Fort McMurray SPCA employee charged with animal abuse

An employee of Fort McMurray SPCA has been charged with animal abuse after a woman was reportedly seen punching a dog on shelter property.

The incident came to light last month when a member of the public complained on social media that they had witnessed a shelter employee abusing an animal.

The complaint was posted to Facebook on Aug. 18. The poster said he was working in a yard next to the shelter when he saw a woman strike a dog at an outdoor run.

‘Closed fist shots to the head’

“[I] witnessed her beat the dog with closed fist shots to the head multiple times and lift it off the ground by the leash. She put it on practically choking it out.”

When the shelter became aware of the post that afternoon, it called the RCMP, said executive director Arianna Johnson.

Following the investigation, Wood Buffalo RCMP charged a 27-year-old woman with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The woman is due in Fort McMurray provincial court on Dec. 5.

The staffer has since been suspended from her position with the non-profit society, pending the outcome of the charges, Johnson said.

“The Fort McMurray SPCA, our board of directors, my staff and I take our commitment to the excellent and professional care of the animals in our facility extremely seriously,” Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson declined to comment on the large-breed dog involved in the case or if it remains in the care of the shelter. 

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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