Saskatchewan

New rules make it mandatory for veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse and neglect

Saskatchewan is updating the law governing animal protection in the province.

Animal Protection Act updated by provincial government

Amendments to the Animal Protection Act were introduced at the Saskatchewan Legislature on Monday afternoon. (AFP/Getty Images)

Saskatchewan is updating the law governing animal protection in the province.

Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart introduced amendments to the Animal Protection Act on Monday afternoon.

The changes will make it mandatory for veterinarians to report suspected neglect or abuse.

Protection worker welcomes change

"That's important because there's a really well documented link between abuse to people and abuse to animals," said Kaley Pugh, executive director of Animal Protection Services. 

"And quite often veterinarians know things that are happening to animals, and then sometimes their people as well, that no one else knows about."

The rules will broaden the definition of distress to include unsanitary conditions and heat and cold that could lead to injuries.

Animal protection officers (APO) will have the ability to issue corrective action orders and inspect locations where services for animals are provided, including kennels, veterinary offices and slaughterhouses.

Rules will keep kennel owners on their toes: minister

Pugh said her organization lays charges in about 20 cases a year. In most cases, there is a conviction. There are five other animal protection agencies in the province that lay charges. 

Minister Stewart said the changes will keep people who run slaughterhouses and kennels on their toes.

"They'll make sure they're in compliance with the act at all times now, not just when they have been asked for an APO to visit. They can expect those visits anytime," said Stewart.

"I think these changes are necessary because society demands them and we do want to keep our animals safe and well cared for."

The legislation now prohibits transporting disabled animals and has stricter guidelines on animal euthanasia and slaughter.

The Animal Protection Act was last updated in 2009.

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