Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) pilots management of pet adoption services for The City of Calgary

Today partner organization, AARCS, begins a three-month pilot managing pet adoption services for The City of Calgary. The City of Calgary’s Animal Services will continue to carry out medical and dental care, vaccinations (including rabies), and spaying and neutering adoptable animals before they are transferred to AARCS for adoption.

“One of our goals is to significantly reduce the time that adoptable pets spend in a shelter, for the overall welfare of the animals,” says Tara Lowes, Superintendent of Administration and Animal Shelter Services for The City of Calgary. “AARCS has an extensive fostering network, which increases the opportunity for animals to be cared for in homes instead of in our shelter, while they wait to become part of a new family.”

In 2020, The City of Calgary initiated a review of Animal Services’ shelter operations to identify efficiencies, cost savings and service improvements as part of the One Calgary Service Plan and Budget (2019 – 2022). The review focused on three areas: pet licensing, adoption services and hours of operation.

As an outcome of this review, the adoption pilot will allow The City of Calgary and AARCS to assess impacts and opportunities that will determine if AARCS will continue to provide this service beyond the pilot.

“Communities are best served by organizations working together to make a difference,” says Deanna Thompson, Execute Director of AARCS. “As a long-standing partner of The City of Calgary, we know that our aligned values compassionately support addressing the issue of animal homelessness in Calgary.”

“We look forward to identifying successes over the three-month period,” says Lowes.

Currently, 91 per cent of injured or sick feral or stray animals brought to Animal Services are able to be saved under the care of animal health technologists and veterinarians at the City. After medical care, recovering animals will now be transferred to AARCS’ programs for adoption into new homes.

The Animal Services Centre is expected to reduce public service counter hours of operation due to the service change during this pilot. Service changes will be updated at when those details are available.

The City of Calgary will continue to work with other partnering rescue agencies that have adoptable animals available, including the Calgary Humane Society and MEOW Foundation.

More information is available on and pets that are available for adoption can be found at

Some Additional Details as it Relates to How the Program Works From Our End

  • The City of Calgary will transfer dogs and cats to AARCS following their legal hold period (three days with no identification, 10 days with identification) to be placed for adoption through AARCS. 
  • City will complete all medical, including spay/neuter, dentals, vaccines (including rabies) and microchips prior to transfer. 
  • City will legally transfer ownership to AARCS and AARCS will then be responsible for any further care/medical costs as well as adoption placement. 
  • Pick up will be three times a week, or as needed.
  • We are expecting between 120-200 animals during the pilot project, with the majority being cats. The animals will be housed in foster care, at AARCS shelter/adoption centres and in local pet stores/third-party adoption centres in Calgary (Cafe & Mi Cat Cafe, Petsmart, Pet Valu stores).  
  • AARCS will place these animals for adoption through our website and AARCS adoption policies and adoption fees will apply. 
  • The City will continue to work with other rescue groups (Calgary Humane Society and MEOW Foundation) to place adoptables as needed. 
  • If AARCS receives a call from a potential previous owner of that animal after a transfer, it is at AARCS’ sole discretion to determine if the animal is to be reunited with its alleged owner. Adoption fees will apply.  
  • If a person who finds an animal and turns it over to the City is interested in that animal following the legal hold, AARCS may consider putting them at the front of the adoption line based on the following criteria: They must notify AARCS immediately of their intention to adopt following transfer of the animal; have the animal ID number; pass our adoption process; and pick up the animal within 24 hours. Adoption fees will apply.  
  • The City of Calgary maintains responsibility for stray/lost animals and all animal by-law enforcement.  Stray/found animals must still go to the City of Calgary Animal Services Department and cannot be brought to AARCS location. 

We are extremely excited to partner with the City of Calgary on this project. If you have any questions please feel free to email us at [email protected].