SPCA Pays New Brunswick Shelters to Kill Dogs

World’s longest covered bridge, Hartland, NB. I spent part of my childhood living a few minutes from this bridge, but I’ll never move back there now


I’m having a really, really hard time wrapping my head around this entire situation, but I’m going to give it a go.

Back in June of 2010, the Province of New Brunswick, Canada, passed sweeping new legislation that it refers to as its “Pet Establishment Regulations“. The new regulations define anyone who breeds, sells or shows dogs as a “kennel”, and requires them to obtain a kennel license.

Administration of this law has been left in the hands of the New Brunswick Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NBSPCA). NBSPCA should take in about $50,000 annually from administering the Pet Establishment Regulations.

The NBSPCA does not operate any shelters or do any form of hands on animal welfare, other than investigating cruelty cases. Instead,  they contract out shelter care to smaller regional shelters, doling out funds as required for the shelter’s operations. What funds they choose to disburse come with some pretty disturbing strings attached, as this article in the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal makes clear:

“We had an agreement that for each dog that these agents brought to us and released to us we would get a $60 disposal fee which would cover their vaccines, de-worming, checking for fleas and basic introduction needs.

“This year in the contract, the NBSPCA changed that from each dog released to the shelter to every euthanized dog we would receive $60 … That was unacceptable.

I had to read that a few times to get it to sink in, but the intent seems pretty clear cut – NBSPCA will pay shelters only if they kill the dogs the dogs they take in.

In other words, a non kill or even low kill shelter, who does its best to rehab dogs and get them placed into new homes, gets zero dollars from the NBSPCA kitty – and a pretty big kitty it is, since the NBSPCA also has the contracts for cruelty investigations in most municipalities, along with the fees charged through the Pet Establishment Regulations.

Refuse to play ball their way – the killing way – and it’s no contract for you, small town independent shelter.

I can’t help but wonder about the ramifications of a program that is essentially pay-for-killing. Does it become easier to ignore a mandatory 48 hour hold for strays, when every minute that ticks by is a minute you aren’t getting paid? Is killing owner surrenders almost as soon as they are done intake almost mandatory, if the money for that dead dog is what’s going to keep your shelter doors open? Why waste time with dog runs at all – why not just needle them as soon as they come in the door?

If shelters truly adopt a pay-per-kill protocol, are they still even allowed to call themselves “shelters”? Aren’t they simply, at that point in time, kill facilities? The ethical dilemmas that this sort of protocol opens up are myriad – I can only imagine the shiny faced new recruit who signs up for a ‘shelter’ job thinking it will let them work with animals, only to find out all too soon that their only real job is an endless stream of pink needle injections and corpse disposals. I must be particularly obtuse, because I simply find it hard to understand how a Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals can be, in essence, paying a bounty for the killing of them.  The New Brunswick SPCA has a page where you can apparently report cruelty to animals – maybe we should give them a heads up that in 2011, the wholesale killing of otherwise healthy pets is pretty much what defines the word ‘cruel’.

The Bathurst Animal Shelter turned down the NBSPCA contract, since it can’t abide by the NBSPCA’s insistence on ‘pay for killing’. Meanwhile, as the NBSPCA sits on $50,000 of municipal money, the Bathurst Shelter has almost 50 dogs in its care, 20 of which are puppies. Good for you, Bathurst Animal Shelter – but I hope that you can offset the economic impact this must be having on you. Over on their website, they have a long but modest wish list of things that they’d like for their shelter. If you’re in their area, maybe you could drop in and bring them a few things. I’m making May Bathurst Animal Shelter Month on this Blog – 100% of any Amazon sales profits will go to purchasing treats and supplies for the shelter, which we’ll have shipped to them.


On another note,  if you’re a raw feeder in New Brunswick, don’t expect to get a kennel license for your dogs from the NBSPCA. The Pet Establishment Regulations adhere to the CVMA’s Code of Practice for Canadian Kennels, which is not so happy about the idea of you feeding a home made diet, let alone a raw one.

Here’s what they have to say about raw:

Some dog owners support the feeding of a raw meat-based diet known as BARF (Bones and Raw Food, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods). However, a diet high in raw meat and bones is likely to be deficient in essential vitamins and minerals and almost certainly will have an imbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio, which, over time, can lead to weakened bones and fractures. The fat and protein in these diets is commonly higher than required, which can cause other problems. Feeding raw meat diets has health risks for the owner as well. E.coli, Salmonella and other bacteria are frequent contaminants of uncooked chicken, a common source of raw meat in BARF diets.

I guess all those kibble style pet foods that get recalled every other month for salmonella contamination are just figments of our over active, raw feeding imaginations.

hat tip to Arlene for her comments on the Yarmouth article, which led me to this one


4 replies
  1. Jan
    Jan says:

    This is despicable, but not that surprising as organizations that are supposed to care for the welfare of animals try to become efficient business models.

  2. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    I have found that in dealing with NBSPCA from a shelter viewpoint that they (NBSPCA) are only interested in the “Big seizures” that get them front page coverage. With animal cruelty comes mega donations as the general public is so outraged they want to do something to help…..which I find the NBSPCA does not!

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