NBSPCA reports animal neglect, cruelty cases on the rise in New Brunswick


April 182024

FRED­ER­IC­TON, N.B. The New Brunswick SPCA (NBSP­CA) is respond­ing to a grow­ing num­ber of ani­mal neglect and cru­el­ty cas­es in the province, with 2024 shap­ing up to be anoth­er record-break­ing year of ani­mal seizures and rescues. 

Tony Porter, NBSP­CA chief ani­mal pro­tec­tion offi­cer, said the 15 ani­mal pro­tec­tion offi­cers employed by the NBSP­CA inves­ti­gat­ed 4,000 calls for ser­vice in 2023. Numer­ous provin­cial and crim­i­nal code charges were laid against neglect­ful owners.

The last four years have seen a 27 per cent increase in ani­mal pro­tec­tion calls,” Porter said. In 2020, we had rough­ly 3,000 calls, and the num­ber of calls has since climbed each year. To date, we are up 149 calls from this point last year, which means 2024 is on track to be even busier.”

Porter said New Brunswick res­i­dents acquired more pets, par­tic­u­lar­ly dogs, dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic when more peo­ple were work­ing from home. With many peo­ple back to work­ing in-per­son, the NBSP­CA is see­ing an increase of calls relat­ed to aban­don­ment and ani­mals run­ning at large. 

Times are get­ting tougher, eco­nom­ic con­di­tions are not eas­ing up,” Porter added. The last three or four years have put sig­nif­i­cant pres­sure on pet own­ers. They are try­ing to cope with being able to afford hous­ing, gro­ceries and child­care. Some­times, ani­mals are not the top pri­or­i­ty, and they are not being looked after properly.”

NBSP­CA offi­cers are also see­ing cas­es where ani­mals are neg­a­tive­ly impact­ed by the scarci­ty of afford­able rental accom­mo­da­tions. Porter said that in 2023, the NBSP­CA received 365 reports of pets being aban­doned in New Brunswick homes, apart­ments or out­side, which is more than dou­ble the 141 calls received in 2022. In sev­er­al instances, he said the ani­mals were found in very poor con­di­tion or deceased, and more ani­mals have been left to fend for them­selves in the outdoors.

Ani­mal wel­fare calls are also increas­ing­ly more seri­ous in nature, with pub­lic com­plaints of abused ani­mals, inad­e­quate food, water or shel­ter, and injured ani­mals account­ed for more than half of the calls received in 2023. The NBSP­CA brought 600 domes­tic pets to local ani­mal shel­ters for reha­bil­i­ta­tion and even­tu­al rehom­ing last year, and 53 pets were suc­cess­ful­ly reunit­ed with their families.

Porter said the orga­ni­za­tion wants to help peo­ple keep their beloved pets in their homes. He encour­ages pet own­ers to reach out to fam­i­ly, friends, local ani­mal shel­ters and the NBSP­CA if they are hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ty feed­ing or car­ing for their pets.

We want peo­ple to reach out to fam­i­ly mem­bers to see if they can get any help,” Porter said. It may be hard to ask for help, but no one is going to judge them for doing that. We want peo­ple to do the right thing for their pets and we’re here to help as much as we can. That said, we are a provin­cial­ly man­dat­ed enforce­ment unit and peo­ple who will­ful­ly neglect or abuse their pets will face enforce­ment actions.”

Any­one who wit­ness­es exam­ples of ani­mal neglect or abuse is encour­aged to report these issues to the NBSP­CA by call­ing 18777221522.

About New Brunswick SPCA

Found­ed in 1881, New Brunswick SPCA (NBSC­PA) is the only province-wide orga­ni­za­tion man­dat­ed to enforce ani­mal pro­tec­tion laws. A ded­i­cat­ed team of 15 Ani­mal Pro­tec­tion Offi­cers is vest­ed with the author­i­ty under the SPCA Act of New Brunswick to inves­ti­gate and, if nec­es­sary, lay charges, seize ani­mals, or rec­om­mend court orders to per­sons sus­pect­ed of abuse and cru­el­ty to animals. 

The NBSP­CA is a reg­is­tered char­i­ty that exists to pro­vide province-wide lead­er­ship in the humane treat­ment of ani­mals. We enforce rel­e­vant leg­is­la­tion, ensure shel­ter for neglect­ed or abused domes­ti­cat­ed ani­mals and agri­cul­tur­al ani­mals, and pro­vide pub­lic edu­ca­tion and advo­ca­cy to empow­er New Brunswick­ers to help ani­mals live long and healthy lives. 

To learn more vis­it www​.nbsp​ca​.ca

Media Con­tact: Alex Davis, alex@​ccgoodwin.​ca, 5062594081

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Stay up-to-date on the latest news from the NBSPCA and learn more about how you can support animals in need.