Work Continues on Registration Program for Rescues

A stakeholder meeting was held on Saturday, Oct. 21 in Saskatoon to discuss a new voluntary registration and certification program for rescues in Saskatchewan. A total of 38 people from 20 different animal welfare organizations attended the meeting.

This proposed program promotes the welfare of rescued and homeless animals by ensuring their physical, mental, and behavioural needs are met. A central component of the new program – “Saskatchewan Animal Rescue Standards” – has been drafted. This educational document provides a checklist of basic standards of care that are applicable for both dog and cat rescues. These rescue standards are based on the Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters (2010) developed by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians and the ASPCA Shelter Care Checklists:  Putting ASV Guidelines into Action.

The certification process will involve a review of documentation from the rescue as well as an inspection. For large foster-based rescues, a random sample of fosters will be selected for on-site inspections to verify that they are meeting the Saskatchewan Animal Rescue Standards.

The proposed program has been developed by a Working Group comprised of representatives from animal rescues, SPCAs/Humane Societies, the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association, Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Saskatchewan SPCA.

At the meeting, attendees were asked to share their initial thoughts on the program. They felt the program was straightforward and well-thought out. The idea of a mentorship component to the program was well received. Attendees also noted that the program can help build cooperation between rescues, while raising public awareness of the valuable work being done by rescues and shelters to care for homeless animals.

The Working Group plans to meet in January to continue development of this registration and certification program.

The following documents were discussed at the Oct. 21st meeting. Rescue groups and shelters are invited to review the documents and share their input on the feedback form or through Survey Monkey.

Commonly Asked Questions About Animal Seizures

By Kaley Pugh, Executive Director, Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan

In Saskatchewan, Humane Societies (HS) are defined by the Animal Protection Act, 1999 (APA) and designated by the Ministry of Agriculture. There are a number of Humane Societies in the province, including Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan (APSS). All Humane Societies and SPCAs in the province are separate organizations, with no oversight by any one umbrella organization.

Only five Humane Societies in Saskatchewan have APOs and do animal cruelty investigations:

  • Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan
  • Saskatoon SPCA
  • Regina Humane Society
  • Moose Jaw Humane Society
  • Prince Albert SPCA

(RCMP members and other police are also recognized as Animal Protection Officers.)

When APSS, or any other Humane Society/SPCA with an APO, seizes animals from an owner during an animal cruelty investigation, the public often has questions about how the procedure works and the outcomes for the owners and the animals. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about animal seizures:

What is a Humane Society’s legal authority to seize an animal?

Section 6 of the Animal Protection Act, 1999 (APA) gives an APO working for a Humane Society the authority to relieve animals of their distress, and Section 7 of the APA gives the authority to get a search warrant.

Where is an APO allowed to go during an inspection or investigation?

This depends on what stage the case is in, and what type of facility it’s at.  Anywhere animals for sale, hire or exhibition can be inspected or investigated during regular business hours without a warrant, unless it’s a private dwelling. (See Section 5 of APA.)

APOs can observe anything in “plain view” during execution of their duty to contact the owner to verify or discuss a complaint, but they can’t trespass. If APOs have evidence of an offence, they are then in investigation mode, and Charter of Rights issues regarding unreasonable search and seizure can come into play, meaning that they can only proceed with proper consent from the owner, or if they have a search warrant.

APOs have authority to get search warrants, and then can search the areas named in the warrant, including private dwellings if necessary, and can gather evidence that can be used in court. There are also very specific circumstances when APOs can investigate and gather evidence without a warrant, but they have to be careful to only use those provisions when truly necessary. If APOs are found to be searching or gathering evidence without the proper authority or right to do so, any evidence they gather can be thrown out, and result in the prosecution being severely compromised.

Why do people get so many “chances” before animals are taken away?

Section 6 of the APA says that APOs have authority to seize animals if the owner has failed to relieve them of their distress. In practical terms, this means that owners have to be given a chance to fix the problems that are causing the distress. The opportunity to relieve the distress and the timelines to do that have to reasonable. For example, the APO cannot require that an owner put 300 pounds on an underweight horse, and then seize the horse the next day because it hasn’t gained 300 pounds. However, some distress is more severe and must be rectified in a more urgent manner. Acutely injured animals must immediately be treated or euthanized, and failure to do that could result in a nearly immediate seizure of the animal and only one “chance” for the owner to fix the problem.

Who decides when animals need to be seized?

If an investigation has progressed to the point where APOs feel animals may need to be removed, usually they will have a veterinarian go to see the animals onsite. (In some cases, the APO may bring the animal to the veterinary clinic instead.) The veterinarian assesses whether the animal has adequate food, water, shelter, and care (which are the elements in question for distress under the APA), evaluates whether any corrective actions were taken or if action was appropriate, and recommends that the animal be seized or not. Veterinarians are considered experts by the courts, so investigations rely heavily on veterinary opinion regarding the adequacy of care. The APO is the one who actually seizes the animal.

APOs can seize animals without a veterinary consultation, but APSS doesn’t use that option as often because APOs are not considered experts by the courts. In cases where animals are seized by an APO alone, the distress is generally very obvious, and/or previous requirements have obviously not been followed.

Can veterinarians seize an animal without an APO?

No, the authority to remove an animal is the APO’s, not the veterinarian’s. Remember that RCMP members and other police are also APOs, and so they can authorize seizure in an emergency.

What happens after animals are seized by APSS?

This depends somewhat on the condition of the animal.  There are provisions for animals in severe distress that are discussed below.

In general, animals are held in the care of the HS that seized them for a 3-business day period.  During that time the HS will have made arrangements for whatever care is appropriate for the animal.

For cases handled by APSS, livestock are often held at auction market facilities, while companion animals are usually held at an animal shelter facility. Sometimes private caretakers are asked to care for smaller numbers of horses or other livestock. Occasionally, veterinarians are asked to care for companion animals in need of medical attention, or where an animal shelter facility is not available.

After the 3-day holding period, animals are usually sold or given away. Large herds of livestock are usually sold at auction as soon as possible after a seizure. Horses and small numbers of livestock like pigs and goats are sometimes given to their private caretakers. Companion animals are usually given to the shelter where they were housed; the shelter then becomes responsible for their ongoing care, adoption, etc.

Occasionally, livestock are in a condition where immediate sale is not appropriate. For example, when the Saskatchewan SPCA seized nearly 900 sheep in 2014, the ewes were lambing, hadn’t been sheared in a long time, and were severely under-condition. In that case, the Saskatchewan SPCA paid a caretaker to look after the sheep for several months in order to supervise their lambing, wean lambs, shear the ewes, and get them into better condition before sale.

Animals are also sometimes held for longer periods if there are special circumstances such as legal action preventing their sale, or if the owner has been granted an extension because they are making arrangements to pay the seizure expenses.

Who pays for the care of animals during the holding period?

The Humane Society that seized an animal is responsible for all costs, including the costs of the seizure and the care of the animal for as long as it is held. APSS rarely recovers these costs in companion animal cases because the animals are usually given to shelters. Where livestock is sold, the revenue is used to pay the seizure expenses, with any surplus being returned to the animal’s owner.

Can the owner get the animals back?

Section 10 of the APA says that the HS can sell or give the animal away if the owner has not paid the seizure expenses within the 3-business day holding period. What this means is that if an owner pays the expenses, the HS cannot sell the animal or give it away. Where an owner has paid the expenses, the animal is sometimes returned, since otherwise the HS would have to hold the animal and incur care expenses for an extended period of time, possibly until the outcome of a trial.

This section used to be interpreted to mean that if owners pay the expenses, they can automatically have their animals back, but this is no longer the case. Now, arrangements for the return of animals upon payment of expenses include that the animal’s conditions have been improved.

Humane Societies also have the ability to apply to the courts for custody of animals when charges have already been laid, which would prevent the return even if expenses are paid. This option is not used often, if ever, since it may have the consequence of the HS being responsible for an animal (not being able to sell it or give it away) until the outcome of a trial.

Police also have the option of arresting owners and laying charges immediately, and releasing them on conditions that they must not own or care for animals, essentially preventing the return of the animals.  This is done in only the most serious cases.

Can seized animals be euthanized?

After the 3-day holding period, the animal belongs to the HS and they can then euthanize it, give it away, sell it or whatever else is legal for the owner of an animal to do.

Section 6 (3) of the APA also gives an APO the authority to euthanize an animal if it’s in critical distress and cannot be relieved of its distress. So, if an animal cannot be kept free from pain, it can be euthanized during the holding period.

Does every seizure mean the owner gets charged?

No, every seizure does not result in charges, but generally if APSS has the grounds to seize an animal, they have the grounds for charges. Sometimes charges are not laid if there is nothing to be gained from the prosecution, or if there is a low likelihood of a successful prosecution. As an example, if an allegedly abandoned dog is seized, but APSS does not have good proof that the dog was abandoned and the owner’s story gives reasonable doubt, then charges may not be laid.

Can you charge someone if animals haven’t been seized?

Yes! Charges depend on evidence of distress, and the ability to prove that distress occurred. Seizure relates to whether the owner relieved the animal of its distress. APSS can, and has, laid charges where no animals have been seized. In one recent dog case, the owners voluntarily surrendered about 45 dogs to a rescue during the course of the investigation. APSS was not forced to seize the animals as they had been relieved of their distress. However, APSS did have sufficient evidence that the animals had been in distress during the APO’s visits, so charges were laid.

In another case, approximately 900 layer hens were in distress, but there was no way to seize them due to biosecurity, welfare risks during capture and transport, and quota issues. As a result, the birds were left on the farm but the owner was charged and ordered to depopulate.

For further information about animal protection in Saskatchewan, please contact:

Kaley Pugh, Executive Director, Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan

306.382.2418

http://animalprotectionservices.ca

 

 

Holidays Hours

Season’s greetings from all of us at the Saskatchewan SPCA.

HOLIDAY HOURS FOR 2015:

Thursday, Dec. 24:  open 8 a.m. to noon

Friday, Dec. 25 to Monday, Dec. 28 inclusive:  closed

Tuesday, Dec. 29:  open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 30:  open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 31:  open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 1 to Sunday, Jan. 3 inclusive:  closed

Monday, January 4:  open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you are calling to report suspected animal cruelty, please see the following for information about which agency to contact:  Reporting suspected animal neglect or abuse

Congratulations, Winners!

Congratulations to the following winners in this year’s Christmas Cash Lottery.

DAILY cash prize draws continue throughout the month of December; YOU could be our next lucky winner! (Ticket info:  https://www.prairieadtickets.ca/SSPCA/)

November 13, 2015 Marie Nadeau Davidson  $     1,000.00 11387
November 20, 2015 Rosemarie Schmaltz Sceptre  $     1,000.00 05257
November 27, 2015 Jane Wilmot Regina  $     1,000.00 29407
December 1, 2015 Julie Mazur Canora  $     1,000.00 25385
December 2, 2015 Roger Belton Candle Lake  $        200.00 12937
December 3, 2015 Kevin James Peepeetch Melville  $        200.00 10179

K-9 Calendar Makes a Great Gift

For the animal lover on your gift list … why not give the 2016 Saskatoon Police Service K9 Unit calendar. This unique 13-month calendar features photos of the hard-working members of their canine unit.

Proceeds in support of the Saskatchewan SPCA Stryker K-9 Care Fund, providing veterinary care for retired police dogs throughout the province.

Just $10. Get your copy today at the following locations:

  • Early’s Farm & Garden in Saskatoon (both locations)
  • Arlington Animal Hospital, Saskatoon
  • Saskatoon City Police Headquarters (at the front information desk)
  • Saskatchewan SPCA office (519 45th St W, Saskatoon)

OR Call:  1.877.382.7722.

Continue reading

It’s Time to Win!

It’s time to win … with the Saskatchewan SPCA’s Christmas Cash Lottery.

  • Grand prize draw:  $20,000
  • Daily cash prize draws throughout December
  • Huge supporter draw:  $10,000
  • Early bird draws for $1,000

PLUS the amazing 50/50 Kitty Pool. Last year, the Kitty Pool winner took home $30,675.

Get your tickets today by calling 1.877.577.7220 or see https://www.prairieadtickets.ca/SSPCA/

Your support helps us continue our work to prevent animal cruelty and ensure the humane treatment of animals. We are working to assist the animal and human victims of family violence … provide support for retired police dogs … and expand humane education programs for children. We host an annual educational conference attended by shelters and rescue groups from across the province. As well we are in the planning stages of an exciting new initiative to help protect homeless animals by through the registration and certification of rescue groups. Thank you for your generous support!

All lottery prize draws will be held at 588 1st Avenue, Regina, SK

  • Early bird draws:  Nov. 13, 20 and 27 at 4 p.m.
  • Daily draws:  Dec. 1-31 at 4 p.m.
  • Huge supporter draw:  Dec. 31 at 4 p.m.
  • Grand prize draw:  Dec. 31 at 4 p.m.
  • 50/50 draw:  Dec. 31 at 4 p.m.

Lottery licence #RR15-0396 and LR15-0057.  Tickets available for sale to Saskatchewan residents only.

 

Saving Fluffy to Changing Society: The many faces of animal welfare

 

By Dr. Sandra Neumann

Tuesday morning. Media are exploding with the story of Fluffy. Found in a dumpster Fluffy is seriously injured and needs major veterinary care. Unfortunately, we’re all too familiar with this or similar scenarios. Abandoned, neglected, abused pets left to die and rescued at the last minute.

These stories grab the headlines and touch our hearts. Animal welfare in action. Thinking about a topic for this article I thought it may be a good opportunity to give some recognition to the countless individuals who improve the welfare of animals but are rarely the focus of such media attention. They work behind the scenes and usually do not make the headlines. For them there are no spotlights, no interviews on Oprah, no going viral. They work quietly. Stubbornly. And sometimes at personal and professional risk, questioning the status quo.

They are the ones who butt heads with their colleagues and superiors trying to offer alternatives to things that “…we’ve done like this for over fifty years.” They are the ones who shift societal values, setting new directions that will improve the welfare of hundreds of thousands of animals in the future. They are the ones who propel society forward to a new level of animal welfare. They are a hundred people changing the minds of a thousand, changing the minds of ten thousand, changing the minds of a hundred thousand.

Who are these relentless fighters for animal welfare? And where can we find them?

Everywhere.

Animal welfare advocates work in the most likely and the most unlikely of places. They can even be found amongst groups that are often attacked for their lack of animal welfare. And they are active in some areas we may not even directly associate with animal welfare in the first place.

They are:

  • The many employees of SPCAs and Humane Societies who, often underpaid, work so very hard trying to improve the lives of animals in their care and spend hours taking care of them the best they can with often very limited resources.
  • Individuals who volunteer their time at a shelter or a sanctuary or provide expertise as a member of a board, a committee, or a working group.
  • Researchers changing testing protocols so fewer and fewer – and maybe at some point in the future, no animals at all – need to be used to get results.
  • Producers who recognize that if they treat their animals well and keep them healthy and happy their animals will provide for them and their families.
  • Hunters who ensure an animal is killed with a clean shot and sometimes spend hours tracking a wounded animal to minimize its suffering.
  • Trappers working on the development of more humane traps that kill instantaneously so animals are spared the panic they experience in live traps.
  • Members of the entertainment industry who are slowly moving away from animal-based performances and look toward groups like Cirque du Soleil for inspiration on how to entertain people without the use of animals.
  • Individuals working for pest control companies trying to find the most humane way of removing so-called “pests.”
  • Social workers who understand the link [between domestic violence and animal abuse] and try to encourage interagency cooperation and reporting.
  • Legislators who try to change the status of animals in law so they are no longer considered “property.”
  • Animal Protection Officers who enforce animal welfare legislation, often removing animals from impossible situations and laying charges so that these crimes can be appropriately punished.
  • Prosecutors who take animal abuse seriously, recognizing it as a both a legal and a community safety issue.
  • And yes, even some politicians (though few and far between) have been known to brave the ingrained opposition to propose changes that benefit animals.

For some animal welfare is part of their job or profession but many more go above and beyond because animal welfare is their passion. Their fight continues long after the spotlight has been shut off and the media frenzy has died down.

Let’s not forget these individuals who work quietly and tirelessly to improve the lives of countless animals, one day at a time, one project at a time. If you have a minute, think of them. If you meet any of them, thank them.

“The most important legacy you will ever leave is your vision planted in the minds of your disciples and a passion as strong as a storm in their hearts.” – Shannon L. Alder

 

Career Opportunity

COMMUNITY RELATIONS COORDINATOR

Overview

Use your skills in fundraising, public relation, and communications to help improve the welfare of animals. The Saskatchewan SPCA is seeking a full-time Community Relations Coordinator, based in Saskatoon. The successful candidate will organize public events, develop content for all types of print and electronic communication tools, and develop positive relationships with stakeholders on behalf of the Saskatchewan SPCA.

Established in 1928, the Saskatchewan SPCA is the provincial animal welfare organization working to promote the welfare of animals and prevent animal cruelty. While we work in cooperation with other SPCAs and Humane Societies in the province, the Saskatchewan SPCA is a separate and autonomous organization. Read more at http://sspca.ca/about-us/

Responsibilities

  • Grow existing and create new fundraising programs
  • Research sponsorship opportunities and cultivate relationships with potential funders
  • Assist with new social enterprise initiatives, as required
  • Develop and manage community outreach events
  • Prepare and deliver presentations to key stakeholders
  • Assist in the planning and staging of the annual Animal Welfare Conference
  • Research, write and edit content for internal and external communication tools including brochures, newsletters, media releases, fact sheets, websites, and social media
  • Serve as media spokesperson for the Saskatchewan SPCA, as required
  • Other duties as assigned

Education and experience

  • A university degree or diploma in a relevant area of study (communications, marketing, education, media relations, the humanities)
  • A genuine interest in improving the welfare of animals
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Excellent research skills
  • Comfortable in the use of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media
  • Competent in the use of Microsoft Word and PowerPoint
  • Experience with WordPress an asset
  • Ability to work independently or as part of a team, depending on the nature of the project
  • Enjoy making presentations to adults and children
  • Excellent organizational and decision-making skills
  • Able to work weekends and evenings, as required
  • A valid Saskatchewan driver’s license and reliable transportation required for travel throughout province

Salary and Office Information

Salary:  negotiable

Office Location:  519 – 45th Street West, Saskatoon

To apply

Send your resume and cover letter to:

  • info@sspca.ca   or
  • Saskatchewan SPCA, Box 37, Saskatoon, SK  S7K 3K

CLOSING DATE:  September 28, 2015

Questions about the position may be directed to:

Sandra Anderson:  sandra@sspca.ca

 

A Great Day of Golf at Critter Classic 2015

Green Acres Golf Course was the place to be on Saturday (Sept. 12th) for the Saskatchewan SPCA Critter Classic 2015.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this day a success:  golfers, sponsors, donors, organizers, Green Acres staff, and our volunteers. The highlight of the silent auction was a trip for two anywhere WestJet flies, along with a handy travel duffel bag. Thank you to WestJet for your amazing donation!

L_WestJet_4C

 

 

We extend an extra special thank you to our 2015 Critter Classic Major Sponsors:

Western Litho Printers (Pan 661 116)

 

 

 

prairie logo

 

 

Critter Classic 2015 Major Sponsors

 

 

 

Many thanks to our Hole Sponsors this year:

  • Regina Boxing
  • LG Fitness
  • Nobel Johnston
  • Albert North Vet Clinic (Jim Tourand)
  • Bergens Auto Body
  • Supreme Basics (Jason Fischer)
  • Kevin Mellor Law
  • Kinetic Auto Services Ltd.
  • Fraser Strategy
  • Superior Garage
  • Able Courier
  • Supremex
  • Outlaw Communications

Funds raised at Critter Classic help the Saskatchewan SPCA continue our work to ensure the humane treatment of animals.

Hope to see you in 2016 for our 6th annual Critter Classic!