Who governs the decisions the Animal Protection Officers make in regards to assessing the conditions of animals?
Our Animal Protection Officers are appointed by the Province of Manitoba and work under Manitoba’s Animal Care Act.
What is the general procedure used when someone files an official complaint about the condition of someone else’s pet(s)?
First we gather as much information as we can regarding the complaint (i.e. address, description of animals involved, date and time of alleged offence). The APOs then review the obtained information to determine course of action.
The inspections/investigations are performed. Information is gathered at the scene. The next course of action is determined by the findings/evidence at the scene. Depending on what corrections are needed under the Animal Care Act we will take one of the following actions:
Why can’t we simply seize an animal from a premises if we suspect it is ill or is being abused to some degree?
We must work under the law. If there are allegations against someone who is supposedly abusing an animal, we will investigate.
Each situation is assessed on a case by case basis. We cannot go out on a call with the assumption that the allegations are true. An investigation must be performed. Witnesses will be interviewed, information will be gathered from the owner as well as from the alleged offender. Also, a physical and mental assessment of the animal(s) on scene is performed. The information gathered from all of these sources will determine whether further investigation is warranted and what actions need to be taken under the Animal Care Act.
It is important for us to try to give the owner a chance to do what is right. Giving them the opportunity to accept the responsibility and be active in providing their own animal with the required care is, in many cases, an educational tool in preventing future offenses.
According to the Animal Care Act, what is the owner of a pet responsible for?
The Act clearly states the duties of an owner as follows:
Duties of owner
2.(1)A person who has ownership, possession or control of an animal:
If we find that one or more of these duties are not being properly fulfilled we will take further action.
If I notice or suspect someone is abusing an animal, what should I do?
If you think an animal is not being cared for properly, call our animal abuse line at 204-982-2028. If you are currently witnessing physical abuse (right at that moment) call the Winnipeg Police as well as The WHS.
Do the WHS Animal Protection Officers have authority throughout Manitoba?
Although our Animal Protection Officers are appointed by the Province of Manitoba, we are only authorized for cases within Winnipeg. We can act outside of the city, but only at the request and direction of the Province of Manitoba.
An example of this might be a puppy mill seizure where 50 dogs need to be relocated, medically treated and then re-homed. We have the expertise to help with large seizures such as this but in general, if there is a welfare issue with an animal outside of the city, the Province should be contacted at 204-945-8000.
Why can’t The WHS reveal information regarding on-going investigations or certain cases of animal abuse?
Under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) we are responsible for keeping personal information private. Although a person may have a history of animal abuse or neglect, they are still protected under this act. If an investigation is on-going, is currently in court or awaiting a judicial decision, we must be careful not to jeopardize the case by releasing photos, names or other types of information.
We know this lack of information can be frustrating to people who may be wanting answers, but we must work under the law and follow proper procedures. Keep in mind, FIPPA also protects the complainant’s privacy.
If there isn’t enough evidence to seize a pet from a property, is there anything the APOs can do?
Often things do get tied up in legalities and we may be unable to remove a pet from a less than perfect situation. However, we are here for the animals and their welfare is our number one concern. Countless times our APOs have aided misguided owners by providing food, helping to set up proper shelters or by providing behaviour advice. We are always here to educate those who need us and are more than willing to help anyone who requires extra information or advice on how to take better care of their pets. We do our best to make owning an animal a rewarding experience.
Is it legal to chain your dog in Manitoba?
Yes, it is legal to keep your dog on a tether in Manitoba provided the “Duties of Owner” (see above) are being fulfilled.