Sask. to boost penalties for animal abuse

Amendments to Saskatchewan’s animal abuse legislation would more than double the maximum fines and quadruple the maximum jail time available for convictions.

The amendments, introduced Monday in the provincial legislature, would raise the maximum fines to $25,000 for each convicted offence, up from $5,000 for a first offence and $10,000 for subsequent offences. The maximum prison sentence would be two years, up from six months.

“While we know the vast majority of owners do provide the necessary care for their animals, these proposed changes will help to reduce the number of animal neglect cases in Saskatchewan,” Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud said in a release.

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The planned amendments to the Animal Protection Act follow a review of the legislation during the winter of 2009-10, the province said, adding it has letters of support from 15 different farm organizations for the increased penalties.

Bjornerud on Monday also pledged a boost from the ag ministry for the budget of the Saskatchewan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) worth an additional $390,000 over three years, starting with the current fiscal year.

The funding boost is meant to help the Saskatchewan SPCA address what the ag ministry described as a “recent increase” in animal neglect cases.

By 2012-13, the final fiscal year for the current funding agreement with the SPCA, the ag ministry will have increased the society’s annual funding by 111 per cent from 2007-08 levels, the province said.

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