Community-Based Solutions to Managing Companion Animal Populations

The Regina Humane Society (RHS) is a holistic animal community centre integrating a wide spectrum of animal services, community outreach and education programming which ensures the health, safety and well-being for Regina’s people and animals. The Society is a private, non-profit organization which has been providing these animal welfare services to Regina and area since 1964.

There is a misconception that all “humane societies” or “SPCA’s” operate under the umbrella of a provincial and/or national organization and receive funding from them. This is not true. Because there are so many humane organizations with similar names, it is not uncommon for supporters of one humane society or SPCA to confuse it with other humane societies and SPCAs.  The RHS is dependent solely on financial support from its community and donors. Although the RHS (and other humane societies) partner with other local or national organizations on special projects or legislative issues from time-to-time, the majority are independent organizations.

The Regina Humane Society receives no on-going sources of funding from the provincial or federal governments and relies on donations, grants, and the support of the community to continue its work. The Society currently receives a fee for service through an agreement with the City of Regina for Municipal Animal Control and Impoundment Services. The cost of operating the Regina Humane Society is $4 million annually.

In recent years, the RHS has experienced an increase in intake, especially in cats, from outside the City of Regina which has put a strain on its infrastructure, financial, veterinary and human resource capacities that is unsustainable. Openly admitting animals from anywhere in the province, and beyond, affects the organization’s capacity to deliver the sheltering services it is obligated to provide to the Regina community. To ensure the best outcomes for the animals in RHS care, the RHS must control how and when animals are admitted based on its capacity to provide care.

The RHS operates utilizing Capacity for Care, a widely recognized shelter management model, which helps shelters better meet the needs of the animals in their facilities. It creates the conditions necessary to provide shelter animals with five essential freedoms, thereby improving the welfare of individual animals. Managed Admissions, combined with Intake Diversion resources, optimize the number of animals that are in the shelter at any one time so that individual animals have better conditions and successful outcomes, increasing the overall number of animals who can be helped.

As an animal welfare organization, the RHS believes that when population management is deemed necessary, it is essential that it is achieved in a humane manner and ultimately leads to an improvement in the welfare of the companion animal population as a whole. It is important that population management is achieved as effectively as possible due to resource limitations.

The responsibility for companion animal population management should rest within the applicable municipal government. Animal welfare organizations are not required to accept overall responsibility for population management other than through a contractual agreement, with appropriate funding and resources.  However, these organizations understand the importance of animal control and population management, and can play an important role in guiding and supporting government strategy.

This toolkit is intended for use by any individual or organization which is currently involved with, or interested in companion animal population management.

Download Community-Based Solutions to Managing Companion Animal Populations PDF

An animal’s strongest advocate is you, and the people in its community. That’s because you, as a citizen, have the power to influence your community and your legislators–especially on a local level. You do not need any prior animal or political experience to improve animal welfare in your community; all you need is determination and the willingness to use your voice to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.