access to exercise or social activities is not an acceptable alternative. Euthanasia must be understood for what it is: a last-step, end-of-the-road option to spare animals further hardship and suffering.”
For more information on the ASPCA, please visit www.aspca.org.
Ontario SPCA Multi-year Accessibility Plan
This 2014-2021 accessibility plan outlines the policies and actions that the Ontario SPCA will put in place to improve opportunities for people with disabilities with a focus on preventing and removing barriers to accessibility. This multi-year plan will be reviewed at least once every five years and will be posted on the Ontario SPCA website. It will be provided in accessible format upon request. The multi year plan is a living document and will be updated as required to ensure accessibility for all.
Statement of Commitment
The Ontario SPCA is committed to treating all persons in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in integration and equal opportunity. We are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner, and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the Accessibilities for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”).
Accessible Emergency Information
The Ontario SPCA is committed to providing the customers and clients with publicly available emergency information in an accessible way upon request. We will also provide employees with disabilities with individualized emergency response information when necessary. Upon hire all employees and volunteers complete the confidential “Potential Emergency Response Barriers – Individual Plan Assessment” form which will determine if an individualized emergency response plan is required and will assist with the development of an individualized emergency response plan. This form includes a mechanism to obtain consent to share this information with those designated to provide assistance in the event of an emergency.
The Ontario SPCA will provide training to employees, volunteers, and other staff members who deal with the public on our behalf on Ontario’s accessibility laws and on the Human Rights Code as it relates to people with disabilities. Training will be provided in a way that best suits the duties of employees, volunteers, and other staff members.
The Ontario SPCA will take the following steps to ensure employees and volunteers are provided with the training needed to meet Ontario’s accessibility laws by January 1, 2015.
- Presently, all employees and volunteers receive training, and are required to sign off, on the Ontario SPCA’s Customer Service Policy, AODA, a current requirement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (Current and operational)
- By January 1, 2015 all employees and volunteers will receive training on the Human Rights Code as it relates to people with disabilities and all receiving training will be required to sign off on this training (Training to be developed and implemented by January 1, 2015)
- Both the customer service training and the Human Rights Code training is mandatory for all employees and volunteers
- Training will be provided on any changes to the prescribed policies on an ongoing basis
Information and Communications
The Ontario SPCA is committed to meeting the communication needs of persons with disabilities. We will consult with people with disabilities to determine their information and communication needs.
We will work with our vendors to ensure all new websites and content on those sites conform with WCAG 2.0, Level A by January 1, 2014 (completed) and will take the necessary steps to ensure that all websites and content conform with WCAG 2.0, Level AA by January 1, 2021.
We will take the following steps to make sure all publicly available information is made available upon request by January 1, 2016.
- Publicly available information will be available in at least 2 formats. For example material provided in a written format can also be provided verbally.
- We will accommodate any requests for alternate formats of information in a timely manner with the maximum response time being 10 working days of the request
We will take the following steps to make sure existing feedback processes are available to people with disabilities upon request by January 1, 2015
- All feedback and inquires will be accepted through written (email or letter) or verbal (telephone) or other formats if this does not meet the needs of an individual
- Response will be provided within 10 working days of the request using the requested format
The Ontario SPCA is committed to fair and accessible employment practices. The Ontario SPCA will accommodate people with disabilities during the recruitment and assessment process and when hired.
The Ontario SPCA will communicate our fair and accessible employment practices to staff and the public, as requested by January 1, 2016.
- Hiring managers will be informed through meetings and documentation on accommodating throughout the recruitment process
- Job postings will include contact information for applicants requiring accommodation within the recruitment process and will indicate that job and workplace accommodations are available upon request
- During the recruitment process, the Ontario SPCA shall notify job applicants, when they are individually selected to participate in an assessment or selection process that accommodations are available upon request in relation to the materials or processes to be used. Human resources will provide support to Managers responding to accommodation requests.
-If a selected applicant requests an accommodation, suitable accommodation in a manner that takes into account the applicant's accessibility needs due to disability will be arranged
-Offers of employment will include accommodation language
The Ontario SPCA will take the following steps to develop and put into place a process for developing individual accommodation plans and return to work policies for employees that have been absent due to a disability.
- Develop and have in place a return to work process for its employees who have been absent from work due to a disability and require disability-related accommodations in order to return to work
–share this process with all employees - outline the steps The Ontario SPCA will take to facilitate the return to work of employees who were absent because their disability required them to be away from work
-use documented individual accommodation return to work plans
The Ontario SPCA will also provide accommodation and consider an individual’s disability within performance management and career development initiatives.
Design of Public Spaces
The Ontario SPCA will meet the Accessibility Standards for the Design of Public Spaces when building or making major modifications to public Spaces. Currently many of our public space are made accessible through:
- Accessible washrooms
- Accessible Kiosks
- Accessible doorways and automatic opening doors
- Lower counter to facilitate accessible devices
The Ontario SPCA will notify the public of any service disruptions in accessible parts of our public spaces and will offer alternative services.
For more information on this accessibility plan, please contact Human Resources at 1-888-668-7722 ext 341 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Defining a Complaint
1.Conduct of an Agent or Inspector
Making a Complaint
Only the person directly affected by the incident or whose animals were directly affected may make a complaint. Anyone from the public making a complaint should first speak with the officer’s direct Supervisor as a complaint may be resolved with some simple clarification.
A complaint must be in writing and must be signed by the person making the complaint and contain all of their true particulars (name, physical address & phone number). The complaint may be written in a letter but the Public Complaint Form must also be completed. All complaints must go to the Chief Inspector or Public Complaints Committee.
Branches and Affiliates that receive a completed formal complaint at their office may either provide the person with the information below so they may forward it themselves, or receive the complaint and forward it within 5 business days, noting the date it was received.
A complaint may be filed about the conduct of an off-duty officer; however, there must be a connection between the conduct and either the duties of an Agent or Inspector or the reputation of the Society.
A complaint must be filed within 20 business days after the incident happened. Complaints made after the 20 business day criteria may be investigated depending on the nature of the concern.
Receiving a Complaint
A complaint may be received by mail, or email addressed to the:
Office of the Chief Inspector
Ontario SPCA Provincial Office
16586 Woodbine Avenue
Public Complaints Committee
Ontario SPCA Provincial Office
16586 Woodbine Avenue
*(For complaints about the conduct of the Chief Inspector or any other correspondence intended for the Public Complaints Committee)
The Chief Inspector will ensure that a member of the Public Complaints Committee is advised immediately of any correspondence intended for the Committee.
If a complaint regarding the conduct of the Chief Inspector is received by the Committee the Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario SPCA must be notified immediately and will then continue to be part of the complaint process.
The complainant will be notified in writing that the complaint has been received. These notifications will be mailed within 5 business days of receiving the initial complaint.
Complaints that also allege criminal behaviour must be handled by the Police. The Chief Inspector or Public Complaints Committee will involve the Police when necessary.
Complaints that are filed with the Human Rights Commission will be handled by the Commission and this process does not apply.
Less serious complaints about an officer's conduct may be resolved by way of an informal resolution. This involves the Agent/Inspectors supervisor, speaking with the complainant and resolving the issue or bringing the complainant and subject Agent(s) or Inspector(s) together to hear each other's concerns. Such a resolution requires the mutual consent of the complainant and subject Agent(s) or Inspector(s), and the approval of the Chief Inspector or Committee. An informal resolution of a complaint is an option that is available at any time during the process; i.e., before, during or after an investigation. A Record of Resolution will be completed for this option and act as the written decision.
Withdrawing a Complaint
A complaint may be withdrawn at any time by forwarding a written letter or email to the Chief Inspector or Public Complaints Committee however; the Chief Inspector or Committee may continue to deal with the complaint if it is felt that the allegation should be investigated further.
Dealing with the Complaint
The Chief Inspector or Committee may decide not to deal with the complaint for one of three reasons:
- Complaint was filed more than 20 business days after the occurrence which led to the complaint
- Frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith
- Complainant or animals were not directly affected by the incident
It must be determined within 20 business days of receipt of the complaint how a matter is to proceed and written notification will be mailed to the complainant advising that the matter is in fact proceeding.
The Ontario SPCA maintains and enforces the Ontario SPCA Act; a piece of provincial legislation providing for the welfare of animals. The Ontario SPCA Act is concerned with the prevention of cruelty and strives to protect animals from people. The Municipal Act is a piece of provincial legislation which mandates municipalities to provide services within their local boundaries. These services encompass Animal Control and By-law Enforcement. Stray animals fall under the authority of the municipality, and the Animals for Research Act (ARA) is used to govern Municipal Animal Control practices. The Animals for Research Act is available at www.omafra.gov.on.ca. Many Municipalities enact animal control by-laws, including pet licensing. The intent is to protect people from animals, to provide for safe, clean communities and to have a system where lost pets can be recovered by their owners. Stray animals in a community fall under the jurisdiction of the Municipality. In some municipalities, the Ontario SPCA is contracted to provide Municipal Animal Control Services. In those cases, we are permitted, as an agent of the Municipality, to accept stray animals on behalf of the Municipality. In Municipalities where we do not provide Animal Control Services, it is not within the legal authority of the Ontario SPCA to accept stray animals. In these Municipalities, the Ontario SPCA will direct individuals to the organization providing Municipal Animal Control Services. There are very important reasons why we follow this protocol and why we encourage communities and individuals to follow the appropriate channels when managing stray animals. 1. The Ontario SPCA is a law enforcement agency. We maintain and enforce provincial legislation and we operate all areas of the Society within federal, provincial and municipal laws. 2. Stray animals fall under the jurisdiction of the Municipality. Only the Municipality, or the organization contracted by the Municipality to provide Animal Control Services, has legal authority over stray animals. When animal care decisions are required for stray animals, only the legal owner may lawfully make these decisions. 3. Stray animals are lost animals. To help reunite the owners with their pets as quickly as possible, it is important to go through proper channels.Municipal Animal Control is the first point of contact when you lose or find a pet. Ensure that your pet is licensed and has some form of identification (tag, microchip or tattoo), so that if your pet is found by or returned to the local Municipal Animal Control Services, they can contact you. Animal Welfare is a community responsibility and requires many agencies, organizations and the public, working together, in a lawful manner, to protect and care for animals. The Ontario SPCA is a province-wide resource in Animal Welfare and can help answer questions the public may have for animals in need.
Under the Dog Owners Liability Act (DOLA), which falls under the Ministry of the Attorney General, Pit Bulls are illegal in the province of Ontario, with the exception of restricted Pit Bulls.
As a law enforcement agency, the Ontario SPCA works within legislation to provide the best possible care for animals entrusted to us.
Every dog involved in a DOLA case is assessed individually and a plan is developed to meet the specific needs of that animal. When we are working with an adoptable Pit Bull-type dog, we will look for alternative options for the animal, including transferring them out of the province where they are legal to own.
CAZA is a national, membership-based organization that represents zoological parks and aquariums in Canada.
While CAZA promotes the welfare of zoological parks and aquariums, CAZA is not a regulator. For more information, visit the web site at www.caza.ca.
Some facilities have classifications that fall under different legislation.
For example, the Toronto Zoo and the African Lion Safari are classified as research facilities and fall under the Animals for Research Act, which is overseen by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). For more information, visit the web site at www.omafra.gov.on.ca.
Both the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre and the Toronto Wildlife Centre are classified as wildlife facilities and fall under the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). For more information, visit the MNR's web site at www.mnr.gov.on.ca.
In order to provide or facilitate wildlife rescue and rehabilitation in Ontario, a Wildlife Custodian Authorization is required. This designation is granted by the MNR.
Unique to the Wye Marsh is its designation as a Wetland Conservation site. This designation is granted through the federal government, so the Wye Marsh is also regulated through Environment Canada.
The Ontario SPCA maintains and enforces animal welfare legislation on behalf of the Province of Ontario. We do not license businesses nor do we oversee business operations. In Ontario, corporations are formed through the provincial government and business licenses are issued by municipalities.
The role of the Ontario SPCA is to ensure that all animals, in any facility in Ontario that falls under Provincial Animal Welfare legislation, are meeting the Ontario standards of care and are free from distress.