- The Saskatchewan government narrowly avoided an animal protection gap before the planned end of some Saskatoon SPCA services.
- Except for the province’s two largest cities, the provincial government funds APSS to respond to reports of animals in distress throughout Saskatchewan.
- APSS will use the new $800,000 to hire new employees, including two animal protection officers for Saskatoon, the same number as the SPCA.
The Saskatchewan government narrowly avoided an animal protection gap before the planned end of some Saskatoon SPCA services.
The provincial budget for 2022-23, which was tabled Wednesday, increases funding for the Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan (APSS) to $1.6 million, allowing it to take over the city’s animal protection services previously provided by the city’s SPCA.
The provincial government funds APSS to respond to reports of animals in distress throughout Saskatchewan, except the province’s two largest cities. As of April 1, the organization will also be in charge of Saskatoon, where the provincial government has never provided funding for animal protection services.
“Our mission and mandate are to improve the quality of life for animals in Saskatoon,” said Graham Dickson, executive director of the Saskatoon SPCA. “For the first time, the provincial government is investing in that.” “In that sense, it’s a win for us.”
The Saskatoon SPCA relied on donations to fund animal welfare enforcement in the absence of provincial support.
According to Dickson, donations in the future can go toward proactive programming to keep animals from ending up in the shelter in the first place.
The new $800,000 will be used by APSS to hire new staff, including two animal protection officers for Saskatoon, the same number as the SPCA had. The organization will employ ten animal protection officers across the province at full strength.
As per Don Ferguson, executive director of APSS, the new funding will also pay for a dispatcher.
“A significant investment in animal welfare in the province,” Ferguson said of the budget allocation announced on Wednesday.
Beginning in April, APSS, the City of Saskatoon, and the Saskatoon Police Service will collaborate on enforcement, with APSS conducting full enforcement by the fall.
During the transition, the Saskatoon Animal Control Agency will provide enforcement, and Saskatoon police officers will have the authority to file charges in animal cruelty cases.
“Animal welfare is a shared responsibility, as well as collaboration is and will proceed to be important when it comes to investigation and enforcement,” Saskatoon Police Service spokesperson Brad Jenning writes in an email to Global News.
In a press release, Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit stated that the government would keep working with the parties during the transition.
“We value the work of the Saskatoon SPCA and Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan in promoting animal welfare and humane treatment,” Marit said.
Mayor Charlie Clark of Saskatoon expressed concern to reporters on Wednesday about the possibility of an agreement not being reached by April 1.
“I’m glad to see that the province finally recognizes the need to fund it both in the cities and throughout the province,” Clark said.
According to Dickson, the Saskatoon SPCA’s next step will ask a Saskatoon city committee for more money to fund municipal pound services.
According to Dickson, the current funding level only covers about 37% of pound operations.
Animal welfare advocates in Saskatoon can continue to call the existing animal services number, 306-975-8478.
Source: Global news