The Saskatchewan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has issued an urgent plea for people to stop neutering their pets using elastic bands, after five cases of injured animals were recently reported.
"This is not an acceptable practice in dogs," Kaley Pugh, the society's manager of protection services, told CBC News Tuesday. "They really do suffer a lot when you do this to them."
Pugh said the five cases they found involved dogs that had developed serious complications from the forced strangulation of their testicles.
The action caused horrific injuries to the dogs, she said.
Pugh said the practice of using bands on livestock is not unusual, but it is not appropriate for dogs.
She added the SPCA could prosecute owners if they find examples of people using that method.
"Owners who put the health and safety of their dogs at risk through home neutering practices may be charged for violations of the Animal Protection Act and/or the Criminal Code," she said.
Pugh said the photos she has seen, related to the five cases, are disturbing.
"It made me really sad and it's unfortunate that animals have to go through this," she said.
According to Pugh, the elastic bands used were specifically designed for the neutering of livestock.
Experts on animal health note castration of a dog by banding causes extreme pain and may result in a number of serious complications.
There is also a risk of self-mutilation by the dog as it licks at painful tissue.