We investigate public complaints of animal abuse, cruelty and neglect.

Animal Protection Act

The Animal Protection Act, 2018 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:

  1. deprived of food or water sufficient to maintain the animal in a state of good health;
  2. deprived of care or shelter;
  3. deprived of veterinary care or medical attention;
  4. in need of reasonable protection from injurious heat or cold;
  5. wounded, ill, in pain, suffering, abused or neglected;
  6. kept in conditions that: are unsanitary; will significantly impair the animal’s health or well being over time; cause the animal anxiety or suffering; or contravene the prescribed standards, codes of practice or guidelines;
  7. abandoned by its owner or by a person responsible for the animal in a manner that causes, or is likely to cause, distress resulting from any or all the factors listed

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. Most complaints that we investigate deal with some form of neglect, which may or may not be deliberate.

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

We encourage people to 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.

Criminal Code

Several sections of Canada’s Criminal Code apply to animal cruelty – see the links on the right. This is federal law that applies across the country, and a Criminal Code conviction leads to a criminal record with all of its consequences.

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