Regina Humane Society Animal Protection Services enforce animal protection laws that pertain to animal cruelty. Animal cruelty generally falls into two categories: neglect or intentional cruelty.
Neglect is the failure to provide adequate water, food, shelter, or necessary care. Examples of neglect include: starvation; dehydration; inadequate shelter; parasite infestations; failure to seek veterinary care when an animal is in need of medical attention; allowing a collar to grow into an animal’s skin; or confinement without adequate light, ventilation, space or in unsanitary conditions.
Equally disturbing as neglect is the brutality of intentional cruelty, involving deliberate physical harm or injury inflicted on an animal. Regretfully, cases of animals being beaten, burned, poisoned or stabbed are not uncommon.
The objective of every investigation is to relieve and prevent the distress of an animal through education, cooperation, and, if necessary, prosecution under the law. Initially, in some cases, enforcement authorities like Regina Humane Society Animal Protection Officers can educate the owner and issue orders to improve the animal’s living conditions. Orders may include mandating veterinary care for sick animals or requiring a dog owner to build a proper, raised and insulated shelter for a dog housed outdoors.
The Regina Humane Society has a legal obligation to provide the animal owner with “an opportunity to relieve the animal’s distress.” As such, orders are issued and time for compliance is given. If an animal owner fails to comply with orders, the investigator can either issue further orders allowing the owner more time, or apply for a search warrant to seize the animal.
The Regina Humane Society is not empowered to enter and remove animals from private property without a search warrant unless those animals are in “critical” distress, which means they would not survive without immediate medical intervention. Animals may be lacking adequate food, shelter and veterinary care, or even be sick and in pain, but unless they are in immediate danger of dying they are not in critical distress under the law.
Saskatchewan’s animal cruelty laws require strengthening primarily with regard to standards of basic care for companion animals including recognition of psychological harm. While the Animal Protection Act of Saskatchewan was traditionally created for livestock, today, the majority of complaints regarding animal cruelty involve companion animals, specifically dogs and cats. The authority of Animal Protection Officers to enforce care or remove animals is limited by lacking legislative regulations for companion animals under Saskatchewan’s antiquated Animal Protection Act.
If you would like to join us in seeking stronger Animal Protection laws, contact your MLA as well as Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Minister and ask them to make improved animal welfare legislation a priority.
How to recognize animal cruelty:
- Wounds on the body
- Severely overgrown nails (often curling under)
- Patches of missing hair or extremely matted hair
- Extremely thin, starving animals with ribs or backbone protruding
- Infected eyes that have been left untreated
- Animals who have been hit by cars and have not received veterinary attention
- Animals who are kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions
- An owner kicking, hitting or physically abusing an animal
- Severe flea or tick infestations left untreated
- Animals left in a car on a hot or cold day
- Animals crammed into tiny cages in overcrowded conditions
- Chronic diarrhea or vomiting
- Animals kept in dirty conditions including being forced to stand in their own urine and excrement
- Swellings, such as tumors or abscesses, left untreated