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To report an animal in distress,
call our Emergency Line at 204-982-2020

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who governs the decisions the Animal Protection Officers make in regards to assessing the conditions of animals?

A. Our Animal Protection Officers (APOs) are appointed by the Province of Manitoba and work under Manitoba’s Animal Care Act.

Q. What is the general procedure used when someone files an official complaint about the condition of someone else’s pet(s)?

A. 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.

Inspections/investigations are then 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:

  • We will educate the owner (if present) on what changes need to be made to be in compliance with the Animal Care Act.
  • We will leave a notice citing the corrections that need to be made (if owner is not present). We ask that the owner contact us to discuss the situation. Rechecks are performed.
  • If there is no compliance in a timely fashion, APOs will issue common offense notices (fines).
  • If the animal is in immediate distress, our APOs have the right to remove/seize the animal from the property.

Q. Why can’t we simply seize an animal from a premises if we suspect it is ill or is being abused to some degree?

A. 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 offences.

Q. According to the Animal Care Act, what is the owner of a pet responsible for?

A. Manitoba’s Animal Care Act clearly states the duties of an owner as follows:

2. (1) A person who has ownership, possession or control of an animal:

(a) shall ensure that the animal has an adequate source of food and water;
(b) shall provide the animal with adequate medical attention when the animal is wounded or ill;
(c) shall provide the animal with reasonable protection from injurious heat or cold; and
(d) shall not confine the animal to an enclosure or area

(i) with inadequate space,
(ii) with unsanitary conditions,
(iii) with inadequate ventilation, or
(iv) without providing an opportunity for exercise, so as to significantly impair the animal’s health or well-being.

If we find that one or more of these duties are not being properly fulfilled, we will take further action.

Q. If I notice or suspect someone is abusing an animal, what should I do?

A. If you think an animal is not being cared for properly, call our Animal Abuse Line at 204-982-2028. If you are witnessing physical abuse right at this moment, call the Winnipeg Police as well as The WHS.

Q. Do the WHS Animal Protection Officers have authority throughout Manitoba?

A. 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; outside of Winnipeg call 1-888-945-8001.

Q. Why can’t The WHS reveal information regarding on-going investigations or certain cases of animal abuse?

A. 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.

Q. If there isn’t enough evidence to seize a pet from a property, is there anything the APOs can do?

A. The WHS must work within the confines of the Animal Care Act of Manitoba. The Act governs our actions and how we can proceed, this includes when we can legally remove an animal. There are times we are unable to remove a pet from a situation that others would judge as being unacceptable. 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 set up proper shelters, or 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.

Q. Is it legal to chain your dog in Manitoba?

A. Yes, it is legal to keep your dog on a tether in Manitoba provided the “Duties of Owner” (see above) are being fulfilled.