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™, also 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.
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.
These national standards for Canadian animal shelters provide guidance on recommended practices for all aspects of care to ensure that the needs of animals in shelter settings will be met and that the animals will be treated humanely.
In 2013, Humane Canada™ brought together animal shelter thought leaders and stakeholders from across the country to establish Canadian 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 following documents are available for download:
Canadian Standards of Care in Animal Shelters - English
Canadian Standards of Care in Animal Shelters - French
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Humane Canada statement on recent incident at Edmonton Humane Society
OTTAWA - June 7, 2018 - Humane Canada is saddened by the recent incident at the Edmonton Humane Society involving three cats being accidentally left in one of the organization’s transport vehicles. Edmonton Humane Society has acted swiftly to review and change their transfer policy and procedures in order to prevent this kind of gravely serious error from ever happening again.
This incident highlights a need for an independent review mechanism for organizations that both care for animals and also enforce the law, as more than 40 per cent of Humane Societies and SPCAs in Canada are responsible for enforcing both federal and provincial animal protection laws. Edmonton Humane Society not only supports this but is actively working to determine what the process would be to access such an external review free from conflict of interest.
Humane Canada does not support recent calls to download animal protection law enforcement responsibilities solely to public institutions.
"For 150 years now, SPCAs and Humane Societies have been responsible for enforcing the law in Canada. In fact, they make up a highly specialized unit in this country solely dedicated to the protection of animals. If animal cruelty enforcement were to be taken over by the policing sector or any other public institution, we would lose that singular focus on animals and their welfare. Animals deserve more than that," says Barbara Cartwright, CEO of Humane Canada.
Humane Canada supports oversight and transparency. In partnership with Humane Societies and SPCAs across Canada we are developing national standards and a certification program for humane societies and SPCAs. Edmonton Humane Society is a leader in this area and we look forward to our continued partnership to advance animal protection in Canada.
Humane Canada is available for comment on this issue.
For media interviews or additional information, contact:
Communications and Marketing Manager
(The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies)
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Canada's Cat Overpopulation Crisis
Canadians love cats. They are still this country’s most popular pet.
While cats are actually found in more Canadian households than dogs, sadly, they do not receive the same care and consideration as their canine counterparts. Education about dog behaviour is prevalent, dog-owner responsibilities are well established in municipal bylaws and canine companions are highly valued by Canadians. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for cats.
In most of the country, there is no dog overpopulation and, in some areas, there is even a shortage of dogs for adoption, while cat overpopulation continues to challenge communities across Canada. The impacts of this overpopulation are serious and include cats languishing in shelters long term, or worse, succumbing to stress-related illnesses. For cats who remain outdoors, risk of disease transmission, as well as illness, injury and death are daily realities.
What are the root causes of this overpopulation? If cats are not spayed or neutered and allowed to roam outdoors, the result is a lot of kittens on the streets and in animal shelters. And without permanent ID, a cat who gets lost might stay that way.
But the tide may be turning. After months of ground-breaking and intense industry research, the Humane Canada™ (also known as CFHS) National Cat Overpopulation Task Force has released a brand-new study about how the issue of cat overpopulation has evolved in the last five years. In our newly released report, we’re seeing evidence that cats are starting to be treated with the level of care they deserve. Attitudes are shifting, spay/neuter rates are going up and we’re seeing more cats with permanent ID, like tattoos and microchips – which help them to find their way home if they ever get lost or separated from their owner. Overall, we seem to be shifting to a more proactive approach to cat ownership in Canada, which is encouraging.
The good news is that we’ve taken some giant leaps forward in cat welfare since 2012. The bad news is that it’s not happening quickly enough to overcome Canada’s cat overpopulation crisis. We still have a long way to go. Shelters in your area are likely still overwhelmed with the number of cats in crisis – just like almost every other SPCA and humane society across the country. And, they need the help of Humane Canada™ today, more than ever.
As our members deal with these issues in their local communities, Humane Canada™ is working at the national level to develop new and innovative programs to help them address overpopulation and its impacts. We are also tracking how these innovative approaches are working.
While the situation may be improving, the pace of change is still too slow. That’s why Humane Canada™ is working to engage even more stakeholders in this next phase of work to overcome the crisis.
Click the image below to download an English copy of the report:
Click the image below to download a French copy of the report:
Did you find this report enlightening and helpful? Support our work so we can keep expanding Canada's body of animal welfare research!
The Five Freedoms is a core concept in animal welfare that originated in a UK government report in 1965 and was then refined by the Farm Animal Welfare Council. It states that an animal’s primary welfare needs can be met by safeguarding the following five freedoms:
- Freedom from Hunger and Thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
- Freedom from Discomfort by providing an appropriate environment, including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
- Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
- Freedom from Fear and Distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
The Five Freedoms is a concept that is frequently referenced by animal welfare professionals around the world, especially in relation to farm animal care, and it is central to our work at Humane Canada™.