Some cattle seized under animal protection laws in Saskatchewan last winter were sold in error.
According to Livestock Services of Saskatchewan, which conducts brand inspections, three owners will be compensated after their animals were sold along with those owned by the person from whom they were seized.
President Jason Pollock said a complex ownership structure and lease agreements, combined with a short time frame under which Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan operates, led to the problem.
“The deadlines that they’re (APSS) under within their legislation don’t always allow for the full gamut of ownership clarity to be there,” Pollock said in an interview last week.
He said multiple groups of cattle were returned to their rightful owners after they had been seized but the others slipped through.
Under the province’s animal protection legislation, cattle are held for five business days to give the owner time to put corrective orders, such as providing enough feed and water, in place.
If that doesn’t happen, the animals are sold to recover costs of the seizure.
APSS executive director Don Ferguson declined comment other than to say, “Animals were sold at auction in accordance with Section 17(1) of the Animal Protection Act.”
LSS operates under the Animal Products Act, which allows cattle to be detained.
Pollock said the laws don’t need to change because this situation was extraordinary.
“In our discussions subsequent to this we’ve amended some of our procedures,” he said. “We’ve gained clarity on what to do when there is some question about ownership.”
And, he said greater communication between animal protection services and livestock services will help in future.
Meanwhile, charges are pending in at least one of the two large seizures last winter but RCMP could not confirm when that would happen.
In February, more than 300 head were seized from a farm near Stoughton. Later that same month, 131 animals were removed from a Lampman operation where 16 other animals were found dead.
In the latter case, the person looking after the cattle on behalf of three other people, took APSS to court alleging the search of the property and animal seizure were illegal. The application was dismissed.