About Us

For more than 120 years, the New Brunswick Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has worked to protect animals. It has promoted animal welfare, encouraged care and compassion, and worked to prevent cruelty, abuse, and abandonment of animals. It is a private charitable organization incorporated in New Brunswick, Canada.

About Us

For more than 120 years, the New Brunswick Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has worked to protect animals. It has promoted animal welfare, encouraged care and compassion, and worked to prevent cruelty, abuse, and abandonment of animals. It is a private charitable organization incorporated in New Brunswick, Canada.

Who are we?

Our History


Who are we?

Members of the public frequently confuse the NBSPCA with the local SPCA shelters.The NBSPCA is the umbrella organization for the SPCA movement in the province.  It encourages (and must consent to) the creation of local SPCA branch societies, in which there are currently 11.  All of these municipal and regional SPCA branches maintain animal shelters where animals in need can be taken and held for adoption. The NBSPCA itself does not operate animal shelters or provide adoption services. Branch societies are represented on the board of directors of the NBSPCA and co-operate with the NBSPCA but otherwise, they operate largely independently of the provincial body. (For a list of New Brunswick SPCA branches and shelters, see Shelters.) However, the primary role of the NBSPCA is to provide Animal Protection services for the entire province of New Brunswick which includes all domestic animals as well as agricultural animals (including livestock), as mandated by the NBSPCA Act. The NBSPCA is also largely responsible for providing humane education to the public and as well as animal advocacy.
In addition, the NBSPCA holds a contract to provide Dog Control services in rural NB communities and conducts Pet Establishment License inspections on behalf of the Province of New Brunswick, as well as independent contracts for dog control services for additional small villages and towns.
The NBSPCA main office is located in Fredericton, NB with 2 full-time employees to manage all operational functions (an Executive Director and an Office Manager) and 2 full-time employees to oversee enforcement (a Chief Animal Protection Officer and a Deputy Chief Animal Protection Officer). In addition, there are currently 9 full-time Animal Protection Officers employed throughout the province as well as multiple part-time/contract Animal Protection and/or Animal Control Officers, all of whom work remotely.
The organization is overseen by a province-wide Board of Directors which consists of a President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Members-At-Large that are elected at the Annual General Meeting, and representatives from each of the 11 shelters.

What We Do:

Report cruelty and abuse:

Call the NBSPCA’s province-wide, toll-free phone number:

  • 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Operators are fully bilingual.
  • Reports are investigated by the Society’s Animal Protection Officers (APOs), who also assist the municipal police and RCMP on animal-related matters. Under the New Brunswick SPCA Act, APOs have the authority to seize animals, conduct investigations, and (in co-operation with other law enforcement agencies and the Crown Prosecutors Office bring charges under the SPCA Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.

    Licensing and Inspecting:

    The NBSPCA is also responsible under provincial law for the mandatory inspecting and licensing of “pet establishments,” which includes breeding kennels for dogs.

    Note: The NBSPCA has no authority over wildlife.

    Dog Control:

    The NBSPCA provides dog control in the rural and unincorporated areas of the province and in the local service districts. The NBSPCA’s Rural Dog Constables derive their authority from the New Brunswick Local Governance Act.

    Complaints about stray or nuisance dogs in unincorporated areas should be phoned into 1-877-722-1522. See Rural Dog Control for more information about the dog control regulations, or how to purchase dog tags, or about what to do if you have lost a dog and think it may have been picked up by a rural dog constable. Note that the rural animal control service covers only dogs, not cats or other animals.

    Educate and Advocate:

    The NBSPCA also promotes humane education, advocates for all animals, works for stronger animal-protection laws, and co-operates with government agencies and other animal-welfare groups in the province and across Canada. We are members of Humane Canada.

    History of the NBSPCA

    The New Brunswick SPCA was incorporated by an act of the provincial legislature in 1881 after fifteen citizens of the city of Saint John had petitioned the legislative council for the creation of such a body.

    One of the first public acts of the new Society was to commission a drinking fountain for horses in 1882 that still exists in uptown Saint John, New Brunswick. As that action suggests, the chief humanitarian concern of most early SPCAs was with horses and their abuse. The modern SPCA focus on companion animals followed the decline of the horse for work and transportation in the twentieth century. The movement to found animal shelters (which mostly serve companion animals) also followed this shift of emphasis. Livestock and their protection, however, has been a continuing concern of most SPCAs.

    In 1911 the NBSPCA Act was amended to change the name of the Society to the “New Brunswick Society for the Prevention of Cruelty” and to expand its mandate to the protection of women and children. Not until 1958 was the name and mission of the Society in New Brunswick changed to again place an exclusive focus on animals.

    In 1961 Senator Frederic A. McGrand of Saint John, then President of the NBSPCA, appointed Brian Davies from Oromocto as a part-time Inspector. In 1965 Davies became the Society’s Executive Secretary, its first full-time employee.

    Davies’ leaving the NBSPCA in the late 1970s plunged the Society into a financial crisis. Although the Society maintained a small network of part-time Inspectors, funding was precarious through the 1980s. Many functions had been assumed by the larger branch societies, and the NBSPCA itself was relatively inactive.

    The 1990s brought a revival of government interest in the NBSPCA and in animal protection issues. In 1996 the Liberal government of Frank McKenna appointed an SPCA task force. Acting on the recommendations of the task force, the legislature in 1997 passed amendments to the SPCA Act. These modernized the act, set up the current system of government-sanctioned Animal Protection Officers (replacing the older inspector system), established the new APOs with the status of peace officers, and gave the government greater authority over the Society’s operations.

    Under Chief APO Paul Melanson, the corps of APOs underwent a rapid professionalization after 2000 (although most remained part-time officials). Exercising their increased legal authority, the officers launched a number of large puppy mill seizures that raised public awareness of the Society.

    In 2009 when the NBSPCA assumed the contract to provide dog control services in the rural areas, a service previously delivered directly by the government. In 2010, after years of advocacy by the Society, the government proclaimed new legislation establishing mandatory inspection and licensing of pet establishments (including dog kennels) and giving the NBSPCA authority for that licensing. In 2010 the Society established a province-wide hot-line that could be used by the public to report allegations of cruelty and abuse. By 2012, after a challenging decade of growth and change, the Society had attained a level of functioning and stability comparable to those of other provincial SPCAs in the smaller provinces of Canada.


    I want to adopt a pet (or surrender my pet) how do I find the NBSPCA Animal Shelter?
    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. You can find a list of SPCA shelters here.
    My neighbour has a dog that barks all the time and bothers me and the whole neighbourhood. Can you help me?
    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, you can call our hotline number. 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.

    A stray cat has shown up in my yard; will the NBSPCA come and get it if I call the hotline number?
    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 CARMA (Cat-Rescue-Maritimes) can assist with feral colonies.

    View their contact information here.

    My neighbour keeps his dog tied up is his yard all the time. I think this is cruel. What will the NBSPCA do about it?
    Tethering dogs for an extended period of time increases their level of stress, protectiveness and vulnerability, as well as their potential for aggression. However, keeping a dog tethered outside is not a violation of the New Brunswick SPCA Act, and the NBSPCA has no authority to intervene. Currently, 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 $140. Restricting tethering will ensure that dogs are not tethered 24 hours a day.

    I am outraged that forms of public entertainment that exploit animals and cause them stress go on all the time in New Brunswick. Why can't the NBSPCA do something about it?
    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 to try to ensure that no animals are injured and to enforce existing standards of care.
    I phoned the NBSPCA hotline recently to report a case of animal neglect. I haven’t seen any change in the situation. Will the animal protection officers get back to me to let me know what is going on?
    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 that APOs are legally bound to respect the confidentiality and privacy of the individuals being investigated so they may not be able to share all the information obtained, and do encounter situations in which they have no power to intervene.
    I support the work of the NBSPCA and would like someone to come talk to my school class (or church group or service club). Can this be arranged?

    Of course! We are always happy to speak to school classes and other groups. In particular, our Animal Protection Officers frequently deliver talks to school classes as part of our Dog Bite Safety Campaign. Call our administrative number (506) 458-8208, or email us at spca@nbnet.nb.ca.

    There’s a sick raccoon (or injured deer) in my backyard. Who should I call?
    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. You can find their number here.
    I’ve lost my dog (or cat). Has it been picked up by the SPCA? What can I do to find it?
    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.
    First, see Rural Dog Control for tips on what to do in the former situation and visit our Facebook page. Next, 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. Under most stray-dog bylaws, you lose ownership of your animal after just a few days if it is not reclaimed.

    Remember: you may have to pay a fine and boarding expenses when 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.

    What is a pet establishment anyway? Am I the owner of a pet establishment? Does it have to be inspected and licensed?
    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.
    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 currently exempted from the pet establishment regulations.
    My friends and I want to set up an SPCA chapter in our area with the hope of one day opening an animal shelter here. What do we have to do? Can the NBSPCA help us?

    If you want to use the name “SPCA” for your society, then you will have to apply to the New Brunswick SPCA to be recognized as an official branch society. We will want to see the bylaws you propose to operate under as well as other information.

    Once you are recognized as an official branch society, your group becomes a permanent voting member of the NBSPCA board of directors and takes on certain other rights and responsibilities with respect to the NBSPCA.

    We will be happy to advise you on the process of forming a branch, and existing SPCA branches will be happy to help as well. Contact us at (506) 458-8208 or at spca@nbnet.nb.ca.

    I want to help the SPCA by becoming a volunteer. What should I do? What can I do?
    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.

    Is the NBSPCA bilingual? Can I receive services in English or French?
    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.
    As far as I can tell, the NBSPCA deals mainly with cats, dogs, horses, and cows. What about other big animal rights issues like: animals in research, intensive animal husbandry, leg-hold traps, humane slaughter, protection of endangered species, etc.?
    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 Humane Canada.
    Can I work for the NBSPCA? Are you hiring Animal Protection Officers or Dog Constables? How do I apply?
    If you are interested in becoming an NBSPCA officer, send a cover 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.

    "An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language."

    - Martin Buber