Community member advocating for changes to 'vague' animal protection legislation
YORKTON -- A woman in Yorkton is advocating for changes to Saskatchewan’s Animal Protection Act, after reporting what she believed to be a case of alleged animal mistreatment.
Alicia Simoneau said she initially learned about the dogs on a Cupar-area farm about seven months ago through a post on Facebook.
During the heatwave two weeks ago, new pictures of the same dogs were shared in a Facebook group, where community members alleged the dogs appeared malnourished and lacked access to water.
“I did file a complaint with animal protection and the response I got was that there is an investigation and that (they) are looking into it,” Simoneau said.
CTV News contacted the owner of the dogs who declined an interview. The owner denied the allegations and described the dogs as “working dogs.” He said he takes care of the dogs and provides them with food and shelter.
In a statement, RCMP said an investigation determined the dogs had access to adequate space, shade, shelter, food and water, as defined by the Animal Protection Act.
Although Simoneau and other community members have expressed their concerns, Animal Protection Services said it can only enforce the current legislation.
"All Animal Protection Services staff and animal protection officers obviously have a passion and care for animals. But despite what their personal beliefs about how animals are cared for they can only enforce the legislation as it is written now," Don Ferguson, executive director at Animal Protection Services.
Simoneau argues the legislation is vague and leaves room for interpretation. She, along with a group of other concerned community members, is advocating for changes, including a code of practice for companion animals and classifying animals as sentient beings. Quebec introduced similar changes to its legislation in 2015.
“If you look at the law you can see that, well if someone is giving the bare minimum, the basics…there's nothing that the animal protection officer can do,” Simoneau said.