In response to a complaint from a member of the public, the Weyburn Police Service assisted Animal Protection Services and Animal Protection Officers with the execution of an Animal Protection Act search warrant on Wednesday, May 15th.  

"After an initial investigation, it was evident that we needed to intervene," explained Don Ferguson, Chief Animal Protection Officer with Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan. "We found a significant number of animals in distress and necessitating the animals to be taken into protective custody or seized from the property."

"The owners of the animals, subsequently, after reviewing the conditions that the animals were kept in, a number also being deceased, we had our enforcement partners lay charges under the Criminal Code of Canada, which, being that a person willfully permitted animals to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury, as well as failing to provide suitable and adequate food, water and shelter and care for those animals," he said.

"Also, the individuals being charged under those sections of the Criminal Code were also released with conditions not to own, possess or be in charge of animals until the matter is decided by the court." 

Ferguson reported that, in all, 91 animals in total were taken into protective custody, primarily reptiles, amphibians, and spiders, as well as dogs and cats. 

"Thank you to the Weyburn Police Service, who was exceptional in providing officer and civilian safety during the execution of the search warrant and subsequent follow-up with this case. It was very much appreciated and they did an outstanding job in what is unusual circumstances for them."

He added, "One of the most dangerous phrases in law enforcement is 'no comment', because people will make their own assumptions. So when we are able to provide information, we would definitely like to do that so that there's clarity within the community about what's going on." 

Ferguson said the animals have been placed in protective custody, with the exotic pets being cared for by trained fosters. Veterinary forensics is currently investigating the deceased animals. 

As for the reports, he noted they receive complaints from members of the public, and Veterinarians are required to mandatory reports of suspected animal abuse or neglect within the Animal Protection Act.  Also, other enforcement partners and social services agencies provide cross-reporting.