Twenty-five live cats, and two that were deceased, were removed from a home in Yorkton Thursday.
Don Ferguson, executive director of Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan confirmed the seizure Friday.
In general terms Ferguson said Animal Protection Services (APS) can be made aware of potentially distressful situations for animals in a number of ways, including from members of the public, other law enforcement agencies, social services, public health, and veterinarians which are now legislated to report potentially dangerous situations.
In the Yorkton case the concern was initially raised by the RCMP. Ferguson said an officer with APS, met with the RCMP office.
“We had our officer speak to the police officer,” he said.
From the information provided the APS then sought out, and received a warrant to enter the home of Sixth Avenue issued under the Animal Protection Act.
Ferguson said like any other law enforcement organization APS must have a valid warrant to enter a private residence, or be invited into the home.
Upon entering the home they found a situation that was deemed to contravene the Animal Protection Act that in broadest terms denotes a person “can’t allow an animal to be in distress,” said Ferguson. As a result the 25 live cats were removed.
Ferguson also confirmed the remains of two dead cats were foud and removed from the residence.
Asked what sort of distress the cats were deemed to be under, Ferguson again would only speak in generalities under the Act.
Distress can be caused by providing insufficient food, or water, for the continued good health o the animal, he said. It can also be caused by denying proper veterinarian care for sick or injured animals, if animals are left in situation that are too hot, or too cold for good health, or in the general conditions are so unsanitary as to lead to poor health of animals over time.
The 25 seized cats, as part of the Act, were handed over to a caretaker, pending further investigation, said Ferguson. While generally that would by the local SPCA Shelter, he said the Yorkton facility did not have the room to isolate so many cats, something deemed necessary based on the threat of disease.
“We had a vet(rinarian) on site,” during the seizure, said Ferguson, but they did not want to risk the health of other animals at a shelter. “There will be additional and ongoing vet care,” he added.
The costs associated with the veterinarian care, food and shelter is covered by APS, said Ferguson, adding the organization is fully funded through a contract with the provincial Ministry of Agriculture “so the taxpayer I paying for it.”
The costs can be recouped if the owner makes a claim to get them back “because they are property,” said Ferguson, who noted restitution of costs associated with the seizure would be part of that process.
As of Friday afternoon no charges have been laid.
“At this point it’s an ongoing investigation,” said Ferguson, adding that investigation includes both APS and the RCMP.
The investigation will include determining exactly who lived in the home, and can include seeking expertise from veterinarians, pathologists and others, he said.