The Montreal SPCA provides lost and found services for animals, recruits foster owners and is responsible for investigating reported animal abuse or neglect. The SPCA also houses and re-homes animals seized during cruelty investigations, provides low-cost sterilization for cats and dogs, and educates people on how to handle wildlife.
The Montreal SPCA participates in the Trap-Neuter-Release-Maintain program, which is designed to control feral cat populations by sterilizing them and curbing the growth of cat colonies. Special emphasis is put on capturing females, but the program's stated goal is to sterilize the entire colony. Cats that have been sterilized are marked with a notched ear to distinguish them.
The Montreal SPCA also offers adoption programs for dogs, cats and other animals. However, the society strongly encourages potential pet owners to examine whether they are ready for the long-term commitments and potential lifestyle changes that owning an animal may cause before proceeding with an adoption.
Montreal's SPCA, once known as the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, holds the position of being the first humane society in Canada. It began in 1869 and was responsible for handling all cases of animal abuse and neglect in Canada. Early on, Montreal's SPCA primarily focused on abused work horses before targeting dog fighting, cock-fighting and hunting.