Cape Breton Animal Shelter

The Cape Breton Animal Shelter was formed over 35 years ago. Mary Keshen, formalized the idea by placing an ad in the Cape Breton Post inviting anyone interested to meet.

The first meeting turned out approximately 40 people who were determined to get the arduous task underway.

After the groundwork had been laid, the group now needed a means to construct a fully operational animal shelter, thus fundraising efforts began. Everything from bake sales to tag days to memberships were undertaken, but these efforts fell short as shelter costs were escalating.

The realization that the shelter would never be opened if it depended solely on the initial fundraising ideas spawned a new effort. Phyllis Jones planned and orchestrated a door to door fundraising drive that consisted of the entire industrial area. She actually did this twice! In all she raised over $30,000 and we will be forever grateful.

After a lengthy search for a suitable location, the group found a parcel of land off East Broadway that was up for tax sale. The 2 1/2 acres available was a good fit. It was the desired size, price and far enough away that it would not bother any residents with any undue animal noise.

As construction of the shelter commenced in November 1977 the Society hammered out their Constitution and its By-Laws.

On June 12, 1978 the Cape Breton Animal Shelter opened its doors for business. Its paid staff consisted of the Manager as well as an Animal Inspector. All others were volunteers. Later that year, the shelter was able to hire two kennel workers whose wages were subsidized by a government program.

In 1979, after being approached by the County of Cape Breton, we took over the duty of animal control. In 1985 the Cape Breton Regional Municipality amalgamated and the Cape Breton Animal Shelter now does animal control for the entire industrial Cape Breton.

Over the years we developed education programs and recently opened up the first Animal Veterinary Hospital which in addition to providing our animals with all their veterinary needs also allows us to work with local rescue groups and low income families ensuring affordable spay & neuter options for those most in need.

Our story reads like a miracle or a fairy tale which was due to many hours and dedication of volunteers, board members, auxiliary and staff to continue to help those who cannot help themselves.

Adopting an animal from an SPCA, humane organization or rescue group can be a very rewarding experience. You will be giving a homeless animal a second chance in life and providing it with a safe, loving “forever” home.

Cats or Kittens Adoption Fee $175 for cats | $235 for kittens

Dogs or Puppies Adoption Fee  $275 for dogs | $450 for puppies

What’s Included

  • Examination by a Veterinarian
  • Flea/Parasite Treatment
  • Feline Leukemia Test (cats)
  • Vaccines to time of Adoption (core vaccines only)
  • Spay or Neuter Surgery (including kittens and puppies)
  • 8 week trial of NS SPCA Pet Insurance
  • Microchip

Top Most Needed Items

  • Kitty Litter (non clumping or Canawick / Trebio wood pellets)
  • Bleach
  • Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Dishwasher Tablets
  • Paper Towel
  • Toilet Paper
  • Windex
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Large black or clear garbage bags.
  • Latex Gloves (size Medium)
  • Canadian Tire Money
  • Cat Toys (Mouse or ball type with catnip)
  • Dog Harnesses and leashes (new or used)
  • We’re proud to feed Hill’s® Science Diet®. This provides precisely balanced nutrition that helps these pets find their way to happier, healthier lives.


  • Kitty Litter (non-clumping)
  • Large Kong toys
  • Stainless steel food bowls (small)
  • Small cat litter boxes
  • Cat toys (without catnip)
  • Pet Carriers (new or used)
  • Non-plush dog toys suitable for sanitizing
  • Dog training ‘clickers’
  • Halti and martingale dog collars
  • Professional grooming clippers
  • Yesterday news cat litter
  • Rubbermaid storage containers (55L preferred)
  • Dog Harnesses (new or used)
  • Dog leashes (new or used)
  • Tupperware containers (cereal size)


  • Wet cat food
  • Glucosamine supplements
  • KMR Kitten Milk Replacer
  • Bottles for nursing kittens
  • Hypo allergenic dog treats
  • Pill pockets
  • Canned Pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • Hills Prescription Diet Canine and Feline A/D cans and Hill’s® Science Diet Cat and Dog food (wet and dry food)

We’re proud to feed Hill’s® Science Diet®. This provides precisely balanced nutrition that helps these pets find their way to happier, healthier lives.


  • Lab coats (new or used)
  • Purina Veterinary Diet Fortiflora (dog and cat)
  • Disposable smocks
  • Sterile syringes
  • Latex gloves (size medium)
  • Pediatric scale
  • Rubber Mats
  • Feliway
  • Qtips


  • Plain White Copier Paper
  • Scissors
  • Large envelopes (9*12)
  • Stapler
  • 2 or 3 hole punch
  • Postage Stamps
  • Avery Laser Shipping Labels (2”x4”)
  • Pens, Whiteout, highlighters
  • Whiteboard markers & whiteboard erasers
  • Office safe (combination)
  • Computer mouse
  • Document laminator
  • New or relatively new computer
  • Banker boxes


  • Paper towel
  • Bleach
  • HE Laundry Detergent
  • Large black or clear garbage bags
  • Household cleaning wipes
  • Bathroom cleaner


  • Ziplock bags
  • Zip ties
  • Heating pads (non electric)
  • 9V batteries
  • AA batteries
  • WD 40
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Jelly aprons
  • Tabletop fan
  • Paper or Plastic cups
  • Band aids
  • Hand Soap
  • 6′ portable table
  • ‘Fogger’ for cleaning
  • Humane Live trap


The Nova Scotia SPCA Cape Breton Branch is a publicly funded association that relies on help from volunteers. Volunteers play a vital role in helping us look after the welfare of animals in our communities. We welcome and encourage volunteer involvement at all levels within all appropriate programs and activities. As a non-profit volunteer organization without government funding, our efforts rely extensively on generous support from people like you. Email us today to see how you can help us enhance the quality of life for animals in Cape Breton or fill out an online application found here.


Everyday, the Cape Breton Branch receives calls from the public requesting assistance with stray, abandoned or homeless animals. To help care for these animals, the shelter has a foster care program to help with the abundance of calls.

The foster program will cover the cost of veterinary care, food, litter and anything else the animal requires. The role of a foster home is not to provide financial support, but rather to provide the love and patience the animal may need to regain their mental and physical health.

If you are thinking of becoming a foster parent, find out more here.

When you become an approved foster parent, you can decide which type of animal will work best in your home environment. If it is a dog you are interested in, there are always opportunities to open your home to a young puppy or a dog with medical or behavioral issues that may benefit from a stable home environment and just needs some extra socialization and love in a home before they can be put up for adoption. Sometimes this is the biggest impact a foster home can provide in an animal’s life.

One of the most common foster examples is unwanted mothers with a litter of kittens. During the summer months, the number of homeless cats and kittens flooding the shelter soars. The demand on shelter resources is made even greater since many of the kittens that come to the shelter are too young to be adopted. Keeping kittens at the shelter for up to 8 weeks before they are old enough to be adopted ties up kennel space, staff and resources. A foster home provides kittens with a quieter, less stressful environment where they can grow into healthy cats. Opening your home and heart as a foster parent to an abandoned animal is a rewarding way to become a volunteer! Fostering is a fantastic opportunity to make a hands-on contribution to saving animals’ lives.

401 East Broadway
Sydney, NS, B1N 3K1

PO Box 762, Sydney NS B1P 6J1

902-539-7722 or 844-835-4798



Monday - Closed
Tuesday - Thursday 10am-6pm
Friday - Sunday 10am-4pm

NOTE: Animal Control Impounded dog pick up hours 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday, Saturday to Sunday 8am to 430pm.


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