Edmonton Humane Society to stop enforcing Animal Protection Act

The Edmonton Humane Society has decided to stop enforcing the Animal Protection Act, but no other agency has been named to take over investigating animal abuse in the city.

The Animal Protection Act enables peace officers to respond to animals in distress or animals that have been abandoned and to hold negligent owners accountable for their actions.

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The humane society said its Board of Directors voted to end enforcement on Jan. 31.

“This decision was made in early December 2018 and was a very difficult one for our organization,” EHS board chair Summer Bradko said.

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The APA is currently enforced by peace officers, appointed by the Solicitor General of Alberta and working at the Alberta SPCA, the Calgary Humane Society, and the Edmonton Humane Society.

The EHS said it has been voluntarily providing APA enforcement services within Edmonton, with no provincial funding. The agency said enforcement was funded primarily through donations and a portion of a City of Edmonton grant.

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“Upcoming policy changes under the provincial Peace Officer Act forced EHS to evaluate the viability of its enforcement program and whether the new requirements could be met,” the society said in a statement released Tuesday evening.

Global News has reached out to the province to clarify what changes are being made.

“EHS has been working behind the scenes to help facilitate the transition of this important service to another agency,” Bradko said.

An Edmonton Humane Society animal protection officer is seen holding Wyatt, the dog who was brought into their care after allegedly being left in a parking lot, in a garbage bag within a closed cardboard box.

Supplied by Edmonton Humane Society

It is not clear how the changes will affect the peace officers currently employed at the humane society.

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The humane society said it is not an expert in enforcement. It said the change will allow it to re-focus on their areas of expertise, which include animal welfare and advocacy.

EHS said it will continue to serve abandoned, abused and neglected animals by giving them a safe haven to receive proper care and a second chance through the sheltering services.

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The humane society said it is working with the city, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General, to figure out who will take over enforcement duties.

WATCH BELOW: Shaye Ganam and Erin Chalmers welcome some adorable Edmonton Humane Society kittens to the morning news desk.