What is Cruelty?

The Saskatoon SPCA is no longer providing Animal Protection Services as of April 1st, 2022. If you have an animal welfare concern (injury, illness, in distress, neglect or abuse), please call Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan at 306-382-0002.

In many cases, Animal Protection Officers are able to work with pet owners to correct problems by providing education and recommendations. In serious cases, or for situations where the owner makes no effort to improve existing conditions for their animal, further action may be taken to remedy the situation including seizing the animals to relieve their distress and charges may be laid under Section 446 of the Criminal Code of Canada and/or Section 4 of the Animal Protection Act of Saskatchewan.

What is cruelty?

Cruelty is causing or allowing an animal to be in distress willfully or by negligence.

Section 2 <2> of The Animal Protection Act states that an animal is in distress if it is:
• Deprived of adequate food, water, care, or shelter
• Injured, sick, in pain, or suffering
• Abused or neglected

There are several forms of cruelty.

Lack of food, water, or shelter - By law, the person in charge of an animal must provide suitable and adequate food, water, and shelter.  Adequate shelter must be available to protect the animal from outdoor elements.  Animals must have shelter to provide relief from sun, extreme heat or cold, rain, snow and wind.

Failure to provide care - If an animal needs veterinary care, it must be provided within a reasonable period of time.

Abandoned animals - An animal abandoned without care is also a concern.

Physically abused animals - APOs investigate reports of assaulted animals, including poisonings.

Neglected animals - Animals must not be deprived of adequate care, be in pain, or be suffering. The current laws do not require owners to socialize their animals or take them for walks. The animal's emotional distress is difficult to evaluate and harder to record. APOs are able to investigate such things as unsanitary living conditions and the inability to exhibit normal physical posture or movement, such as being kept in an inappropriately sized enclosure or tethered by a short chain length.

An Animal Protection Officer, under the Animal Protection Act, can:
• Investigate complaints of neglect, cruelty, and animals in distress
• Obtain a search warrant to gain access to animals for the purpose of investigating possible distress situations
• Take appropriate action to relieve an animal in distress, including seizing the animal, where the owner has not taken appropriate action
• Inspect, without a warrant, during ordinary business hours, any premises other than a private dwelling where animals are kept for sale, hire or exhibition

An Officer cannot:
• Prevent someone from owning animals unless that person is convicted of an offence
• Prosecute someone for an offence without evidence

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