Saskatchewan has had its share of unfortunate incidents involving animals, including one in Saskatoon where 14 dogs died as a result of a malfunctioning thermostat. Now, stronger laws are being introduced to better protect animal welfare. Animal protection officers will now be able to enter kennels and fur farms without a warrant.

"And so now there is specific requirements in regards to sanitation so animals that are kept in unsanitary conditions will now be considered distressed. Animals that require protection from injurious heat or cold will be defined as distressed so those are significant improvements for us," said Kaley Pugh, Animal Protection Services.

Changes proposed in the legislature will also force veterinarians to report suspected cases of animal abuse.

"They were worried about their business prior to this so that they didn't get in trouble with their clients if they did have something to report. So now if it's required by the act, they have no choice but to report it."

The Animal Legal Defense Fund has Saskatchewan in last place among province for effective animal protection laws. The government believes stiffer animal protection laws will serve as a deterrent against neglect.

“Protecting the health and welfare of our province’s animals is a priority for our government,” Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said in a written release. “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.”

“Updating The Animal Protection Act will go a long way in helping ensure the health and welfare of animals across the province,” said Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association president Dr. Lesley Sawa in a written release.

With files from Wayne Mantyka.