Ontario's SPCA may want out of investigating animal cruelty cases, but who will pick up the job?

Ontario's animal welfare agency plans to pull back from investigating cruelty cases involving livestock and horses as part of a restructure that insiders say may eventually see all its resources go toward shelters and rescue programs.

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says lack of funding and years of financial losses led to the decision.

Spokeswoman Alison Cross says the organization has to restructure to address the challenges it faces.

Part of that plan involves farming out animal cruelty protection of large farm animals to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

That was news to the Ontario government, which said it hadn't been notified of the idea.

A government spokesman says the ministry of agriculture does not have the power to investigate cruelty cases and that responsibility would fall to police.

Sources say the O-S-P-C-A has been quietly discussing the merits of remaining in the animal cruelty investigation field altogether, citing increasing costs and the collapse of several high-profile cases.