Vision Statement Revised

Background and History

The Nova Scotia SPCA is a compassionate group of community-minded people. Our organization, through perseverance and integrity, provides life-saving and meaningful services for companion animals throughout Nova Scotia.

Since our incorporation in 1877, the Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (to Animals) (NS SPCA), has undergone several regulatory changes in relation to the services we provide.

In 2008, the Animal Protection Act (Act to Protect Animals and to Aid Animals that are in Distress) gave the NS SPCA legislative power to enforce animal protection laws, and provided an effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals across the province. Through visionary leadership and deep-rooted community engagement, we have proudly transitioned from our historic roots as a multi-faceted human and animal humane organization to our current position as the province’s highly respected, recognized leader in animal welfare.

Who We Are

With our corporate headquarters in Dartmouth, and locations in Dartmouth, Cape Breton, Colchester, Kings, Pictou, Yarmouth, Antigonish, Hants, Digby (LaBaie), Queens, and Lunenburg, we continue to grow, increasing our influence, experience, and expertise.

Investigative units now have greater regional coverage, and we are partnering with municipalities to provide animal control services throughout the province. All NS SPCA shelters and fosters have merged under one umbrella. We recognize and celebrate the unique and diverse histories of the rural and urban communities that organized branches over the years across the province, and we welcome the collaborative opportunities this brings us today as a stronger, unified organization.

What We Do

We provide shelter, medical care, rehabilitation, spay & neuter services and re-homing opportunities for thousands of abused, neglected, injured, and abandoned animals every year. Over the next five years, we will work to achieve more sustainable funding, so we can continue to grow our capacity and fundraising capabilities, improve our advocacy and education programs, and increase our volunteer engagement.

Our governance model, policies, and by-laws continue to evolve and our internal communications are more frequent and relevant, building a more cohesive and consistent environment among all branches. External communications, particularly through social media, have given a ‘face’ to our mission.

Our purpose remains strong, consistent, and clear.

More Valuable Information

The 5 freedoms are a set of internationally recognized animal welfare standards. These five freedoms outline what we as animal owners and carers must provide. They are not just things we want to do for our animals, but also things we must do in order to be responsible owners. The five freedoms are:


All animals deserve access to clean water and a well-balanced, nutritious diet. Freedom from hunger and thirst provides for animals most basic needs by allowing that animal to remain in good health and full of vitality.


All animals should live in an appropriate environment. The conditions and surroundings given to an animal contribute to its overall well-being. By providing an animal with shelter and a comfortable resting area, you are ensuring that the animal remains healthy and happy.


All animals should be entitled to immediate veterinary attention when sick or injured. To avoid unnecessary suffering, animals should be taken to a vet when sick or injured and treated accordingly. In certain cases unneccesary pain and injury can be prevented through regular visits to a vet.


All animals should be allowed to express normal behaviours. A normal behaviour is the way an animal acts in its natural environment. Enough space, proper shelter and housing as well as company of the animals own kind encourages the expression of normal behaviours.


All animals deserve to be happy. Ensuring conditions that avoid unnecessary anxiety and stress will help to provide freedom from mental suffering. While favourable physical conditions are essential, appropriate mental conditions are also important to good animal welfare. Of course, no freedom is enough in isolation and as such we must provide our animals with the 5 freedoms all the time, so they can live happy and healthy lives.

Animal Protection Act

The 5 freedoms are also an important part of the Animal Protection Act which is enforced by the Nova Scotia SPCA Inspectors around the Province. They are often the first things our Inspectors look for when they visit a property after receiving an animal welfare complaint. If they find that the animals are not receiving these needs, they will try and work with the owners to help them understand their obligations, and help improve the lives of the animals. If the situation is very serious they may need to remove the animals from the property, and in cases of abuse proceed with a prosecution.
The Nova Scotia SPCA works with communities across the province to prevent cruelty and encourage the humane treatment of all animals. This means rescuing animals in need, providing medical care, and affection and shelter. It also means prosecuting people who deliberately harm animals, and working with offenders to ensure that it does not happen again. We at the Nova Scotia SPCA do everything we can to ensure that all animals in Nova Scotia – from Yarmouth to Sydney – are being looked after. Like you, we want everyone to know how to look after their animals and give them the care and respect they deserve.

Animal Protection Act

A large part of our work is helping animal owners to abide by the Animal Protection Act. The act has new regulations and we have been working hard to achieve real change through improved welfare standards, which ultimately improves the lives of animals across Nova Scotia. We have worked closely with the Department of Agriculture and continue to make submissions to government when we see a deficiency in the laws to represent animals during both review of the act and its implementation. To report cruelty file an online complaint or call 1-888-703-7722 to let us know of your complaint immediately.

Prevent Cruelty

Report Cruelty by Calling 1 (888) 703-7722

The Nova Scotia SPCA Inspectors work on the front line seven days a week, 365 days a year, rescuing animals who have been in an accident, abused or abandoned. Last year we intervened on behalf of 3984 animals, investigated 1214 cases and removed 697 animals from harm.

There are thousands of animals in Nova Scotia who find themselves in harm’s way each year. These animals need someone to intervene on their behalf, to rescue and care for them, to ensure they can live the life they deserve and to prosecute animal offenders so they don’t hurt animals again. It is the SPCA’s Inspector team who are the first line of defence when animals have been in an accident, been the victim of deliberate cruelty, or have been severely neglected or abandoned by their owners.

SPCA Inspectors are on call 7 days a week, 365 days a year ensuring the protection of Nova Scotia’s animals. Our inspectors cover the whole Province from Yarmouth to Sydney.

The SPCA is the only charity with legal powers to help animals in need. We are authorized under the Animal Protection Act to protect all animals from abuse, neglect, and abandonment.
The Nova Scotia SPCA’s shelters are the first stop for all animals that come in to our care. Here we provide essential medical care to animals that are sick and injured, as well as routine health checks, vaccinations, microchips and spaying & neutering for all companion animals.

Health checks

Every animal is examined by our knowledgeable staff upon arrival. For many animals this can be a simple routine health check, but sadly for those with significant medical issues, getting back to health can involve intensive treatment, long-term care and in some cases emergency life saving surgery.


All animals are vaccinated before they are put up for adoption. This helps stop the spread of diseases like cat flu and parvo.


All companion animals are microchipped and registered. Microchipping is one of the best forms of identification and it means if that animal is found, they can easily be reunited with their owners.

Spay & Neutering

Thousands of stray animals come to the Nova Scotia SPCA each year. Only surgery will reduce the number of unwanted and neglected animals and reduce the suffering caused as a direct result. We spay and neuter all companion animals before they are put up for adoption.

Life saving surgery

The Nova Scotia SPCA funds all life saving surgery performed for the animals that come in to our care. Our staff working tirelessly with veterinarians to ensure the best outcome for every animal.


We are extremely grateful to our volunteer foster parents who provide temporary homes for animals who are recovering from flu, other illnesses, or surgery. These animals are given a quiet, loving temporary home to recover before they return to our shelters or off-site adoption locations to be put up for adoption.

The Nova Scotia SPCA provides a safe haven for animals with nowhere else to go. We give them affection, care and a roof over their heads until we can find them a new forever home.

Whether they have just arrived, are currently undergoing medical treatment, or are waiting to be adopted, every animal needs food and deserves a warm bed and shelter. At all of our Branches – staff and volunteers work to ensure that every animal is loved and cared for on their journey to finding a new home.

As well as food and shelter, each animal enjoys different forms of enrichment from toys for the cats, to play, to long walks with volunteers and time in outdoor kennels for dogs.

Matching the right home with the right animal is essential. A persons lifestyle, environment and experience with animals are all important factors that are considered before an adoption is approved. Our animal team and volunteers work hard to ensure that every animal finds the best forever home for them.

Adopting a new family member is a big decision, as it is a commitment to care for that animal for the rest of its life.

The Nova Scotia SPCA is the only charity with the legal powers to help animals in need and bring animal offenders to justice. Our Inspectors are authorized under the Animal Protection Act to protect all animals from abuse, neglect and abandonment.

SPCA Inspectors act as law enforcers to ensure the safety of Nova Scotia’s vulnerable animals. If there has been a deliberate act of violence or neglect, our Inspectors seek justice through the courts, acting as the voice for animals.

Animal Welfare Investigations

In 2014 our team of 23 Inspectors investigated 1,214 animal welfare complaints across the Province and intervened on behalf of 3,984 animals.
To report cruelty file an online complaint or call 1-888-703-7722 to let us know of your complaint immediately.

Education and Assistance

In many cases our Inspectors are able to work with the community to ensure the right outcome for an animal. Education and advice is our first preference as through education we improve the care of animals long term in the community.

Orders to Comply

Sometimes we need to provide more support with specific guidance or support materials to help people meet their obligations. Other cases require a formal approach with specific directions and instructions to comply.

Summary Offence Tickets

There are many ticketable offences and fines range from $200 to $700 depending on the offence. Summary Offence Tickets are like speeding tickets. They will typically be issued either on the spot or sent by mail depending on the situation and circumstances. Either way, the inspector will assess the situation and facts on the ground before issuing a ticket. Everyone who receives a ticket will have the right to challenge the ticket in court.

The Nova Scotia SPCA works to educate the public and to be the voice for those who are voiceless.

The Nova Scotia SPCA is currently considering the creation of a robust education program that will be uniquely designed to integrate into the Primary Curriculum subjects that our schools currently teach; making animal welfare a real-life, meaningful experience that can be applied to children’s personal situations.

Given the correlation between human violence and animal cruelty, the Nova Scotia SPCA hopes that the program we develop will not only improve the world for animals, but for humans as well.


Few issues divide the opinions of cat owners more than declawing. Most people know a family member, friend or co-worker who has declawed their cat to save their living room sofa from being damaged. Is surgical amputation that has no therapeutic benefit to an animal justifiable on the grounds of preventing damage to inanimate material possessions?

The Nova Scotia SPCA, and animal welfare organizations around the world, say no. Declawing is an extreme approach to dealing with a common feline behaviour.  In several countries, declawing of cats is banned under animal cruelty laws.

What is Declawing?

When a cat is declawed, it is not simply their claws that are removed, but the entire first joint of their toes to which the claws are attached, including bones and soft tissue. This is similar to amputating the first joint of a human’s fingers and toes. However, the result is even worse for a cat because they rely on all ten tips of their toes forbalance when walking. The pain and discomfort felt by declawed cats following surgery, and possibly lasting for the rest of their lives, may bring about undesirable behavioural changes. A cat may stop using their litter box because it is uncomfortable or painful to dig. A once friendly cat may start biting during play or interaction because they are unable to comfortably swipe or use their claws. Declawing cats also limits their ability to defend themselves during confrontations.

The good news is that there are many alternatives to declawing! For more information and educational pieces on declawing visit our animal care page here.

Hot Dogs In Hot Cars

It's too hot email signature - FINAL

Humane Education & Art Contest

Each year the Nova Scotia SPCA introduces a unique topic and we request creative submissions of drawings that are displayed during our AGM where guests vote on their favourites. If you are interested in having your class participate in future contests please contact us at or call (902) 835-4798 ext 223 and we will work with your school to make that happen!

Girl Guides Challenge

The Nova Scotia SPCA works with Elementary Schools and Girl Guides to develop the knowledge and understandings needed to create empathy, compassion, respect and justice for all the lives of animals.  The Nova Scotia SPCA is pleased to be working with Girl Guides of Canada to offer all Guiding levels a chance to participate.

Caring for Animals - Pawprints on Your Heart Challenge

The aim of this challenge is to promote awareness of the importance of caring for animals and the problems posed by unwanted and uncared for companion animals.
To earn the patch, you must complete 3 of the following activities in a manner appropriate to the unit level. Leaders are encouraged to contact the SPCA at Request a visit to a SPCA Shelter or invite an SPCA Volunteer to a unit meeting to talk about the work of the SPCA.
  • Discuss how you can be kind to animals
  • Participate in the SPCA Poster Contest
  • In small groups, make up and perform a skit that focuses on kindness to animals
  • Discuss what care people must take to make sure their pets are safe, especially in really hot or really cold weather
  • Learn about pet first aid or how to prepare your pets for an emergency
  • Participate in an SPCA event, such as the Bark in the Park or Alley Cat Bowl
  • Do some research about the history and work of the SPCA in Nova Scotia. Share the results with your unit.
  • Discuss the importance of spaying and neutering pets
  • Help the SPCA (ideas: make up a care basket of can cat or dog food or old towels; help at a Shelter or SPCA event)

To order your patches please provide the following information

  • Name of Unit and contact
  • List the three (or more!) completed challenges (comments welcome)
  • Provide the number of Guides and number of Leaders to receive patch (If multiple units complete the challenge together please provide the information for each unit)
  • Mailing address and phone number
  • Photos because we love pictures! Only include photos if you have the proper releases for them.

Please fill out the form below to order your badges or request a visit

Step 1 of 3


  • Required if requesting badges be mailed to your group.
  • Please enter a value between 0 and 100.
  • Please enter a value between 0 and 100.
Find more general educational information on our website under Pet Care.