Overview of the Animal Keepers Act

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 Purpose | History | Animal Keeper | Lien on Animals and Gear | Notice of Sale if the Owner is Known | Notice of Sale if the Owner is Not Known | Additional Notice of Sale for Cattle and Horses | Notice of Sale | Application of Proceeds of Sale | Role of AF
This webpage provides a brief overview of the Animal Keepers Act. Please consult the text of the legislation and/or Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) for additional information.

Due to new regulations being administered by the CFIA, all horses sold at public auction require an Equine Information Document (EID) to accompany the related sale documents. The attached link should be highlighted that takes the animal keeper to the website to obtain this form, and a link to the CFIA website should be added for the instructions to fill out the form at this website. Please Note: For more information and explanation go to Canadian Food Inspection Agency Website.


The Animal Keepers Act provides a mechanism through which an animal keeper can recover costs incurred for looking after another person’s livestock. The costs may be associated with boarding, feeding or caring for the animals.


The Animal Keepers Act was passed during the 2005 spring sitting of the Alberta Legislative Assembly and came into force on November 1, 2005. The Act repeals (replaces) the Livery Stable Keepers Act. The Livery Stable Keepers Act is still applicable to satisfy liens incurred up to November 1, 2005. The Animal Keepers Act is applicable to satisfy liens incurred from November 1, 2005.

Animal Keeper

An animal keeper is a person who receives payment for boarding, feeding or caring for an animal that is owned by another person.

The animal keeper will have a lien in relation to the animal and gear. In addition to other remedies, the animal keeper has the right to detain and sell the animal and gear if the debt is not satisfied, providing that proper notice is given. The right to sell or detain has priority over other liens, security interests, charges or encumbrances as they relate to the animal and its gear. Provisions are also made as to the disbursement of funds where sale proceeds have exceeded the amount required to satisfy the animal keepers’ lien.

Click here for Notice of Sale and Proof of Service of Notice of Sale.

Lien on Animals and Gear

An animal keeper has a lien on an animal and gear when a related debt is taken on. A lien is a right to keep possession of property until the debt due is discharged. The property is held as security. It secures the payment of the debt.

The types of animals covered under the Act are cattle, horses, swine, sheep, bison, elk, deer, goats, mules and asses.

Gear, under the Act, includes tack and equipment used for riding, driving, showing or caring for animals. As well, stock trailers, horse trailers, sleighs, buggies and carriages are also considered gear.

An animal keeper may detain the animal and any gear in relation to the animal until the appropriate time when the property can be sold by public auction. The animal keeper's right to detain and sell an animal or gear has priority over any other charges against the property that may exist. It is possible to waive rights provided under the Act. A waiver declaration must be written and signed to be in effect.

There exists an option to limit the lien when an animal keeper has a lien on more than one animal or gear belonging to the same owner. In this case, the animal keeper may choose to limit the lien to one or some of the animals or gear. The animal keeper may sell the specified animal(s) and/or gear. The proceeds of the sale are then applied to the total outstanding debt.

For example, suppose there exists a lien for the feeding of ten horses. Perhaps selling only one of the horses could satisfy this lien. The proceeds from the sale of the one horse are applied to the total outstanding feed bill. It is not necessary to sell all ten horses.

The Act outlines the steps an animal keeper should follow to receive payment on an outstanding debt. The owner of the animal or gear is provided 14 days to settle the debt. If the owner fails to settle the debt, then the animal keeper can sell the animal or gear by public auction after providing the appropriate notice. An animal keeper must take proper care of the animals during the time of possession.

Notice of Sale if the Owner is Known

If the owner of an animal or gear is known, the animal keeper must give at least 14 days notice of the proposed sale of the animal or gear. The animal keeper can provide notice to the owner by personal delivery, registered mail, or fax.

Notice of Sale if the Owner is Not Known

If the owner of an animal or gear is not known, the animal keeper must still provide a notice of sale, however through different means. At least 14 days before the proposed sale of the animal or gear, the animal keeper must publish a notice of the sale in the local newspaper.

Additional Notice of Sale for Cattle and Horses

It is recommended that notice be provided to Livestock Identification Services (LIS) if the animal to be sold is a horse or a head of cattle. Click here for the Inspection of Cattle and Horses under the Animal Keepers Act. LIS is a delegated authority of the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. Contact information for LIS:
      Livestock Identification Services Ltd. (LIS)
      109, 264 Midpark Way S.E.
      Calgary, Alberta T2X 1J6
      Telephone: 403-509-2088
      Toll-free telephone: 1-866-509-2088
      Fax: 403-509-2098
      Email: brands@lis-alberta.com

Notice of Sale

A notice of sale, whether the animal owner is known or unknown, must include the following elements:
    1. the method of the proposed sale;
    2. the date and time of the sale;
    3. the address and name of the place where the animal or gear will be sold;
    4. the name of the owner or the person who brought the animal or gear to the animal keeper (if known);
    5. the amount for which a lien is claimed;
    6. a description of the animal or gear; and
    7. the name of and contact information for the animal keeper.
Application of proceeds of sale

If an animal or gear is sold, the proceeds of sale must be paid in the following order:
    1. for expenses incurred in detaining, transporting, advertising and selling the animal or gear,
    2. to satisfy the animal keeper's lien,
    3. to a person who makes a claim within seven days of the sale date,
    4. to the Minister for distribution (if more than one person makes a claim within seven days of the sale date),
    5. to the Minister for retention (if no one makes a claim within seven days of the sale date), or
    6. to the Court.
Role of AF

AF provides leadership and support for Alberta’s agriculture and food industry through information, services and administration of legislation.

If you have questions about the interpretation of the legislative provisions discussed in this webpage, you may contact:
      Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
      Animal Health and Assurance Branch
      301 Provincial Building
      4920 - 51st Street
      Red Deer, AB T4N 6K8
      Telephone: 1-866-252-6403
      Fax: 403-340-5870
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Don Campbell.
This document is maintained by Karen Hladych.
This information published to the web on May 25, 2011.
Last Reviewed/Revised on October 27, 2016.