Dog Abuse Awareness Week in Saskatchewan

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Last year. Lucky Paws Dog Rescue approached the Saskatchewan Minister of Agriculture to see if he would declare June 24-30th as "Dog Abuse Awareness Week". Unfortunately, our request was turned down because he was more focused on abuse in the agricultural sector in Saskatchewan. Dog abuse is an important social issue affecting families and communities. Dog abuse includes physical abuse (non-accidental injury),emotional abuse, neglect, and staging animal fights. Physical abuse includes the infliction of injuries, sexual abuse or causing unnecessary pain, including inappropriate methods of training. Emotional abuse may include repeated or sustained ‘mental violence’ including withholding social interactions. Neglect is the failure to provide adequate levels of food, water, shelter, and veterinary care to the dogs or puppies causing poor physical condition. As a dog rescue here in Saskatchewan. We've come across dozens of dogs and puppies that have been abused one way or another. We all know, the animal abuse laws here in Saskatchewan are so vague and weak. Under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Injuring or endangering other animals
445. (1) Every one commits an offence who, willfully and without lawful excuse,

(a) kills, maims, wounds, poisons or injures dogs, birds or animals that are not cattle and are kept for a lawful purpose; or
(b) places poison in such a position that it may easily be consumed by dogs, birds or animals that are not cattle and are kept for a lawful purpose.
Marginal note:Punishment
(2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of not more than eighteen months or to both.

For Saskatchewan's Animal Protection Act

The Animal Protection Act, 2018 protects animals from distress, stating an animal is in distress if it is:

(a) deprived of:

(i) food or water sufficient to maintain the animal in a state of good health;
(ii) care or shelter; or
(iii) veterinary care or medical attention;

(b) in need of reasonable protection from injurious heat or cold;

(c) wounded, ill, in pain, suffering, abused or neglected;

(d) kept in conditions that:

(i) are unsanitary;
(ii) will significantly impair the animal’s health or well-being over time;
(iii) cause the animal extreme anxiety or suffering; or
(iv) contravene the prescribed standards, codes of practice or guidelines;


(e) 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 of the factors listed in this section.

The Animal Protection Act, 2018 excludes generally accepted management practices, which are listed in the The Animal Protection Regulations, 2018. (These regulations also include information about the powers and responsibilities of Animal Protection Officers in dealing with animals in distress.)

According to The Animal Protection Act, 2018:

4 (1) No person shall cause an animal to be in distress.

4 (2) No person responsible for an animal shall cause or permit the animal to be or to continue to be in distress.

4 (3) This section does not apply if the distress results from an activity carried on in accordance with the regulations or in accordance with reasonable and generally accepted practices of animal care, management, husbandry, hunting, fishing, trapping, pest control or slaughter

Penalties for violations of The Animal Protection Act, 2018 are punishable by fines and/or imprisonment.

There has not been one case of dog abuse in Saskatchewan that was published. Where the owner was sentenced to time in jail, a hefty fine given or a ban on owning a dog.

With local Animal Protection Officers. 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. 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 a judge’s decision.

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. The authority of Animal Protection Officers to enforce care or remove animals is limited by the lacking legislative regulations for companion animals in Saskatchewan’s antiquated Animal Protection Act.

We here at Lucky Paws Dog Rescue, would like the Minister of Agriculture to declare June 24-30 as "Dog Abuse Awareness" week permanently. This would help us educate people on what to look for, how they can help or who to call. As well. A Provincial Registry on people who have been investigated, convicted or banned from owning a dog. This would help rescues and the Humane Societies when it comes to adopting dogs/puppies, etc. This way we know the dog or puppy is going to a safe home.    


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