In order to improve the welfare of companion animals, the animal welfare community and the public at large need to know the number of animals in shelters and what the outcome is for these animals after they are admitted.
Humane Canada™, formerly known as the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, gathers data on the number of animals entering humane society and SPCA shelters as well as the numbers adopted, returned to their owners or euthanized. This information provides a national picture of the important role shelters play in their communities.
Humane Canada's™ Canadian Animal Shelter Statistics represent the best available information about companion animals in Canadian shelters. Reports from 2017 and earlier are available for download below, along with a year-by-year comparison document that shows sheltering trends over time.
Click on the images below to download our reports.
2018 Canadian Animal Shelter Statistics Report
2017 Canadian Animal Shelter Statistics Report
Note that the 2016 Canadian Animal Shelter Statistics were published in our most recent Cats in Canada report, which you can find here. The report includes statistics on both cats and dogs.
2015 Canadian Animal Shelter Statistics Report
2014 Canadian Animal Shelter Statistics Report
2013 Canadian Animal Shelter Statistics Report
2012 Canadian Animal Shelter Statistics Report
Download this yearly comparison document to see upward and downward trends in Canadian sheltering outcomes for cats and dogs over the years.
Halloween is a fun time of year for humans, but it isn't always the case for pets. A parade of strangers in even stranger outfits ringing the doorbell can cause anxiety, and there are a number of threats to them – human and otherwise – on Halloween night.
Follow these safety tips below for a safer and happier Halloween for your pets.
Keep your pets away from chocolate. Between visitors, store these treats where your pets can't reach them. Even in minuscule doses, ingesting chocolate can be fatal to cats and dogs. Make sure the kids in your life know not to share their treats with their furry friends!
Candies and candy wrappers are also unsafe for cats and dogs. An artificial sweetener called xylitol is a common ingredient in candy, and it's poisonous for most animals. Wrappers can also be a threat to pets, causing life-threatening bowel obstructions if ingested.
- Some people choose to give out boxes of raisins at Halloween as a healthier alternative to candy. This is a great idea for trick-or-treaters, but they are very poisonous for dogs and must be kept out of their reach. Same thing for grapes! Both are toxic for canines.
Want to offer pet-friendly treats for your furbabies on Halloween night? Consider wet food, extra-moist chewy cat treats, dog biscuits with peanut butter on top, unsalted and unbuttered popcorn, fruit or carrots. They'll love you for thinking of them, and it will help to distract them from human treats!
Keep a close eye on wires or cords for decorative lights – many dogs and cats like to chew on them and could suffer serious injuries as a result of the electrical current. Either tuck the cords behind furniture where they can't be reached, or watch your pets closely.
- Cats are drawn to anything interesting that they can chew, so glowsticks pose a threat to your feline friends. While eating glowsticks is not usually fatal for cats, it causes them great pain and irritation, as well as excessive drooling and foaming at the mouth. Put them away in a drawer or on a high shelf when not wearing them.
- In case your pets do make a break for it on Halloween night, ensure that they all have proper, up-to-date ID tags and/or a microchip in time for Halloween. If your beloved pet escapes and becomes lost, these forms of ID are the best way for people to know how to reunite you.
All the noise and activity of Halloween can trigger anxiety responses in pets – it's best to keep your furry companions in a quiet, closed room or covered crate during trick-or-treating hours so they don't get agitated or run out the open door. Consider a TV or some calming music to mask all the noise, and talk to the kids in your life about not scaring, harassing or otherwise abusing animals on Halloween.
- Pet costumes. Take note if your pets are resisting dress-up time – if so, respect their preference not to wear a costume. Show your furbabies how much you love them by avoiding these additional stresses on an already stressful night and try a thematic collar or bandanna instead. If you're absolutely certain that your animals don't mind getting dressed up for Halloween, make sure that there are no dangly items like bells or buttons on their costumes that they may potentially choke on. Same goes for children's costumes – animals like to attack dangly things. And remember that your pets may not recognize you in costume!
Animal welfare organizations and veterinarians widely agree that a key solution to the crisis of overpopulation and homelessness of companion animals is accessible, affordable spay/neuter surgery. Furthermore, accessible spay/neuter initiatives have positive outcomes for public health and safety, which translates to reduced public spending.
Read the Humane Canada position statement on spay/neuter here.
Humane Canada's report, The Case for Accessible Spay/Neuter in Canada, lays out the evidence for these benefits and savings, and provides examples of successful initiatives that can be modeled in other communities. The report also makes recommendations for how animal welfare organizations, the veterinary community and governments to advance accessible spay/neuter.
Click on a heading to download each document:
"The invaluable information gathered in this report provides the foundation for all stakeholders to move forward working together to reduce the number of homeless and stray pets and, ultimately, end the need for euthanasia as a means of population control. By working in partnership, veterinarians, municipalities and animal welfare groups can spearhead efforts through accessible spay/neuter programs to create communities that are safe for everyone – both animals and people.” -Lisa Koch, Executive Director, Regina Humane Society
Take action to advocate for accessible spay/neuter in your community
This section provides tools for you to advocate for accessible spay/neuter initiatives in your community by raising awareness of this critical animal welfare issue with local media and politicians. Key messages for meetings and interviews are provided, along with templates for letters and presentations to decision-makers.
Click on a heading to download each document:
This section provides tools to help you implement accessible spay/neuter initiatives in your community.
"We experience the reality of pet overpopulation every day at our shelter. We firmly believe the key solution that will end the cycle of shelter overcrowding and unnecessary euthanasia will be providing greater opportunities for more pet owners to spay and neuter their pets. We intend to use this report to help ensure that becomes a reality in our province in the very near future.” - Kelly Mullaly, Former Executive Director, PEI Humane Society
Below are some inspiring public service announcements and documentary videos about spay/neuter.
Alberta Spay/Neuter Task Force
Cote Saint-Luc Cats Committee
Community Collaborations for the Advancement of Accessible Spay/Neuter
Presented by Kathy Innocente, Animal Care Manager, and LeeAnn Sealey, Clinic Director
This session will focus on the challenges and successes that shelters may face in collaborating with community veterinarians and rescue organizations. The webinar will share perspectives from both an animal welfare organization and veterinary point of view. Learn what worked and what didn’t, and what they are still learning today.
The Alberta Spay/Neuter Task Force: A Community-Based Solution for Managing Companion Animal Populations
Presented by: Nancy Larsen, President and Co-founder and R.J. Bailot, Executive Director and Co-founder of the Alberta Spay/Neuter Task Force
The Alberta Spay/Neuter Task Force (ASNTF) is a dedicated and compassionate team of volunteer veterinarians, animal health technologists and general volunteers that provide pro-active, community based pet wellness clinics for areas that are experiencing pet overpopulation issues, including First Nation communities. ASNTF’s primary goal is to improve the health and well-being of the dogs and cats in the community and to reduce human health issues that have resulted from this pet overpopulation. The Task Force has the ability to set up a MASH-type surgical unit in a school gym, community centre or other venue within the community to spay and neuter up to 420 animals over one weekend.
Saving Lives Through Prevention: Getting Serious about Cat Spay/Neuter
Presented by: Amy Morris, Manager, Public Policy and Outreach, BC SPCA
This session for sheltering organizations focuses on making an effective transition to a prevention model, specifically around spaying and neutering. It reviews the importance of partnership, technology and data, and effective messaging to create long-term societal change. The webinar uses concrete examples to help you take your spay/neuter program from feeling like a drop in a bucket towards an empty shelter!
Funding for this project was generously provided by PetSmart Charities of Canada.
Special thanks to Lisa Koch of Regina Humane Society for her extraordinary contribution to this project.
We would also like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their contributions:
AASAO; Airport Animal Hospital, Regina SK; Alberta Animal Services; Alberta Spay/Neuter Task Force; ASPCA; BC SPCA; Dr. Johanna Booth, Toronto Animal Services / Toronto Street Cats; Calgary Humane Society; Kelly Campbell, PetSmart Charities; Lorne Chow, City of Regina; City of Ottawa Spay/Neuter Clinic; City of Regina; Canadian Veterinary Medical Association; Edmonton Humane Society; Sandra Flemming, Nova Scotia SPCA; Fredericton SPCA; Guelph Humane Society; Humane Alliance; Kelly Mullaly; Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society; Meow Foundation; Montreal SPCA; Newfoundland Department of Natural Resources; Ontario SPCA; Stephanie Rigby, Prince Edward Island Humane Society; Saskatoon SPCA; SpayAid PEI; Spay Day HRM; University of Guelph Library; Winnipeg Humane Society.
Finally, thank you to our celebrity spokescats Tiny (Fredericton SPCA) and Earl Grey (Spay Day HRM).
Project documents were translated by Pierre René de Cotret.
Design work for this project was provided by: Lola Design and Phil Communications.
Support Humane Canada today so we can create more critical resources like this toolkit!
Companion animals play a huge role in the lives of Canadians, and Humane Canada is dedicated to developing projects, programs and research focused on companion animal welfare.
Research and Reports
Humane Canada conducts vital companion animal research, publishing reports on key issues affecting companion animals.
In 2017, Humane Canada reconvened the National Cat Overpopulation Task Force and completed a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder report on cat overpopulation. This is a five-year update on our ground-breaking 2012 analysis of cat welfare in Canada – the first report of its kind. Read the Cats in Canada 2017 report. It is available in English and French.
In 2016, Humane Canada released Humane Societies and SPCAs in Canada. This is the first comprehensive analysis of Canada’s sector of humane societies and SPCAs. It uses data from a cross-Canada survey and the Canada Revenue Agency’s Registered Charity Information Returns to look a:
- The sector’s contributions to Canadian society,
- The volunteer and financial support it receives
- Some of the challenges it faces.
Humane Canada gathers annual statistics on Canadian shelter animals, which measures outcomes at Canada’s humane societies and SPCAs and provides a national picture of shelter animal welfare. This information provides a national picture of the important role shelters play in their communities. We publish this data annually in the Animal Shelter Statistics Report.
In 2013, Humane Canada brought together animal shelter thought leaders and stakeholders from across the country to establish Canadian animal shelter standards. The group accepted the principles of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ (ASV) Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters as a foundational document and contextualized the document for use in Canada. The Canadian document must always be read as a companion to the ASV Shelter Standards. Download both documents.
Projects and Programs
Humane Canada partnered with the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program to bring Capacity for Care (C4C) to six pilot shelters between 2013 and 2016. C4C is an operations and management model that helps shelters better meet the needs of the animals in their facility, which significantly improves outcomes.
Programs like C4C change the way shelters do business and saves lives in the process. Recent statistics show that, depending on the shelter, we have seen a decrease in the number of sick cats by up to 87%, decreased cats’ length of stay at the shelter by 51% and decreased euthanasia due to illness by 63%.
Read about our three-year Capacity for Care pilot project (2014-2017), in which we implemented C4C in six animal shelters across Canada.
Committees and Councils
As Canada's trusted voice for animal welfare, Humane Canada advocates on behalf of animals to the public, industry, and government by sitting on multiple committees and councils.
Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association Animal Welfare Committee
Humane Canada is an Ex-Officio member of the Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association (CVMA) - Animal Welfare Committee. This committee promotes key animal welfare issues within the animal industry to government and the public. We also advise the CVMA on animal welfare issues and aid in the development of pertinent position statements.
The National Companion Animal Coalition (NCAC)
Formed in 1996, the NCAC promotes socially-responsible pet ownership and enhance the health and well-being of companion animals. In 2004, Humane Canada was instrumental in the NCAC's harmonization of microchip systems for companion animals in Canada. Read more about harmonized microchip systems.