Community members want to know the whereabouts of Cupar-area dogs

Alicia Simoneau said she initially learned about the dogs on a Cupar-area farm about seven months ago through a post on Facebook. (Hafsa Arif/CTV News)

Several dogs that sparked concerns about alleged animal mistreatment in the Cupar area have been removed from their property. Community members are again expressing concern for their safety, despite the fact that animal welfare agencies have consistently said there is no problem.

The group of concerned citizens is now asking where the dogs have been taken.

“Who is going to be held accountable for this?” said C.J. Wajuntaah, a community member who helped organize a demonstration at the Cupar-area farm.

The group held a demonstration at the farm to call for changes to the language used in the Animal Protect Act and to defunding Animal Protection Services.

Demonstrators said that the language used in the Act is vague, leaving room for interpretation by Animal Protection Officers.

“It’s like nobody knows what to do within the law because the law is written so vague,” said Alicia Simoneau, who helped organize a demonstration at the Cupar farm. “Now the dogs are gone and we don’t know where they are.”

With the dogs now removed from the property, demonstrators are calling for officials to search for their whereabouts.

In a statement, the R.M. of Cupar says upon receiving the complaints, the municipality contacted the RCMP and the Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan.

The Ministry of Agriculture also issued a statement saying the animal protection agencies that attended the site used trained professionals to determine that there were no contraventions of the act and that there is no intent to update the act at this time.

In an email, the Saskatchewan RCMP says Southey RCMP has received four complaints over the past two months about the welfare of a number of dogs on a property near Cupar. Each time a complaint was received, officers visited the property to confirm the wellbeing of the dogs. Each time it was determined that the dogs had access to adequate space, shade, shelter, food and water as defined by the Animal Protection Act. No charges were laid in these investigations.

Animal Protection Services said its officers are only able to enforce the legislation as it is written, despite any personal beliefs on animal welfare matters.

“An Animal Protection Officer may take any action that they consider necessary to relieve the animal's distress only if the owner doesn't promptly take steps to relieve that distress. An animal is not considered in distress if it is being kept in accordance with the regulations,” read a statement sent to CTV News. 

CTV News contacted the owner of the dogs who declined an interview. The owner previously denied the allegations and described the dogs as “working dogs.” He said he takes care of the animals and provides them with food and shelter.