The New Brunswick SPCA doesn’t operate animal shelters or manage adoptions and surrenders of animals, but most of our regional and municipal branch societies do. See Contacts for the list of animal shelters in the province.
If you live in a local service district or a rural area of the province, where the NBSPCA is responsible for stray dogs and nuisance dogs, then call our hot-line number (1-877-722-1522). An NBSPCA Dog Constable will investigate the situation. If you live in a village, town, or city that has its own dog control bylaws and officers, then you should call your municipal office or dog control officer. If you’re not sure which applies, then call our 1-877-722-1522 number and the operator will advise you.
The NBSPCA doesn’t pick up stray or homeless cats unless they are injured, are in immediate danger, or are being abused. You should try to find the cat’s owner, or call the nearest animal shelter about bringing the cat in to surrender it. Remember, though, that cats with good homes sometimes roam for long periods of their own free will and may appear homeless. The NBSPCA also can’t deal with colonies of feral cats. In some cases, however, the organization Ca-r-ma (Cat-Rescue-Maritimes) can assist with feral colonies. See Contacts for how to get in touch with them.
Tethering dogs for an extended period of time increases their level of stress, protectiveness and vulnerability, as well as their potential for aggression. Keeping a dog tethered outside is not a violation of the New Brunswick SPCA Act, and the NBSPCA has no authority to intervene. Effective December 1, 2014, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (SPCA Act) will restrict province-wide tethering of dogs during the nighttime. The tethering of dogs will not be permitted for more than 30 minutes between the hours of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., unless the owner or person responsible is outside and within 25 metres of the dog. The associated fine for not complying with this restriction will be a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $200,000. Restricting tethering will ensure that dogs are not tethered 24 hours a day.
People disagree about what animal entertainments are acceptable. Social attitudes are constantly changing: entertainments that were once accepted, like dogfighting and cockfighting, are now banned. Horse hauls, circuses, and pig scrambles have all been controversial in New Brunswick recently, and activities from penned hunting and petting zoos, to horse racing and dog shows have come in for criticism. None of these entertainments are illegal under existing legislation (although horse hauls are regulated), and the NBSPCA has no authority to restrict any of them. Animal Protection Officers are frequently present at horse hauls, circuses, and pig scrambles, however, to try to ensure that no animals are injured and to enforce existing standards of care. APOs are careful to maintain their neutrality and objectivity in such circumstances, so as to maintain the trust, respect, and co-operation of all parties.The NBSPCA also has a responsibility to advocate for more humane public attitudes and stronger animal protection laws. In doing so it seeks a balance between progressive change and existing social attitudes. Finding that balance is particularly difficult with respect to animal entertainments, where passions often run high. The NBSPCA’s primary commitment, however, is to the responsible and efficient enforcement of existing legislation.
NBSPCA policy requires Animal Protection Officers to report the outcomes of investigations to members of the public who reported the case, if they request it. If more than a week has gone by, and you have not heard from the APO, please call the hotline number again and ask for a report. Remember, though, that APOs are legally bound to respect the confidence and privacy of the individuals being investigated, may not be able to share all the information obtained, and do encounter situations in which they have no power to intervene.
The NBSPCA is not allowed under provincial law to intervene with wild animals (unless they are being held in captivity). Please call the Department of Natural Resources; for the appropriate number, see Contacts.
If you’ve let your dog stray off your property, there’s a chance it has been picked up by an NBSPCA Rural Dog Constable (if you live in a rural area) or by a municipal Dog Control Officer (not connected with the NBSPCA) if you live in town. See Rural Dog Control for tips on what to do in the former situation, and visit our Rural Lost Dog Finder page. Contact your municipality, your dog control officer, and the nearest animal shelter. Do so quickly, especially if your dog isn’t wearing a license tag, so that it can be traced back to you. Under most stray-dog bylaws, you lose ownership of your animal after just a few days if it is not reclaimed. And remember you may have to pay a fine and boarding expenses if you reclaim your impounded dog.For a lost cat, check with your local animal shelter, put up posters, and advertise in the local media. Cats often let their curiosity lure them into garages and sheds, where they may get locked in. Get your neighbours to check their garages and outbuildings. Your city’s municipal workers may have information about cats struck by cars, whose bodies they have removed. Some cities have bylaws against cats that stray off their owner’s property; in those cases the cat may have been picked up by the local animal control officer. Call your local officer or pound to inquire.
Under the New Brunswick SPCA Act, “pet establishment” means an animal shelter, a pet retail store, or a kennel. A kennel is defined as an establishment where dogs are bred to be sold or boarded for money. The number of dogs you keep is immaterial under the law; what matters is whether you breed puppies and sell them. If you maintain a pet establishment under any of these three categories, you must be inspected and licensed by the NBSPCA. See Pet Establishment Licensing.Grooming businesses, veterinary clinics, premises that board and sell livestock, and riding stables are among the types of operations that are exempted from the pet establishment regulations. The regulations also do not apply to places where cats are boarded or bred.
The NBSPCA needs volunteers to serve on its committees and help in its fundraising and educational activities. Unlike branch societies and animal shelters, we can’t offer volunteers many opportunities to work directly with animals. For more on what you can do, call our office at (506) 458-8208.
The operators who answer calls to our hotline number (1-877-722-1522) are fully bilingual. In French-speaking areas of the province we make every effort to dispatch bilingual officers to carry out investigations and conduct pet establishment inspections, and we try to provide documentation in both official languages. Inquiries to our administrative office in Fredericton can also be handled in French (but your patience is appreciated, as our staff in the Fredericton is predominantly unilingual anglophone).
The NBSPCA focuses its work on the enforcement of existing legislation and the kinds of animal-protection situations that arise in New Brunswick on a day-to-day basis. We contribute to the national debate about larger humane issues mainly through our membership in, and support of, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.
Most NBSPCA officers work on an on-call status and are paid an hourly-rate as well as reimbursement for travel. Officers are required to provide their own vehicles. Most positions are essentially part-time, and most officers are retired or have other employment. There are currently only three full-time positions. If you are interested in becoming and NBSPCA officer, send a covering letter and resume to the NBSPCA’s administrative office in Fredericton, marked “Attention of the Chief Inspector.” We will keep your information on file, should a vacancy in your region arise. Experience with law enforcement and/or animal-handling is an asset, as are the interpersonal skills to deal successfully with potentially confrontational situations.