01/05/2015 03:56 EST | Updated 03/07/2015 05:59 EST

Saskatchewan SPCA to stop enforcing animal cruelty laws after 40 years

REGINA - The Saskatchewan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says it will no longer enforce provincial animal cruelty laws.

The SPCA says instead it will focus on education programs in the hope of preventing animal cruelty.

The charity has been responsible for enforcing such laws for about 40 years.

The SPCA says its $530,000 per year contract with the government expires on March 31 and up to six people will lose their jobs.

The Ministry of Agriculture says it is exploring other ways to investigate animal cruelty complaints.

Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart says the government will work to ensure there is a smooth transition, but there were no details on who will do the work.

“We want to thank the Saskatchewan SPCA for their many years of work in enforcing The Animal Protection Act,” Stewart said in a release Monday. "The humane treatment and well-being of animals continues to be a priority for us.”

Constance Roussel, president of the SPCA board of directors president, said the charity hopes the province will offer jobs to members of its investigation team.

She said the SPCA informed the government of its decision in November after months of consideration.