To report suspected animal abuse call the Ontario SPCA at 310-SPCA (7722) or email, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), your local Ontario SPCA Animal Centre, affiliated Humane Society or police.

If the animal is a stray please call your local animal control department found in the yellow pages. If the animal has been abandoned by its owners please call your local Ontario SPCA Community.

Ontario SPCA Communities keep the animal as long as space permits and an adoptable animal remains physically and mentally healthy.
Depending on the Ontario SPCA Community the adoption fee can include: Vaccinations Identification (e.g. microchip) Deworming Spay or neuter (dogs and cats) Carry box for cats

The Ontario SPCA takes the issue of euthanasia very seriously. It is only done when there is no other humane option available. Reasons the Ontario SPCA euthanizes include: terminal illness or injury where there is no possibility of recovery, behavioural problems that pose a threat to other animals or humans, stray or feral overpopulation, disease transmission, and old age where the quality of life is impaired by major loss of functions. Sadly, in some cases animals may be euthanized due to shelter overcrowding. Overcrowding threatens the lives of all the animals in our care due to stress, weakened immune systems and increased risk of disease transmission. This requires us to make difficult decisions about euthanasia based on health, physical, emotional and psychological suffering, and the best interests of the hundreds of animals receiving lifesaving care in a facility. We ask that pet owners place identification on their animals in the form of ID tags, licenses or microchips. We also ask that all pets be spayed or neutered. The pet overpopulation crisis can be managed with this one simple procedure. For more information on the benefits of having your pet spayed or neutered, visit Also, please contact your local shelter to learn more about adopting an animal, or fostering pets to help provide a temporary home to animals in need.

Each year more than 50 Ontario SPCA Communities provide care for tens of thousands of animals.
The average cost to care for each animal varies from several hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars depending on the condition of the animal brought to the shelter, any medical treatment or foster care required, and how long it takes the animal to be adopted.

Ontario SPCA Communities do accept owner-surrendered animals with a nominal surrender fee that covers a small portion of the animal's care while at the shelter. If you're considering surrendering your pet because you feel unable to deal with their behaviour, we encourage you to seek advice and training to work with behaviour problems before making a final decision. Most behaviour problems arise due to miscommunication between the owner and the pet (for example, pushing or yelling at a dog for jumping up only encourages more jumping), or when a certain need of the pet is not being met (inadequate exercise can lead to hyperactive and destructive dogs). If you are a dog owner, you may wish to visit the Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers' website to help find trainers in your area. (Please note: The Ontario SPCA does not endorse any individual trainer and encourages people to choose positive trainers who use methods that do not cause pain or suffering to dogs, but help foster a trusting relationship.) Veterinarians may also provide helpful advice or refer you to someone specializing in animal behavior in your area. Seek out "positive" trainers that will teach you how to motivate your dog to do the behaviours you'd like in a "positive" manner that enhances your relationship with your pet and builds trust. Avoid trainers who advocate the use of force, yelling, threats, punishment and violence. With a little patience and effort many behaviour problems can be resolved and you can be rewarded with a well-behaved animal and years of love and companionship.

In fulfilling our mission, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals strives at all times to provide its goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are also committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our goods and services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other customers. Comments and feedback regarding the way the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals provides goods and services to people with disabilities or to request a copy of our Customer Service Policy can be made by email to our Human Resources department at or by phone at 905-898-7122. To learn about the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005) legislation and standards, visit the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario.

Shelters: The Ontario SPCA is comprised of more than 50 Communities providing care and shelter for tens of thousands of animals each year. Inspectors and Agents: The Society Inspectors and Agents, who investigate cases of animal cruelty and neglect, have the same powers as police officers when enforcing animal protection laws. Under the Ontario SPCA Act, first decreed in 1919, the Society may intervene directly to rescue animals at risk. This unique authority is both our privilege and our strength. Board of Directors: The Society is managed by a voluntary provincial Board of Directors. This board has representation from appointees of Ontario SPCA Communities who have been elected at the Annual General Meeting. The Board of Directors is responsible for the Society's operations, policy decisions and budget control. Members bring with them a variety of expertise and experience and also serve on advisory committees that concentrate on specific aspects of the Society's work, recommending courses of action to the full board.
The Ontario SPCA and its Communities are charitable organizations that rely on the generosity of its supporters, including individuals, associations and corporations. The Ontario SPCA is not a government organization.
The Ontario SPCA (or Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the Ontario Humane Society are the same entity. Humane Society is a common term and is used by some of Ontario SPCA Communities.
Any Ontario SPCA Orders, or the removal of an animal under the authority of the Ontario SPCA Act, are actions that may be appealed to the Animal Care Review Board of Ontario. The Animal Care Review Board is an independent tribunal, with members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. An animal owner or custodian who considers themselves aggrieved may take advantage of this route of appeal. This is outlined in the Ontario SPCA Act, subsection 17.(1): The owner or custodian of any animal who considers themself aggrieved by an order made under subsection 13 (1) or by the removal of an animal under subsection 14 (1) may, within five business days of receiving notice of the order or removal, appeal against the order or request the return of the animal by notice in writing to the chair of the Board. R.S.O. 1990, c. O.36, s. 17 (1); 1993, c. 27, Sched.; 2006, c. 19, Sched. F, s. 3 (1). This information is clearly printed on all relevant Ontario SPCA forms, and includes the contact information for the Chair of the Animal Care Review Board.

The Ontario SPCA believes that: The Ontario SPCA must act to prevent cruelty and to encourage consideration for all animals. No animal should suffer. All animals should have a good quality of life and should be treated with compassion. The Society must advocate for improved animal welfare and protection. Those who abuse or neglect animals should be appropriately penalized. All animal welfare organizations should work cooperatively for the benefit of animals. The Society should set high standards for animal care, protection and shelter. The Society must educate the public on animal welfare. Dedicated and committed volunteers and staff are essential to the success of the Society. All those who contribute to the success of the Society deserve recognition and appreciation. The Society should serve the whole province.

“Animal welfare,” as defined by the Canadian Veterinary Medical As­sociation, is a human responsibility that encompasses all aspects of animal wellbeing, including proper housing, management, nutrition, disease prevention, responsible care, humane handling, and, where necessary, humane euthanasia. As an animal welfare organization, we believe that humans can interact with animals in entertainment, in­dustry, sport and recreation, but that the interaction should include provisions for the proper care and humane management of all ani­mals involved. We use scientific and legal arguments to promote and advocate for the protection of animals from cruelty.

“Animal rights” is a philosophical view that seeks to end the exploita­tion of animals and animal use industries, including the slaughter of animals for consumption, animal research, animals used in entertain­ment or education, service animals, working animals and companion animals. Animal rights groups typically avoid working with organiza­tions involved in these practices, and may employ confrontational methods to promote change.

We work cooperatively and collaboratively with pet owners, farmers, landowners, producers, veterinarians, and breeders on issues that affect animals, and we actively work with municipal and pro­vincial governments to ensure animals are provided with every possible protection under the law.

The Ontario SPCA is proud of being Ontario’s largest animal welfare or­ganization, and one of the most re­sponsive animal welfare organizations in Canada. Partnerships, based on professionalism, openness and under­standing foster a spirit of goodwill and trust that helps us achieve changes that may otherwise not be possible.

Under provincial law, the Ontario SPCA holds the authority for the investigation and enforcement of animal cruelty legislation in Ontario. This authority may be delegated by the Ontario SPCA to its Animal Centres and Affiliate Societies in local communities, but it is the Ontario SPCA that is ultimately held accountable to the government and public in the conduct of its legislated authority, and the conduct of local Agents and Inspectors.

The Ontario SPCA’s unique relationship with its Animal Centres and Affiliate Societies is critical to its lifesaving work. Animal centres, formed by the Ontario SPCA, are administered by the Ontario SPCA Provincial Office in Newmarket. Affiliate Societies, which include Humane Societies and SPCAs, operate more independently from the Ontario SPCA and are administered at the local level by their own individual Board of Directors. To maintain an Affiliate status, the organization must ensure that their policies, bylaws and goals are reflective of the Ontario SPCA and pay an annual membership fee.

By affiliating with the Ontario SPCA, Affiliate Societies gain animal cruelty investigative powers in their local communities, and the benefits of belonging to a province-wide network which brings animal welfare organizations together for the purposes of learning from each other, sharing best practices, and working in partnership to help more animals.

Affiliates also gain access to many of the programs and services of the provincial organization. The Investigations Department of the Provincial Office provides training, guidance, leadership, support and oversight to all Agents and Inspectors across the province. In addition, the Provincial Office provides Branches and Affiliates with animal care and wildlife education opportunities; administrative and financial support; legal services; public relations, marketing and fundraising assistance; information and resource sharing; and leadership on community and provincial animal welfare issues and shelter operations.

Animal Centres and Affiliate Societies are funded by the communities they serve. As charitable organizations (and non-government agencies), they rely on the generosity of their supporters, including individuals, associations and businesses. Donations made to the Ontario SPCA Provincial Office are used to support and strengthen the activities and initiatives of the entire network of Centres and Affiliates.

By uniting as “One voice for animal welfare in Ontario,” the Ontario SPCA and its Animal Centres and Affiliate Societies are able to accomplish many lifesaving feats that would otherwise be impossible to accomplish. The future for animal protection is bright as we continue to find new ways of working together and sharing our strengths!

The Ontario SPCA is an open admission, For Life, organization; we strive to accept all animals.

When entering one of our facilities, each animal is given his/her own animal care plan. The animal’s best interests are always at the forefront of all decisions we make, including adoption, foster care, veterinary care, transfer to other adoption centres or rescue groups or, in some cases, euthanasia.

Our staff are professionals who work in this field because they love animals, and the decisions they make are made for the good of the animal and of the communities that they will live in.

Our Animal Welfare philosophy leads us to focus on optimum solutions for animals in our shelters including high-volume spay/neuter services, adoption programs like Meet Your Match, animal fostering, animal transfer programs, humane education for the prevention of cruelty, enforcement of the Ontario SPCA Act and rescue & relief services.

The Ontario SPCA works in partnership with many organizations to ensure that optimum animal care strategies are available for communities across Ontario and we extend our programs and resources to Animal Welfare organizations across the province and around the world.

For more information on our Animal Welfare programs and services, please visit our website,

What is a “No Kill” facility?

The term ‘no kill’ can be a contentious one in animal sheltering and the term is used differently by different groups.

A true ‘no kill’ facility is one where animals are kept alive at any cost, and no animal is euthanized, regardless of state of health (including emotional health) or temperament.

Unfortunately, many of these facilities do not recognize that emotional and behavioural suffering is just as damaging as physical suffering, and/or will adopt out animals with aggressive temperaments who are a danger to the community.

For example, if an animal is physically healthy, but is showing signs of emotional distress in the form of behaviours caused by living in a kennel or cage for years, a true ‘no kill’ facility would keep the animal alive, without consideration for the emotional and behavioural suffering this animal is experiencing.

Ideally, the animal would be provided with in-shelter enrichment and/or the opportunity to go to foster care to alleviate the emotional distress, but this isn’t always an option for many facilities. Unfortunately, many of these facilities are more like ‘warehouses’ for animals, rather than safe havens.

There are other groups who refer to themselves as ‘no kill’, who actually will euthanize animals, thereby negating the term ‘no-kill’. Often these groups euthanize only for health related reasons and often only in the case where the animal could not live without on-going physical suffering.

Again, these can be places that do not recognize or treat emotional or behavioural distress or suffering.

There are also ‘limited admission’ facilities that often also refer to themselves as ‘no kill’.

These facilities pre-screen the animals admitted into their shelter, usually choosing not to admit animals who suffer from minor-to-major behavioural problems, aggression, or suffer from any illness.

These groups often take only the ‘easiest to adopt’ animals, thereby allowing them to say they are ‘no kill’ simply because the animals they take in are ‘easy’ animals to adopt back out again. Other animals who do not meet the admission requirements are simply referred to other facilities.

If a shelter has a “no kill” policy, it is important for the public to ask the shelter to define the “no kill” policy, so that the public may understand which definition the shelter is practicing.

The ASPCA has a similar philosophy towards “no kill” facilities:

”The ASPCA believes that unwanted pets deserve a dignified, painless death rather than suffer from such cruelties as malnutrition, disease or trauma, outcomes commonly associated with an unwanted and/or uncared-for existence. Similarly, long-term housing of individual dogs and cats in cages without access to exercise or social activities is not an acceptable alternative. Euthanasia must be understood for what it is: a last-step, end-of-the-road option to spare animals further hardship and suffering.”

For more information on the ASPCA, please visit

Ontario SPCA Multi-year Accessibility Plan

This 2014-2021 accessibility plan outlines the policies and actions that the Ontario SPCA will put in place to improve opportunities for people with disabilities with a focus on preventing and removing barriers to accessibility. This multi-year plan will be reviewed at least once every five years and will be posted on the Ontario SPCA website.  It will be provided in accessible format upon request.  The multi year plan is a living document and will be updated as required to ensure accessibility for all.

Statement of Commitment

The Ontario SPCA is committed to treating all persons in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in integration and equal opportunity. We are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner, and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the Accessibilities for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”).

Accessible Emergency Information

The Ontario SPCA is committed to providing the customers and clients with publicly available emergency information in an accessible way upon request. We will also provide employees with disabilities with individualized emergency response information when necessary.  Upon hire all employees and volunteers complete the confidential “Potential Emergency Response Barriers – Individual Plan Assessment” form which will determine if an individualized emergency response plan is required and will assist with the development of an individualized emergency response plan.  This form includes a mechanism to obtain consent to share this information with those designated to provide assistance in the event of an emergency.


The Ontario SPCA will provide training to employees, volunteers, and other staff members who deal with the public on our behalf on Ontario’s accessibility laws and on the Human Rights Code as it relates to people with disabilities. Training will be provided in a way that best suits the duties of employees, volunteers, and other staff members.

The Ontario SPCA will take the following steps to ensure employees and volunteers are provided with the training needed to meet Ontario’s accessibility laws by January 1, 2015.

  • Presently, all employees and volunteers receive training, and are required to sign off, on the Ontario SPCA’s Customer Service Policy, AODA, a current requirement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (Current and operational)
  •  By January 1, 2015 all employees and volunteers will receive training on the Human Rights Code  as it relates to people with disabilities and all receiving training will be required to sign off on this training  (Training to be developed and implemented by January 1, 2015)
  • Both the customer service training and the Human Rights Code training is mandatory for all employees and volunteers
  • Training will be provided on any changes to the prescribed policies on an ongoing basis

Information and Communications

The Ontario SPCA is committed to meeting the communication needs of persons with disabilities. We will consult with people with disabilities to determine their information and communication needs.

We will work with our vendors to ensure all new websites and content on those sites conform with WCAG 2.0, Level A by January 1, 2014 (completed) and will take the necessary steps to ensure that all websites and content conform with WCAG 2.0, Level AA by January 1, 2021.

We will take the following steps to make sure all publicly available information is made available upon request by January 1, 2016.

- Publicly available information will be available in at least 2 formats. For example material provided in a written format can also be provided verbally.
- We will accommodate any requests for alternate formats of information in a timely manner with the maximum response time being 10 working days of the request


We will take the following steps to make sure existing feedback processes are available to people with disabilities upon request by January 1, 2015

- All feedback and inquires will be accepted through written (email or letter) or verbal (telephone) or other formats if this does not meet the needs of an individual
- Response will be provided within 10 working days of the request using the requested format


The Ontario SPCA is committed to fair and accessible employment practices. The Ontario SPCA will accommodate people with disabilities during the recruitment and assessment process and when hired.

The Ontario SPCA will communicate our fair and accessible employment practices to staff and the public, as requested by January 1, 2016.

- Hiring managers will be informed through meetings and documentation on accommodating throughout the recruitment process
- Job postings will include contact information for applicants requiring accommodation within the recruitment process and will indicate that job and workplace accommodations are available upon request
- During the recruitment process, the Ontario SPCA shall notify job applicants, when they are individually selected to participate in an assessment or selection process that accommodations are available upon request in relation to the materials or processes to be used.  Human resources will provide support to Managers responding to accommodation requests.
-If a selected applicant requests an accommodation, suitable accommodation in a manner that takes into account the applicant's accessibility needs due to disability will be arranged
-Offers of employment will include accommodation language

The Ontario SPCA will take the following steps to develop and put into place a process for developing individual accommodation plans and return to work policies for employees that have been absent due to a disability.

- Develop and have in place a return to work process for its employees who have been absent from work due to a disability and require disability-related accommodations in order to return to work
–share this process with all employees - outline the steps The Ontario SPCA will take to facilitate the return to work of employees who were absent because their disability required them to be away from work
-use documented individual accommodation return to work plans

The Ontario SPCA will also provide accommodation and consider an individual’s disability within performance management and career development initiatives.

Design of Public Spaces

The Ontario SPCA will meet the Accessibility Standards for the Design of Public Spaces when building or making major modifications to public Spaces. Currently many of our public space are made accessible through:

- Accessible washrooms
- Accessible Kiosks
- Accessible doorways and automatic opening doors
- Lower counter to facilitate accessible devices

The Ontario SPCA will notify the public of any service disruptions in accessible parts of our public spaces and will offer alternative services.

For more information on this accessibility plan, please contact Human Resources at 1-888-668-7722 ext 341 or email

The Ontario SPCA is pleased to be working in partnership with Indigenous Communities to provide for animal well-being both in the province of Ontario and, at times, across the country. As invited guests, in partnership with the Community, we develop a multi-year plan to support animals which could include services such as Animal Wellness Days, spay/neuter clinics, trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs and animal transfer services.

The Ontario SPCA does not enforce provincial animal welfare legislation within Indigenous Communities. If a need for law enforcement arises, it is handled by other agencies. The Ontario SPCA has had various requests from Indigenous Communities to become acquainted with provincial animal welfare legislation and to establish community-based standards of care for animals. In these cases, the Ontario SPCA works with Indigenous Communities to provide information, training and support for any local‎ regulations they may establish to provide greater protection of animals in their Communities.

Defining a Complaint

1.Conduct of an Agent or Inspector

Making a Complaint

Only the person directly affected by the incident or whose animals were directly affected may make a complaint. Anyone from the public making a complaint should first speak with the officer’s direct Supervisor as a complaint may be resolved with some simple clarification.

A complaint must be in writing and must be signed by the person making the complaint and contain all of their true particulars (name, physical address & phone number). The complaint may be written in a letter but the Public Complaint Form must also be completed. All complaints must go to the Chief Inspector or Public Complaints Committee.

Branches and Affiliates that receive a completed formal complaint at their office may either provide the person with the information below so they may forward it themselves, or receive the complaint and forward it within 5 business days, noting the date it was received.

Off-Duty Complaints

A complaint may be filed about the conduct of an off-duty officer; however, there must be a connection between the conduct and either the duties of an Agent or Inspector or the reputation of the Society.

Time Limits

A complaint must be filed within 20 business days after the incident happened. Complaints made after the 20 business day criteria may be investigated depending on the nature of the concern.

Receiving a Complaint

A complaint may be received by mail, or email addressed to the:

Office of the Chief Inspector

Ontario SPCA Provincial Office

16586 Woodbine Avenue

Stouffville, ON

L4A 2W3


Public Complaints Committee

Ontario SPCA Provincial Office

Investigations Department

16586 Woodbine Avenue

Newmarket, ON

L3Y 4W1*

*(For complaints about the conduct of the Chief Inspector or any other correspondence intended for the Public Complaints Committee)

The Chief Inspector will ensure that a member of the Public Complaints Committee is advised immediately of any correspondence intended for the Committee.

If a complaint regarding the conduct of the Chief Inspector is received by the Committee the Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario SPCA must be notified immediately and will then continue to be part of the complaint process.

The complainant will be notified in writing that the complaint has been received. These notifications will be mailed within 5 business days of receiving the initial complaint.

Complaints that also allege criminal behaviour must be handled by the Police. The Chief Inspector or Public Complaints Committee will involve the Police when necessary.

Complaints that are filed with the Human Rights Commission will be handled by the Commission and this process does not apply.

Informal Resolution

Less serious complaints about an officer's conduct may be resolved by way of an informal resolution. This involves the Agent/Inspectors supervisor, speaking with the complainant and resolving the issue or bringing the complainant and subject Agent(s) or Inspector(s) together to hear each other's concerns. Such a resolution requires the mutual consent of the complainant and subject Agent(s) or Inspector(s), and the approval of the Chief Inspector or Committee. An informal resolution of a complaint is an option that is available at any time during the process; i.e., before, during or after an investigation. A Record of Resolution will be completed for this option and act as the written decision.

Withdrawing a Complaint

A complaint may be withdrawn at any time by forwarding a written letter or email to the Chief Inspector or Public Complaints Committee however; the Chief Inspector or Committee may continue to deal with the complaint if it is felt that the allegation should be investigated further.

Dealing with the Complaint

The Chief Inspector or Committee may decide not to deal with the complaint for one of three reasons:

  • Complaint was filed more than 20 business days after the occurrence which led to the complaint
  • Frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith
  • Complainant or animals were not directly affected by the incident

It must be determined within 20 business days of receipt of the complaint how a matter is to proceed and written notification will be mailed to the complainant advising that the matter is in fact proceeding.

Download the Public Complaint Form Here.

The Ontario SPCA maintains and enforces the Ontario SPCA Act; a piece of provincial legislation providing for the welfare of animals. The Ontario SPCA Act is concerned with the prevention of cruelty and strives to protect animals from people. The Municipal Act is a piece of provincial legislation which mandates municipalities to provide services within their local boundaries. These services encompass Animal Control and By-law Enforcement. Stray animals fall under the authority of the municipality, and the Animals for Research Act (ARA) is used to govern Municipal Animal Control practices. The Animals for Research Act is available at Many Municipalities enact animal control by-laws, including pet licensing. The intent is to protect people from animals, to provide for safe, clean communities and to have a system where lost pets can be recovered by their owners. Stray animals in a community fall under the jurisdiction of the Municipality. In some municipalities, the Ontario SPCA is contracted to provide Municipal Animal Control Services. In those cases, we are permitted, as an agent of the Municipality, to accept stray animals on behalf of the Municipality. In Municipalities where we do not provide Animal Control Services, it is not within the legal authority of the Ontario SPCA to accept stray animals. In these Municipalities, the Ontario SPCA will direct individuals to the organization providing Municipal Animal Control Services. There are very important reasons why we follow this protocol and why we encourage communities and individuals to follow the appropriate channels when managing stray animals. 1. The Ontario SPCA is a law enforcement agency. We maintain and enforce provincial legislation and we operate all areas of the Society within federal, provincial and municipal laws. 2. Stray animals fall under the jurisdiction of the Municipality. Only the Municipality, or the organization contracted by the Municipality to provide Animal Control Services, has legal authority over stray animals. When animal care decisions are required for stray animals, only the legal owner may lawfully make these decisions. 3. Stray animals are lost animals. To help reunite the owners with their pets as quickly as possible, it is important to go through proper channels.Municipal Animal Control is the first point of contact when you lose or find a pet. Ensure that your pet is licensed and has some form of identification (tag, microchip or tattoo), so that if your pet is found by or returned to the local Municipal Animal Control Services, they can contact you. Animal Welfare is a community responsibility and requires many agencies, organizations and the public, working together, in a lawful manner, to protect and care for animals. The Ontario SPCA is a province-wide resource in Animal Welfare and can help answer questions the public may have for animals in need. 

Under the Dog Owners Liability Act (DOLA), which falls under the Ministry of the Attorney General, Pit Bulls are illegal in the province of Ontario, with the exception of restricted Pit Bulls.

As a law enforcement agency, the Ontario SPCA works within legislation to provide the best possible care for animals entrusted to us.

Every dog involved in a DOLA case is assessed individually and a plan is developed to meet the specific needs of that animal. When we are working with an adoptable Pit Bull-type dog, we will look for alternative options for the animal, including transferring them out of the province where they are legal to own.

View the Dog Owners Liability Act.

CAZA is a national, membership-based organization that represents zoological parks and aquariums in Canada.

While CAZA promotes the welfare of zoological parks and aquariums, CAZA is not a regulator. For more information, visit the web site at

Some facilities have classifications that fall under different legislation.

For example, the Toronto Zoo and the African Lion Safari are classified as research facilities and fall under the Animals for Research Act, which is overseen by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). For more information, visit the web site at

Both the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre and the Toronto Wildlife Centre are classified as wildlife facilities and fall under the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). For more information, visit the MNR's web site at

In order to provide or facilitate wildlife rescue and rehabilitation in Ontario, a Wildlife Custodian Authorization is required. This designation is granted by the MNR.

Unique to the Wye Marsh is its designation as a Wetland Conservation site. This designation is granted through the federal government, so the Wye Marsh is also regulated through Environment Canada.

The Ontario SPCA maintains and enforces animal welfare legislation on behalf of the Province of Ontario. We do not license businesses nor do we oversee business operations. In Ontario, corporations are formed through the provincial government and business licenses are issued by municipalities.

The role of the Ontario SPCA is to ensure that all animals, in any facility in Ontario that falls under Provincial Animal Welfare legislation, are meeting the Ontario standards of care and are free from distress.

At the Ontario SPCA, we strive to find each and every animal that comes into our animal centres, a safe and loving home. Sometimes feral cats end up in our centres and cannot be returned to their original colony site, for various reasons. Once these cats are deemed “unadoptable”, due to their lack of socialization, there are limited options for them. The Ontario SPCA believes in finding an alternative home for these feral cats, by giving them “jobs” as working cats!

These cats are healthy, sterilized, vaccinated, microchipped, ear tipped and in need of a new rural outdoor home, such as a barn, stable, garage, or warehouse. Working Cats are not suited to be indoor pets and, as unsocialized animals, they have no desire to be lap cats. These are working cats, former street cats who are used to outdoor life, prefer minimal to no human contact, and who will happily tend to any mouse, mole, chipmunk, or vermin problems for the small cost of a bowl of cat food and water set out daily, as needed veterinary care and shelter in a garage or barn.

And because we spay/neuter these cats before they leave the Ontario SPCA, adopters never need to worry about endless litters of kittens!

Interested in adopting a working cat? Read the FAQ below and apply to adopt at the bottom of this page!

The adoption fee is waived. You will be responsible for ongoing veterinary care (as necessary), food, water and shelter.

When you bring the new cat(s) home, they will need to be confined to an escape-proof room or enclosure like a tack room, garage, or XXL dog crate for 2-4 weeks while they acclimate to their new surroundings. You will feed/water and clean the litter pan daily and provide a hiding spot during the confinement period. After this period of confinement, the cats will usually accept their new home and may be released. You will continue to provide daily food and water and allow them access to shelter such as your barn or garage.

Yes. All working cats come spayed or neutered, current on vaccinations, microchipped, ear tipped and treated for worms and fleas.

Any cat you adopt from the Ontario SPCA will be current on vaccinations. Following adoption, you will be responsible for keeping the animals’ vaccinations up to date and for monitoring the animal for any future health concerns that may come up. The best way to have feral cats vaccinated or examined by a veterinarian is with the use of a humane live trap.

No; the cats in the working cat program are not social, friendly cats or suited to be pets. They have no desire to be “lap cats” and cannot be touched, or may take a very long time to trust enough to pet. We strongly encourage adopters to offer cats in this program an independent outdoor life complemented by appropriate care and shelter like a barn or garage. On occasion, we may have a semi-feral cat go through our program that needs a special home – if you are interested in taking on a more “social” cat, please indicate this on your application.

The cats require shelter in a permanent building or structure like a barn, warehouse, stable, or garage in a suitable area where they will be safe. The property should ideally be away from busy roads. Daily food and water must be provided, as well as any future medical care needed. The cats must also be kept confined for the initial 2-4 week relocation period to ensure a successful transition to their new home.

Unfortunately, because we never know when we will receive a suitable feral cat for our program and we really try to match the right cat(s) to its most appropriate home, we cannot guarantee a time frame. We could be looking for a barn etc. right away and you will get a call the next day, or it could be months before we have the right cat(s) for you.

No; the Ontario SPCA does its best in selecting working cats and matching them with their appropriate home based on the individual needs of each cat.

Yes, possibly; if there is appropriate shelter for the cat, we will adopt out cats during the winter months at our discretion.

We always do our best to match the right cat to the right home, however, we won’t truly know until the cat settles into its new environment, whether its been a successful relocation or not. If the cat isn’t adjusting well to its new surroundings, please contact us and we will discuss it further with you. If the cat needs to be brought back to us, we understand and will always accept the cat back into our care. We would also consider a request to adopt another working cat if this were the case.    

Already have an existing OSPCA Insurance policy? Already have pet insurance? Comparing your pet insurance options?

Everyone claims they offer comprehensive and extensive pet insurance coverage for dogs and cats, but that means different things to different providers. That’s why the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society has relaunched its insurance program with the new SPCA & Humane Society Pet Insurance offered by Petplan®.

By partnering with Petplan, a leading global pet insurance provider, pets will get the best treatment they need when an unexpected illness or injury occurs. Not only will pet owners enjoy the peace of mind that they’re helping protect their animal friends, but they can also feel good knowing that a portion of proceeds go back to SPCA’s and Humane Societies, like the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society, to help pets in need.

To us, "comprehensive and extensive" means full coverage of hereditary conditions, veterinary exam fees, prescription medications and even alternative therapies. From puppies and kittens to senior dogs and cats, SPCA & Humane Society Pet Insurance offered by Petplan will cover your pet, no matter their age. Need dental insurance for your pet? This insurance offers comprehensive coverage for non-routine dental treatments, accidents and illnesses, including conditions like periodontal disease. And, representatives are available to answer your questions and file your claims 24/7.

To continue your support of the Ontario SPCA, please consider using our exciting new pet insurance. We value your relationship and are offering a $35 voucher to Paws & Give – the Ontario SPCA’s online giving store – for any new SPCA & Humane Society Pet Insurance policy you enroll in through this offer.


Coming 2019!

For more information about the AnimalSmart™ Humane Education Program, please email

Cut the cord on tethering 

The Ontario SPCA encourages pet owners to limit the amount of time a dog is tethered and to ensure your dog can move safely and unrestricted, allowing appropriate, food, water, shelter and shade.

While it is not against the law for dogs to live outdoors, the Ontario SPCA strongly recommends bringing your dog indoors and wants to remind the public that provincial animal welfare legislation requires that animals receive adequate care.

Animal welfare encompasses both the physical and mental health of an animal. As caretakers, pet owners must consider the overall well-being of their animal when making decisions about their care.

Pet owners are encouraged to observe the “Five Freedoms” to ensure the mental and physical needs of the animals in our care are met.

The “Five Freedoms” include:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst by ready access to fresh water and diet to maintain health and vigor.
  • Freedom from pain, injury, or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  • Freedom from distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
  • Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  • Freedom to express behaviours that promote well being by providing sufficient space, proper facilities, and company of the animal's own kind. Embracing the Five Freedoms supports the health and welfare of the animals in our care and provides adopters with the best possible insight into their personalities. That ultimately leads to more animals successfully placed in loving homes. 


Change Begins With You

Fit to be tied about tethering? Here’s what you can do to help keep Ontario’s pets safe:

    1.  Ensure your own pet’s needs are being met

Some breeds of dogs are suited for winter weather and enjoy being outdoors for longer periods. However, any dog that spends time outside needs to be provided with an insulated doghouse of the proper dimensions. For instructions on how to build the perfect housing for your outdoor dog, see our Ideal Doghouse brochure.

Additional considerations include:

  • Dogs with short coats are prone to frostbite and cannot endure cold temperatures very easily.
  • Aged, young or infirm dogs should not be outdoors for extended periods, especially during cold weather.
  • Dogs should be acclimatized to the outdoors when they are young and the weather is warm.
  • During severe weather, dogs should be brought inside to ensure their safety and well being.
  • All dogs require appropriate opportunity to exhibit natural behaviour and exercise. Tethering should be limited when at all possible to ensure their welfare.

     2.  Spread the word on social media

Please encourage your friends, family and coworkers to share this important message on social media using the hashtag #winterpetsafety

     3.  Contact your local municipality

Request your municipal council to enact a tethering bylaw to protect animals in your community who can’t speak for themselves.

Find your local municipality






Coming Soon

 For more information about the AnimalSmart™ Humane Education Program, please email