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 over 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.
We believe all nature’s creatures deserve our respect and protection. Our primary purpose and main concern is to be a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals…the SPCA .
To guide the Society in the application of these beliefs, the following principles are set forth:
The Society is committed to caring for the homeless animals produced by the tragic reality of overpopulation of domestic cats and dogs in our community. Thus, we are compelled to develop programs to reduce overpopulation. SNAP is the Spay and Neuter Assistance Program for low-income homes.
The Society will maintain a facility for the sole purpose to house unwanted pets and wildlife to the best of our abilities. We will strive to reunite lost pets with their families and find forever homes for the homeless. All adopted dogs and cats will be sterilized and microchipped before adoption from our facility.
The Society, working with the Alberta SPCA and City Bylaw, may help to investigate community concerns involving the inhumane treatment of all animals and when necessary help to pursue the prosecution of individuals abusing animals.
The Society will, under NO circumstance, release animals for the purpose of Laboratory Research. The release of animals will only be to responsible owners, according to the Responsible Animal Ownership Bylaw set forth by the City of Medicine Hat and to well-respected Rescue Organizations.
The Society will encourage responsible pet ownership by helping to enforce the City of Medicine Hat’s Responsible Animal Ownership Bylaw, the rules and regulations in the Animal Protection Act and by offering discounted microchipping to domestic pets.
The Society discourages any procedures that are not beneficial to the animal’s life or may cause unnecessary pain to the pet. This may include: cropping of ears, declawing of cats and some tail-docking.
The Society will maintain an adoption program to approved applicants and respected Rescue Organizations. Adopted animals will be microchipped and sterilized, before leaving to their forever homes. All rescue animals will be health-checked by a veterinarian, before entering a new program.
The Society will accept and provide care for all wildlife, until the proper authorities can be reached or the animal can be released back to their native habitat. If necessary, the Society will provide humane euthanasia to end suffering, as per a veterinarian’s advice.
The Society will encourage the protection and release of any endangered species to the proper authorities.
The mission of the Medicine Hat Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is to provide protective care for sick, injured and unwanted animals. Through our community programs we strive to promote humane attitudes and responsible pet ownership.
We strive to create a world in which all animals, and in particular those animals whose lives we can influence, enjoy as a minimum five essential freedoms:
The Medicine Hat Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is guided by a humane ethic to build a community that universally values animals, understands their needs, and takes action to meet them.
The Medicine Hat SPCA serves the community and surrounding area by:
Tarynn Haag, President
Joelle Withers, Vice-President
Anna Marie Clark, Secretary
Taylor Rattai, Treasurer
Sharon Weiss, Director
Richard Schear, Director
Kim MacKinnon, Director