Your role in helping prevent animal abuse
Animal protection agencies rely on the public to report incidences
Article: Evan Radford – Contributor
Successfully preventing direct animal abuse depends on the public’s vigilance in reporting and recording cases, says Taylor Bendig, a former animal protection officer with the Regina Humane Society.
Bendig says animal protection agencies have very limited resources. He says if the public is vigilant in reporting and recording cases, for example with a smartphone camera, “It really increases the chances of prosecution of the owner, or extraction of the animal to a better environment.”
Bendig advises, “If you suspect something, report it; if you see something, film it, call it in, file a witness statement, because evidence makes a difference.” He says, “It’s in the public’s hands in a lot of ways.”
Bendig’s comments are timely, because of a recent case where a severely burned, seven week old puppy, Nero, was found in a Saskatchewan work camp. It is believed a person intentionally set the puppy on fire after dowsing its head with a flammable liquid.
Nero’s is not the only recent case. In late August, a black labrador in Melville was found dead with its larynx and its jugular slashed. In late July, Prince Albert area resident Dianne Campbell found 23 cats dumped on her driveway, some severely beaten, others dead with their heads stomped in.
Kaley Pugh is the manager of animal protection services at the Saskatchewan SPCA. She says severe cases like these “are difficult to investigate,” because there isn’t necessarily “direct evidence of the person abusing their animal.”
She refers to a recent case where a Regina man was prosecuted for beating his dog. Pugh notes the case went to trial because the man’s neighbour filmed him beating his dog, producing the needed video evidence.
The Saskatchewan Animal Protection Act states, “No person responsible for an animal shall cause or permit the animal to be, or to continue to be in distress.” Animals in distress are defined as: being deprived of adequate food, water, care or shelter; injured, sick, in pain, or suffering; and abused or neglected.
The Act sets the maximum fine for animal neglect at $25,000 for each convicted offence. Previously, maximum fines were set at $5,000 for a first offence, and $10,000 for subsequent offences. The new legislation also sets the imprisonment period at a maximum of two years for those convicted of animal neglect.
The Regina Humane Society says those who witness an act of animal cruelty should contact the Regina Police service.