Nonprofit begins animal welfare enforcement in Saskatoon on July 1

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The Saskatoon SPCA discontinued service in Saskatoon in April after the province turned down a funding request last fall.

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The Saskatoon SPCA discontinued this service in early April due to lack of provincial funding for this work.

The SPCA made the announcement in January after the Department of Agriculture turned down its request for funding last fall. Provincial contract workers responded to calls and some calls were referred to Saskatoon police.

The Saskatoon Animal Control Agency – which handles animal bylaw enforcement in the city – and the ministry have not formalized the agreement for the local agency to provide animal welfare enforcement services to Saskatoon, the City of Saskatoon said in a statement.

The city said the department instead maintained law enforcement services by using contract staff during the transition period.

The Ministry of Agriculture, in a press release, highlighted the doubling of provincial funding for the APSS – to $1.6 million – in the 2022-2023 budget for the expansion of services, and said that he planned to continue working with all of the agencies in Saskatoon.

The APSS previously said the increase would allow it to go from eight to 10 animal protection officers and hire another dispatcher.

The ministry said the APSS, a law enforcement agency entering a new jurisdiction, needed time to set up logistics and infrastructure and to hire and train new staff.

After reviewing its options, the department said it “organized the necessary resources and worked with the APSS to ensure a qualified team was in place to ensure proper animal welfare enforcement during this time.” transition until APSS begins covering Saskatoon beginning July 1, 2022.”

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He said the APSS would provide its services in Saskatoon on weekdays, as it does in other cities and in rural Saskatchewan. After-hours emergency concerns should be referred to city police, the ministry statement said.

Saskatoon Police Department spokeswoman Alyson Edwards said in an email that discussions between the city, province and police are continuing on the level of service for animal protection enforcement.

The police receive about one call a day regarding an animal welfare complaint, and most fall under municipal bylaws and are dealt with by SACA.

Others, which fall under provincial law, are handled on weekdays by provincial contractors, but there are currently no agencies assigned to respond after hours and on weekends, she said.

“While these calls may be referred to the police, we do not currently have the equipment, training or shelter agreements in place to respond and enforce the (Animal Welfare Act). Additionally, our agents must respond to higher priority service calls first,” she wrote.

APSS executive director Don Ferguson said they are currently working with the City of Saskatoon to keep the current Animal Services number, which directs all animal-related calls, the same.

By choosing the option to report animal abuse or neglect issues, a caller would then be automatically directed to an APSS dispatcher. The APSS also has a online reporting option.

“Despite the abbreviated schedule, the APSS is confident that we can provide the same level of service to the City of Saskatoon as we do to the rest of the province beginning July 1,” Ferguson said in an email.

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