Our History

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Our History

The Medicine Hat Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MHSPCA) was incorporated on October 15th, 1979. The founding members whose names and signatures appeared on the Societies Act Application are:

D. Sakamoto, P. Roddick, S. Appleton, J. Head and A. Hashizume. Dozens of past MHSPCA Board Members have been so very grateful that this group of dedicated animal enthusiasts had the desire and foresight to take this big step so many years ago. Thousands of our injured, lost, stray and abandoned animal friends in Medicine Hat and surrounding areas have been rescued and have found a new life, because of our founding member’s vision. There can be no better reward for their commitment and dedication. We cannot THANK them enough!

Over the next nine years subsequent Board Members and dozens of volunteers struggled to raise money for a shelter. For many years, we utilized a few foster homes willing to take in some homeless animals and we housed a few stray cats (in home-made cages) in the basement of another foster home ; all the while hoping to someday have the money for a shelter.

There was a small Pound in the City of Medicine Hat, but as the City grew, so increased the number of homeless animals roaming our streets. The MHSPCA knew that we had to find some kind of shelter for these homeless/stray animals.

So, our first SPCA Shelter was opened in 1988. We bought a second-hand mobile home, renovated it and a few years later, raised enough money to put on an addition. The City of Medicine Hat leased us a parcel of land, which was situated at 9th Ave. S.W. Pound Services were still handled seperately by the City at that time.

Our present Medicine Hat SPCA Adopt-A-Pet Facility opened in June 1994, thanks to a very large bequest from Dr. A.C. Ahrens and Frances Ahrens. With the very generous legacy, we bought the Medicine Hat Marble building at 55 Southwest Drive S.W. and fully renovated it to suit our needs and the needs of the animals.

At this time, the MHSPCA was approached by City of Medicine Hat Bylaw Services and asked to begin taking over the Pound Services. Although we knew we were taking on a major commitment, we agreed for the sake of the animals. We knew that we could give the animals better shelter conditions, more care and a better chance of finding a new home. A contract with the city was then drafted and we started to quickly fill up our shelter. It was a very exciting time for the MHSPCA, we had finally reached our goal!

Thanks to the many dedicated staff and Board Members the MHSPCA Adopt-a-Pet Facility has now been in operation for 23 years. Still without the tremendous public support, we know that we could not have kept our doors open.

The MHSPCA Board of Directors, since its incorporation, has always been a hard working and committed board. We had to be constantly fundraising to meet our needs and goals for animal welfare in this community. For 37 long years you will never see a more dedicated group of individuals. But, the citizens of Medicine Hat have also been instrumental in helping us keep our doors open. We have faced many challenges over the years and weathered many a storm, knowing that we were valued in the community and supported by its citizens in so many ways. We thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for the MHSPCA and the animals.

In January 2016, we made the very big decision to go back to our roots of animal rescue and adoption. We decided to end our Pound Services contract with the City, and these services were contracted out to another group. We are thrilled to be back to our roots, and to have sufficient space for the animals in our facility again in order to provide them with superior care.

In September 2017, we were able to adopt a policy stating that we will not euthanize healthy or treatable animals even when the shelter is full. Some animals relinquished to our facility, however, may be too sick, injured or aggressive to be treated or rehabilitated, making humane euthanasia necessary to prevent prolonged suffering or to ensure the health & safety of the shelter population and/or the public. This policy is now a possibility for us due to having a low cost spay/neuter program available to the public, having a robust adoption program, separating the delivery of our humane society programs from pound services, having committed volunteers that include dog behaviorists, partnering with other rescue groups & shelters, and managing our intake with wait lists or other measures when needed/possible.