The head of Nova Scotia's SPCA says the society does not have enough money to investigate a growing number of animal abuse complaints and might have to suspend its program unless it finds more funding.

Kristin Williams, executive director, said the number of complaints has increased and staff cannot keep up, even with increased fundraising.

The Nova Scotia SPCA is mandated by the Government of Nova Scotia to enforce the Animal Protection Act and to address companion animal welfare for the province.

It receives $3,000 annually from the Department of Agriculture.

The bulk of its funding is secured through adoptions revenue and fundraising programs.

Williams said she's disappointed the provincial government turned down a request for core funding of $100,000 a year.

"We do very good job for a very, very small amount of money," she said.

She said she's worried what will happen if the SPCA does not investigate complaints about pet abuse.

"Even if it's the Department of Justice the equivalent of spending by government compared  to how far we can make a dollar go is ridiculous. They would be spending millions of dollars to do what we do for quite frankly hundreds of thousands of dollars every year," Williams said.

She said her staff was prepared to investigate some farm animal cruelty complaints, but had to hand them over to the Department of Agriculture.

In 2011, the society said it conducted 1,608 investigations. The average salary for an investigator is $38,000.

Williams said about 75 per cent of people in Nova Scotia own animals.