Amendments to the Animal Protection Act

In November 2017, the Government of Saskatchewan announced plans to amend the Animal Protection Act.

The draft of the changes to the Act are available for review by the public.

From Saskatchewan.ca:

Province Introduces Updates to Animal Protection Act

Released on November 27, 2017

Today, Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart announced amendments to Saskatchewan’s Animal Protection Act.

“Protecting the health and welfare of our province’s animals is a priority for our government,” Stewart said.  “It’s important that as our knowledge of animal welfare changes, our legislation changes to keep pace with it.  The Animal Protection Amendment Act, 2017, will ensure Saskatchewan’s legislation is up-to-date, consistent with other jurisdictions and provides clear direction for enforcement agencies, so that our animal welfare system is responsive to today’s needs.”

Changes include broadening the definition of distress, giving animal protection officers the ability to issue corrective action orders and expanding locations they can inspect to include boarding kennels and other sites where animal services are provided.

These changes give clearer direction for animal protection officers providing intervention or relief of distress.  Animals are not considered to be in distress if kept according to the codes of practice that are listed in The Animal Protection Regulations.

Additionally, the Act proposes that veterinarians will be required to report suspected animal neglect or abuse to animal protection agencies.

“Updating The Animal Protection Act will go a long way in helping ensure the health and welfare of animals across the province,” Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association (SVMA) President Dr. Lesley Sawa said.  “The SVMA requested provisions for mandatory veterinary reporting of animal neglect and abuse and we are pleased to see that included.”

“The humane treatment of animals in Saskatchewan is our priority and the suggested legislative updates support our mission to provide effective animal welfare education and enforcement,” Animal Protection Services Saskatchewan Executive Director Kaley Pugh said.

The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for administering the Act and ensuring it provides clear direction for enforcement of animal protection for all animals in the province.  The ministry also approves humane societies and appoints animal protection officers to enforce the Act.

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For more information, contact:

Lauren Golosky
Agriculture
Regina
Phone: 306-787-4031
Email: lauren.golosky@gov.sk.ca
Cell: 306-520-7420

Click here to download Bill 28-110, An Act respecting the Protection of Animals and making consequential amendments to certain Acts.

Blog: Hey everyone… (an update on Jack)

Hey everyone…

By Leanne Sillers, BSW, RSW
Animal Safekeeping Coordinator
Saskatchewan SPCA

A post-surgery, post-cone Jack is back to his usual self.

Sorry it’s been so long to let you know what has been happening with Jack. Just a quick recap, my 3-year-old golden retriever, Jack, was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor in October 2017. We were waiting on a surgery date and an MRI.  I got the call at the end of the October that his MRI would be scheduled for November 6, 2017. This was being done to see if the tumor had spread and to allow the surgeons to get a really good look at the best way to remove the tumour. Surgery was then scheduled two days later. The waiting was the worst. Wait for the MRI. Wait for surgery date. Wait for the results.

The day of the surgery was so hard. Jack has no issue about going to the vet. He happily walked into the vet college, while I had tears in my eyes not wanting to let him go. The vet student took him in and said she would contact me as soon as the surgery was over. Again more waiting. The surgery was set to take place around 10:00 a.m. and would take over an hour. By noon I heard nothing. By 1:00 p.m. nothing. By 3:00 p.m. I finally phoned. They had an emergency come in and it took longer than what they thought. Jack was just getting prepped to go to the operating room. At 5:30 p.m., I got the call. He was out of surgery. It went well and the cancer had not spread. This was absolutely the best news I could have gotten.

I was able to pick him up the next day in the late afternoon. He was happy to see me (even with his cone on) but he was so groggy. I was expecting a small incision. Nope! It was 8-inches long, red, and swollen. The stitches reminded me of Frankenstein. Not only that, but half of his back was shaved right down.

The healing process took longer than expected. He popped the stitches, so they stapled it back together. And guess what? He popped the staples. It was where the tumour was and the skin was pulled together so the tension was tight. For five weeks we had a cone head in our house. By the end of that time, Jack was certainly tired of the cone, but so was I. He was banging into stuff, couldn’t fit in his kennel and his exercise was very limited.

So here we are on January 10, 2018, his fur is almost all grown back. The incision is slightly pink but no issues. He is back to his happy golden self.

Big thanks to all the staff at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine who looked after my golden boy so well, and for being so kind to me when I could barely speak because I was so upset. Also to my co-workers for your support and kindness through all this.

– Leanne

2017 Christmas Cash Lottery Winners List

Congratulations to all winners in the 2017 Saskatchewan SPCA Christmas Cash Lottery.

On behalf of the Board and staff of the Saskatchewan SPCA, thank you to everyone who supported the Society through this season’s lottery!

Draw Date: Winner’s Name City: Amount: Ticket:
November 11
Early Bird Draw
 Pamela Haig Bartley  Saskatoon  $1,000  02866
 November 18
Early Bird Draw
 Frances Wilkie  Shell Lake  $1,000  01011
November 25
Early Bird Draw
 Judy Cutler  Arcola  $1,000  02802
December 1
Festive Friday
 Natividad Gallardo  Biggar  $500  10123
December 2  Rhonda Eiteneier  Halbrite  $100  10028
December 3  Marvel Sully  Estevan  $100  10813
December 4  Marnie Brand  Saskatoon  $100  21059
December 5  Gerald Seabrook  Carrot River  $100  12662
December 6  Lorna Jones  Wapella  $100  17896
December 7  Sharon Bozek  Wynyard  $100  20677
December 8
Festive Friday
 Ken Umperville  Saskatoon  $500  21124
December 9  Bruce Ryberg  Major  $100  15637
December 10  Trudy Krenz  Lumsden  $100  21013
December 11  Kim Arndt  Prince Albert  $100  04790
December 12  Heather Henry  LaRonge  $100  16127
December 13  John Nowoselski  Bradwell  $100 02250
December 14  Shirley Kuryluk  Humboldt $100 14340
December 15
Festive Friday
 Ken Louvel  Regina  $500  13338
December 16  Kenny Davey  Saskatoon  $100  00507
December 17  Jane Krausher  Grenfell  $100  12604
December 18  Betty Clearwater  Estevan  $100  03858
December 19  H. Kevin Butt  Mantario  $100  15046
December 20  Isabel Zataruk  Saskatoon  $100  15599
December 21  Joel Boschman  Saskatoon  $100  21555
December 22
Festive Friday
 Shannon Spafford  Leslie  $500  15941
December 23  Brian Halushka  Lafleche  $100  02391
December 24  Eileen Konkin  Pelly  $100  13554
December 25  Allan Nohlgren  Melville  $100  20320
December 26  Brenda Desjardins  Prince Albert  $100  06221
December 27  Bill Liskowick  Regina  $100  00576
December 28  William Robertson  Arelee  $100  13391
December 29
Festive Friday
 Bill Bradford  Clavet  $500  01768
December 30  Ron & Valorie Dolha  Southey  $100  06436
December 31
Grand Prize
 Rose Hoedel  Grayson  $25,000  11742
December 31
Huge Supporter
 Sharon Palagian  Endeavor  $10,000  14519
December 31
50/50 Kitty Pool
 Dom Corbett  Rosthern  $26,500  14739

 

Blog: Next steps…

Cancer is a disease that affects thousands of Canadian families each year. While it’s a disease that attacks humans, many animals, including family pets, will face the fight as well. This new blog by Leanne Sillers, the Saskatchewan SPCA’s Animal Safekeeping Coordinator, will document what her family experiences as Jack, their beloved golden retriever, begins treatment for a mast cell tumour.

Follow Leanne and Jack’s journey as they navigate their way through a life-changing situation.

Next steps…

By Leanne Sillers, BSW, RSW
Animal Safekeeping Coordinator
Saskatchewan SPCA

Jack keeps a close eye on Leanne’s office.

As October 18th came closer, the more I worried as to what the oncologist was going to tell me about my handsome golden retriever.

As Jack, my husband, and I arrive at the vet college, I was the only one that was becoming emotional. Jack was wagging his tail at everyone, per usual, and my husband was positive, as he always is. So was I overreacting to the tumor? Again, the staff at the vet college were amazing! They explained what the tumor was, the options we had, and the steps we needed to take to get there. Of course I shed some tears just thinking about what the possibilities might be.

I was hoping for more answers, but until they get a better look at the tumor we are still in limbo. Blood work was done and it all came back positive. And now we needed a urine sample!? Of course Jack had just peed right before I took him in, so that meant I had to collect a sample. My husband told me the look on my face was priceless when the doctor was talking about this. I won’t go into details about collecting the sample; it really wasn’t difficult. I actually felt a little bit like a mad scientist getting the urine in the vial with my surgical gloves on. I can only imagine what it looked like.

A few days later we got the results of the urine sample, and again, all looks good. His surgery is now scheduled for November 8th. The oncologist seems positive but there are no guarantees.

As I am writing this, Jack is sound asleep, not a care in the world. I am really trying to be like him and just chill and not focus on “what if.” I need to keep telling myself, he is eating and drinking water. He still wants to go for walks and play – he can’t possibly be sick. So for the next couple of weeks, we’ll keep plugging away and thinking good thoughts for the surgery.

It’s amazing how one dog can have an impact on so many people. He actually got a get well card. Think good thoughts for November 8th.

Click here to see all blog entries by Leanne Sillers.

Blog: In the blink of an eye…

Cancer is a disease that affects thousands of Canadian families each year. While it’s a disease that attacks humans, many animals, including family pets, will face the fight as well. This new blog by Leanne Sillers, the Saskatchewan SPCA’s Animal Safekeeping Coordinator, will document what her family experiences as Jack, their beloved golden retriever, begins treatment for a mast cell tumour.

Follow Leanne and Jack’s journey as they navigate their way through a life-changing situation.

In the blink of an eye….

By Leanne Sillers, BSW, RSW
Animal Safekeeping Coordinator
Saskatchewan SPCA

Leanne Sillers and her golden retriever, Jack.

It amazes me, still at my age, how things can still catch me off guard. What started out as a routine physical for my 3-year-old golden retriever, Jack (Jackpot as some of you may know him), has begun a journey that I was not expecting. On Tuesday [Oct. 10], Jack had his regularly scheduled yearly exam. We attend the vet college here in Saskatoon; they take such good care of him. As they were asking me about him, I mentioned how he had a small lump on the right side of his back leg. It had been there a few months, sometimes it was big but then it would shrink. They proceeded to go through the options as to what it might be – a lymphoma, a cyst, or a small chance of a mast cell tumor. Of course the mere thought of a tumor got me upset, but I figured he is young and healthy; it’s probably nothing. They proceeded to insert a small needle into the lump to take a sample.

Fast forward to Wednesday [Oct. 11] at 3 pm. The phone rings from the vet college with results of his blood work and the sample. The vet says “all the blood work is good, but now for the bad news: the lump, is in fact, a mast cell tumor.” She explains that she has made an appointment for Jack and me to see the oncologist next week to discuss treatment options.

I was in complete disbelief – Jack is 3, he exercises every day, he eats a raw food diet with supplements, I don’t over vaccinate; how can this be?! Immediately I googled mast cell tumor. So much information and I was not able to process it at the moment.

When I arrived home and saw my handsome golden – I burst into tears. I found myself looking at him, not as a healthy happy dog, but now ill and lethargic. I tried to remember his every move from the last six months to try figure how this could happen. It was a long night.

I know he is not a child who is seriously ill and am certainly not comparing this to any parent that has gone through that. Some people will say “he is just a dog.” But he is a member of my family, and an important one at that. He adds laughter and fun into my life. He provides unconditional love and acceptance. As a therapy dog, he does something with clients that I can’t even begin to explain, but he somehow makes them feel better for a short while.

Although I have only worked at the Saskatchewan SPCA since March, my co-workers and supervisors have been so kind and supportive. I am lucky to have that. They understand “he is not just a dog, he is my dog.” They understand the strength and importance of the human-animal bond.

What is Pet Therapy?

By Allison Bokitch, BA., M.A. — Psych
Owner/Operator KENRO Dog Training Services & Registered Golden Retrievers
www.kenrodogtraining.com

St. John’s Ambulance defines pet therapy as “… bringing comfort, joy and companionship to members of the community who are sick, lonely or reside in full-time care facilities. Residents reap the therapeutic benefits of the unconditional love of a four-legged friend.” Along with this explanation, it is also a proven fact documented by the medical profession that the patting and stroking of a dog has a calming effect and can result in lower blood pressure and can ease tension (St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dog brochure, 2005).

Allison Bokitch and her golden retrievers

What is a good therapy dog? What qualities and characteristics must my dog have in order to be a good therapy dog? Is there a specific breed used as a therapy dog? These are all questions that seem to arise when talking about potential therapy dogs. When it comes to pet therapy, there is no one breed of dog that is only allowed to participate. I have seen many breeds participate in therapy work; everything from Yorkshire terriers to Irish wolfhounds. I must share my bias now as I’m partial to thinking that golden retrievers are THE best therapy breed choice but I know that is not true. Having a dog that is well suited for therapy work goes well beyond knowing some obedience commands and being able to comply. Therapy work is for the dog that wants to do this work. When I was going through my testing there was a sheltie that was very obedient and listened and responded to every word her owner said; however she was reluctant around people and you could tell she did not enjoy herself at all. It was purely another task she was being told to do. Your dog has to want to be around people all the time. Your dog has to want to be constantly touched and sometimes roughly. Your dog has to thrive on being in the limelight so to speak!

Therapy dogs must not startle easily. In health care facilities, schools or prisons there is a lot of activity going on regularly. Your dog will be exposed to people moving very quickly. For this reason, you do not warn your dog to chase them or get extremely excited if this happens. Things bang and fall and if your dog startles and does not recover extremely quickly, it will hinder your work. You will encounter people that look different, they maybe don’t respond to your dog at all, or they might be wearing something different. Exposing animals to medical equipment is also very beneficial. Equipment that makes funny noises like an oxygen machine that has long hoses and attached equipment also makes some dogs either too curious or afraid. Socialization is the key when it comes to thinking about therapy work.

A dog you choose to do therapy work has to be calm and gentle. They do need to know some commands such as the basics like sit, down, and stay. Knowing how to walk on a loose leash is also very important. I always like to suggest that the dogs doing this work know a few other things as well. Teaching the command “leave it” is extremely important as there have been situations where Mr. Jones has spilled his lunch or Mrs. Smith has dropped her medication on the floor. I also use the command “paws up,” which means the dog is permitted to put his front paws on the side of the patient’s bed. Even if you have trained your dog to do this, please ask the patients if they would like you to do this as some individuals would not like a dog on their beds. This is particularly useful when you have a patient who is bedridden but still wants to interact with your dog. Many people think that if they want to participate in therapy work with their dog they will just get a breed that is usually friendly and that is it! Well, I can speak from experience that that is not always the case. You can not always predict that your animal is going to have what it takes to do this work, or more importantly, enjoy it. We have to remember that doing this work can be very stressful for dogs. Having a dog that is stressed can lead to many situations that you would want to avoid. Many dogs have great temperaments, are very obedient and listen well but you have to truly see a sparkle in their eye, or their eyes light up, or they smile when it’s time to go work. I am going to take that as my cue to retire them when I no longer see that sparkle when we get ready to go.

Visiting pets, therapy dogs, and therapy pets are just some of the names given to describe programs in which animals help people just by visiting with them. As participation in such programs grows so does the vocabulary describing different aspects of pet visiting. For example, the preferred use for the term Animal Assisted Therapy is for formal treatment programs, usually involving one particular animal and handler assigned to one particular client. The handler and the health care provider consult on specific goals to be accomplished and planning on how to accomplish those goals. The preferred use for more informal programs is Animal Assisted Activities. You will see a great variety of terms as groups struggle to find terms that are descriptive without being confusing. The most commonly used term for a dog visiting in residential care facilities is therapy dog.

Visiting with animals can help people feel less lonely and less depressed. Visits from dogs can provide a welcome change from routine or the renewal of old friendships. People become more active and responsive both during and after visiting with animals. An animal visit can offer entertainment or a welcome distraction from pain and infirmity. People often talk to the dogs and share with them their thoughts, feelings, and memories. Animal visits provide something to look forward to. Stroking a dog or cat can reduce a person’s blood pressure. Petting encourages the use of hands and arms, stretching, and turning. The pet makes it easier for two strangers to talk. It gives people a common interest and provides a focus for conversation. Many people in hospitals or group homes have had to give up pet ownership and they miss the casual acceptance a pet gives them. A dog pays little attention to age or physical ability but accepts people as they are. The benefits continue even after the visit. The visit leaves behind memories, not only of the visit, but of past experiences. It offers something for people to share.

First and foremost, we must acknowledge that a therapy dog is not a service dog. A therapy animal has no special rights to go into a building unless he is invited. There are certain documents that must be produced for the facility in order for you to be allowed entry with your dog. Please be aware that since pet therapy has not been around for long, there are still some facilities that have difficulty with allowing animals into a clean hospital. When you are allowed entry into a facility with your canine companion, please respond with a sincere thank you because you will be getting thanked in the end. Many think that they are doing you a favour by letting you come with your furry friend, but not long after they will realize that you are providing something to the residents of the facility that is almost unexplainable.

Providing pet therapy is merely allowing individuals who are sick, mentally challenged, lonely, or incapacitated in some way an outlet to receive some unconditional love and attention. Through this, it has been medically proven to lower blood pressure, ease tension and anxiety, foster communication, inspire a willingness to continue to live despite their medical condition, and to instill hope in whatever they may be clinging to.

In my experience, pet therapy can help a whole range of people. In the past we have worked with Alzheimer’s patients, shut-ins, blind people, physically and mentally challenged people, and people who are just plain lonely. The benefits to these people are immeasurable and the animals reach them in ways that we are not even able to realize. We must appreciate that even though we have documented medical evidence that shows us the physical things dogs and other animals can do for these people, we have to remember that sometimes we don’t really see anything with our eyes. When we think that we wasted our visit with Mr. Jones today, please stop and think about what you did for Mr. Jones. Maybe Mr. Jones had not talked for quite some time. Maybe he hadn’t sat up in his chair for even longer. Or maybe he hadn’t shown any emotion for a long time, and today he smiled. We must remember to notice the little things, because you probably have just made Mr. Jones’ day and you never even knew it! We also have to remember that when we visit with these people, our dogs see them as just another person. Our dogs don’t care if they are blind, drool a little, cannot speak properly, or tell the same story over and over again. Our dogs also provide them with unconditional love and non-judgmental interaction so that these patients can just be themselves; and for a moment they can forget about their disability.

Web exclusive content from Allison Bokitch:

Hopefully by this point you are now getting a better idea about how pet therapy can help so many people, no matter the situation. I wish to leave you with a story that helped me to learn that sometimes we don’t need theories and psychological testing to measure success. Sometimes it is just seeing an individual thrive because of their spirits being lifted, even if it is only for a moment.

My dog and I went on one of our weekly visits to one of the hospitals we visit frequently and, as usual, my dog was very excited and eager to go to work. As we entered the building many were around wanting to pet my dog, of course, he didn’t mind at all — He is a true golden, of course! As we started making our rounds we noticed one of my dog’s favorite little ladies just sitting in her room. He always seemed to sense when he needed to go and see somebody, so off we went. Like always, I asked if she wanted us to come in and she did. She was a fine looking lady with silver hair and a very tiny stature. She always sat in her wheelchair and never said much. Although she never really said much to me, she was always very fixated on my dog. She would ask the same questions of me – like what my name was, what my dog’s name was, and what the weather was like. She, at times, seemed shy or nervous as my dog was a big boy but she never missed the opportunity for us to stop by. Gradually, as time went on, she did remember my dog but not his name. She would repeatedly ask me the same questions. She was much more comfortable with giving him treats as she would always comment on how gentle he was. After visiting her on many occasions, I began to question what we were really doing. Were we making a difference?

Every now and then a nurse would say “It’s so nice of you to come out,” or “Our residents really like your dog.” I was looking more for the psychological aspect of things, as that stems from my work. I guess I wasn’t sure how I was going to measure that until one day when my dog and I arrived at the hospital. All of sudden our “little, old, tiny lady” was excited. She never really showed any emotion or talked much before we started to come for visits. As I approached her she called over to her husband and daughter, who had been visiting, to see the dog that comes to visit. This is the most emotion or noise that I ever heard from this woman. She showed her relatives how she gave my dog a treat and patted him, and the best thing ever? She smiled! At the end of our visit that day this lady’s daughter came up to me and thanked me for doing what I do, as her mother has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t often show emotion or talk. The daughter told me that they have noticed a change in her mother since we started visiting. At this point I didn’t need to know any more psychological theories or ways to figure out our progress. Pet therapy is something that is very different to everybody and it’s measured in different ways, depending on who you talk to. When we are looking for some great revelation or earth shattering experience, we must think about the little old lady with the silver hair in her wheel chair showing no emotion. This is what pet therapy is all about – improving the quality of life of others around us.

Notice of 2017 AGM

The Saskatchewan SPCA Annual General Meeting will be held:

Date: Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Place: Saskatchewan SPCA Office, 519 45th Street West, Saskatoon

Everyone is welcome. The AGM is open to the public.

Questions? 1.877.382.7722 or info@sspca.ca