Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan Inc. was incorporated in 2015; they have taken up the enforcement of Saskatchewan’s Animal Protection Act, 1999 that had historically been performed by the Investigative Services division of the Saskatchewan SPCA. Their dedicated and experienced Animal Protection Officers and other staff members have transitioned to the new organization, and continue to apply their knowledge and expertise to the resolution of concerns about animal care across Saskatchewan.

 

Animal Protection Act

The Animal Protection Act, 1999 is the Saskatchewan law that protects animals from abuse and distress. It is available online here.

 

The Act says that:
  •          No person shall cause an animal to be in distress
  •          No person responsible for an animal shall cause or permit the animal to be or continue to be in distress

 

An animal is in distress if it is:
  •          deprived of adequate food, water, care or shelter;
  •          injured, sick, in pain or suffering; or
  •          abused or neglected

 

A list of “Codes of Practice” that describe acceptable care standards for animals can be found in the Animal Protection Act Regulations here.

 

If a person is convicted under this Act, the possible penalties are:
  •          A fine of up to $25,000
  •          Imprisonment for up to 2 years
  •          A prohibition or restriction on owning animals for a specific period

 

What is Cruelty?

The two main types of animal cruelty are neglect and deliberate physical abuse.

 

Signs of neglect can include:
  •          Very thin animals
  •          Animals without access to proper food, water or shelter
  •          Injuries or illnesses that are not treated
  •          Matted coats, overgrown hooves, unsanitary conditions
  •          Deliberately abandoned animals

 

It is encouraged that people make a complaint about potentially neglected animals as soon they become concerned, rather than waiting for animals to become critically thin or for the situation to become an emergency.
Physical abuse can be more difficult to see, and to prove. Unusual or re-occurring injuries can be a sign of abuse, but most often these types of complaints come from someone who has seen an animal being hit, thrown, or otherwise deliberately hurt.
 

Investigative Process

 
Complaint
They receive a complaint from a concerned party. Complainant information is strictly confidential, and they do accept anonymous complaints. Some complaints, such as physical abuse, are difficult to investigate without a witness that is willing to testify.
 
Inspection
An Animal Protection Officer attends for an initial inspection, where they contact the owner and find out if the complaint will need further visits.
If there is a problem, officers work with the owner to improve the animal care concerns. They will leave requirements specific improvements, and will use experts like veterinarians when needed. The timelines for follow up visits depend on the seriousness of the concerns.
 
Seizure
Sometimes owners will not make the needed changes, and as a last resort officers must seize the animals in order to make arrangements for proper care; this happens in about 3% of cases. If animals are seized, the owners do have a chance to make arrangements to have animals returned.
 
Charges
If animals have been seized, the owners and/or caregivers will usually be charged under the Animal Protection Act, 1999 and/or the Criminal Code of Canada. They can also lay charges if animals have not been seized, although this is rare. It can take several years for a case to move from a seizure through the trial process