Animal Cruelty Investigation Process

When you have contacted the Regina Humane Society’s Animal Protection Department regarding concerns about an animal’s care or welfare, it’s important to understand the animal cruelty investigation process. Specifically:

  • Regina Humane Society staff are bound by strict confidentiality policies, meaning we cannot discuss ongoing investigations or the results of inspections.
    • Complainants, owners and other people are not bound by the same rules, so information that is publicly available about a situation might be inaccurate or one-sided.
  • We have a legal process that must be followed based on both the Animal Protection Act of Saskatchewan, the Criminal Code of Canada and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • The circumstances under which we can seize animals are limited.
    • In general, an animal can only be seized if it is currently in distress, and the if the owner has been given the opportunity to relieve the animal of its distress and has not done so.
    • Under exceptional circumstances, or when the owner cannot be found, animals can be immediately seized.
    • The time period given for corrections must be reasonable and depends on the severity of the distress.
  • Once a cruelty complaint is received and investigated, the time period can be several months from a seizure or investigation to charges being laid.
    • The length of time from charges being laid to trial is often many more months, and the trial itself can take place in several court appearances over years.
  • A news release is not issued or information published every time charges are laid or every time animals are removed from a premise.
  • The Regina Humane Society cannot prohibit someone from owning animals, only the courts can decide that.
    • Prohibitions on animal ownership are part of the sentence that is the result of a trial and conviction, and the details of the sentence are the judge’s decision.
  • Three full-time Animal Protection Officers and one full-time Dispatch Coordinator cover the City of Regina and address the over 500 cruelty complaints we receive each year. This work is 100% funded by donor dollars.
  • The amount of work required to resolve one complaint can be enormous, with multiple visits to a premise, preparation of search warrants and court materials.