Edmonton

City to take over animal protection duties from Edmonton Humane Society

The City of Edmonton will take over the role of protecting animals, after the Humane Society pulled out of the contract to enforce the province’s Animal Protection Act.

'Animals will be protected ... the city will not stand for anything less,' Mayor Don Iveson says

Council's community and public services committee agreed Wednesday to have the city assume responsibility of the Alberta Animal Protection Act. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

The City of Edmonton will take over the role of protecting animals, after the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS) pulled out of the contract to enforce the province's Animal Protection Act last week. 

City council's community and public services committee agreed Wednesday to assume the responsibility on an interim basis, starting Feb. 1.

Mayor Don Iveson said he wanted to make sure the transition doesn't interrupt service or investigations. 

"Animals will be protected in this city. The city will not stand for anything less," Iveson said after the meeting.

EHS said they don't have the resources to uphold stricter rules imposed by the province. Revised policies will require two peace officers to respond to animal abuse calls instead of one, and more training.

Iveson said the decision was unexpected. 

"This certainly snuck up on city council that the Humane Society was no longer interested in doing this," he said. "But city administration to their credit have got everything ready for us to be seamless on Feb. 1."

The city will employ their peace officers to do the work at least until March.

The EHS was already given $200,000 to enforce the rules this year. The city collects pet licence revenues and hands it over to the Humane Society to cover the costs.

On Wednesday, the committee didn't ask for that back. Iveson said he's counting on reclaiming the funding in March.  

"Obviously we're going to want that back — some portion of it anyway — everything related to enforcement in order to cover off what are now going to be city costs, at least in the interim."

The city operations department doesn't have a firm number on how much enforcement will cost but plans to report back in March with those estimates.

People can call police in emergency situations related to animal abuse and neglect. Non-emergency calls should go to 311, the city said.

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