On February 28th, Animal Protection officers executed a warrant on a rural property north of Lampman. With the assistance of the Estevan RCMP, 131 distressed cattle were seized and taken into protective custody.

Don Ferguson is Executive Director with the Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan. He said the extreme weather was a factor.

“If your husbandry and management practices aren’t addressing those issues, making sure that you have bedding, windbreaks, the quantity and quality of feed that they have is sufficient to maintain themselves during the extreme cold temperatures, then quickly the animals can become compromised and those are situations that we’re seeing throughout the province,” he said.

In fact, the officers also found 16 dead cows on the property, most of which he said were clearly visible from the public roadway.

“Most people that live in a rural community are aware of what is the appropriate level of care for most livestock,” said Ferguson. “If it doesn’t seem right to them, then it probably isn’t, and they don’t have to decide if the animal is in distress or not. They can contact us and then our officers will do an investigation, and we will determine if there’s distress or not.”

He said the APSS receives complaints from members of the public, Crime Stoppers and from veterinarians.

“Sometimes it’s a matter of going out there and there’s some minor improvements that need to be made, and obviously get compliance from the producer to do that to improve the animal’s welfare, and then other times we’ve seen where the animals need to be removed and taken into protective custody to receive that care,” he said.

While no charges have yet been laid and the case is still under investigation, it wasn’t an isolated incident for this extremely cold winter.

Ferguson said 300 cows were also recently seized from a farm near Stoughton for similar reasons. That matter, which occurred mid-February, is also still under investigation.

The process for determining charges includes veterinary reports, and necropsy reports from pathologists in the case of dead animals. The Crown Prosecutor also assists to determine if the case was benign or deliberate abuse. Ferguson said it can be three to six months before charges can actually be laid.

“Cows are actually extremely hardy and do well in extremes of both temperatures, it’s just that when we have extended or extreme cold temperatures, they have increased energy needs,” said Ferguson. “We’re generally starting to see people calve now, so you’ve got pregnant animals that are essentially in extreme cold temperatures that aren’t receiving adequate nutrition, so you end up having concerns and they deteriorate quickly.”

According to the Animal Protection Act (September 2018) veterinarians must report all suspected cases of animal abuse.

Ferguson said the legislation makes a number of resources available for producers to ensure they know how to properly care for their animals.

“One of them is specific about the care and handling of beef cattle,” he said. “It goes into great detail about feed and water, the animal’s health, the animal’s husbandry as well as the animal’s environment and deals with even the extremes in high temperatures and humidity as well as with the extremes in high temperatures and humidity as well as extreme cold, obviously because of what we experience here in the province.”

He said the Ministry of Agriculture has a number of resources on their web sites, even making agrologists available for producers to seek advice. He added there are some instances where producers are even able to get feed testing done at no cost.

Ferguson said two to three per cent of their investigations result in seizure.

“What generally happens in most instances is they’re generally related to sufficient food and water, shelter, veterinary care, or they’re being kept in conditions that would be considered that they will significantly impair the animal’s health or well-being over a period of time, or if they contravene the prescribed Code of Practice.”

If a producer is contravening what is essentially the basic care guide set out for that species of animal, they are considered ‘in distress’, he said, and the animals can be removed from the property if deemed necessary.

Ferguson added the owner does have the right to get the cattle back, but they are required to pay the cost associated with the seizure within a five-day period. They also have to improve the conditions that resulted in the animals being removed. The details are still being worked out for now.

Beloved Music Teacher Remembered for her Passion

Former teacher and well-known community figure April Sampson passed away on March 12, just a month shy of her 83rd birthday. A passion for music and children, April was a neighbour and strong…

SCGA Reminding Residents to Call Before You Dig

The Saskatchewan Common Ground Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring worker and public safety, and environmental protection by promoting damage prevention practices in…

VIDEO: Sinkhole In Weyburn

A sinkhole opened up on Mergens Street on Sunday afternoon at the intersection with Coteau Avenue. City crews are currently working to repair the sinkhole, which was caused by a water main break. The…

CMHA Weyburn Establishing Community Connections

It's no secret there are many non-profit organizations doing great work in Weyburn and last week they all got together for the Community Connections luncheon. CMHA Weyburn hosts the meetings that…

Collaborative Approach to Ministry for WFMC's New Co-Pastors

The Weyburn Free Methodist Church has officially named two new Co-Pastors. A special Commissioning Ceremony was held on March 3rd for Jody Pfeiffer and Ian Isaak, who had been sharing interim…

Record Numbers Achieved in Sask In Motion Challenge

Saskatchewan In Motion has not only hit record numbers of community activity but overwhelming support for their latest project. "The Go Out and Play challenge wrapped up March 10th, and we are…

Midale Swimming Pool Continues Upgrades

It's not the time of year where we are thinking about swimming outside, but Midale is busy fundraising for their community pool. The Midale swimming pool has been upgrading its facilities over the…

Midale Library Not The Library You Remember

The Midale Public Library has been going through some changes within its small, but diverse space, and their librarian has a lot to do with it. Vanessa Lund is taking on this small space and…

'Ghost Car' The Latest Addition to Weyburn Fleet

The Weyburn Police Service has a new vehicle roaming the streets, and you may not even have noticed it. An all-white cruiser has 'ghost-decals' with the WPS insignia, but it's only visible from…

Sask Prevention Institute Focusing on Cannabis Safety Around Children

Next week is National Poison Prevention Week and, with the recent legalization, the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute is focusing on cannabis safety around children. Cara Zukewich is the child injury…

DiscoverWeyburn.com is Weyburn's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide

Login