Addressing the Need for Standards for Animal Rescues
Animal Rescue Standards, Animal Welfare, Human-Animal Bond, Humane Education, Pets
January 31, 2022
For the past few years, the SaskSPCA has been working with stakeholders in the animal welfare sector to explore the creation of a voluntary certification program suitable for all types of animal rescues.
After much discussion, the Working Group members agreed that, while this type of program would be useful, it would be cost prohibitive to establish and maintain it. Thus, we are no longer working to establish a certification program in Saskatchewan.
The focus of the Working Group shifted. We want to see standards for animal rescues included in The Animal Protection Regulations (2018).
Why is this important? Under The Animal Protection Act (2018), it is an offence to cause or allow an animal to continue to be in distress. Section 3 of the Act states that:
Notwithstanding anything in this Act, an animal is not considered to be in distress if it is handled: (a) in the case of a class of animals for which there is a standard, code of practice or guideline that is prescribed as acceptable, in a manner consistent with the standard, code of practice or guideline that is prescribed as acceptable; (b) in accordance with generally accepted practices of animal management; or (c) in a manner that is otherwise reasonable in the circumstances.
The relevant standards, codes, or guidelines are listed in the 2018 Animal Protection Regulations (Appendix, Part 2). At present, the Regulations reference catteries, kennels, and sled dogs, but there is nothing specific for pet rescues.
The Saskatchewan Animal Rescue Standards, developed by the Working Group, help fill this gap. These voluntary standards are relevant for of all types of animal rescues, whether new or established. The standards are based on the work of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians and the ASPCA.
The Saskatchewan Animal Rescue Standards provide guidance on population management, medical health, recordkeeping, and other areas important to the operation of pet rescues.
In January 2022, the Working Group submitted these standards to the Ministry of Agriculture with the request that the standards be referenced in The Animal Protection Regulations.
You can read the standards at: petrescuetoolkit.ca/sask-animal-rescue-standards. The standards are part of the new Pet Rescue Toolkit, a free educational resource for both pet rescues and new pet owners.