Received the following bulletin from the Ontario SPCA earlier this month:
At Queen's Park on April 3, 2008, Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Rick Bartolucci tabled Bill 50, the 'Provincial Animal Welfare Act' to amend the 89-year old Ontario SPCA Act. On March 1, 2009 the Ontario government proclaimed Bill 50 into law.
The amended Ontario SPCA Act widens the definition of animal cruelty, improves the Ontario SPCA's ability to address critical animal welfare issues and allows our investigators to bring more abusers to justice. Now Ontario has some of the strongest animal welfare legislation in the country!
Key changes include:
Establishing new provincial offences against animal cruelty, including causing or permitting distress.
Providing judges with greater flexibility to impose stiffer penalties, including jail time, fines up to $60,000 and a potential lifetime ban on animal ownership.
Providing inspection powers to the Ontario SPCA; allowing investigators to inspect premises where animals are kept for the purposes of exhibit, entertainment, boarding, sale or hire.
Permitting the Society to apply for custody of an animal victim while a case is still before the courts.
Expanding the standards of care to be applicable to all animals, not just dogs and cats.
Requiring veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse or neglect with protection under the law.
Making it an offense to train an animal to fight with another animal or to own animal fighting equipment.
Making it an offense to harm a law enforcement animal, such as a dog or a horse.
The Ontario SPCA is one of the largest and most responsive animal welfare organizations in the country, representing a network of 50 communities across the province. While it is unfortunate, the fact remains that we investigate more than 16,000 allegations of abuse and neglect yearly. As a result of those investigations alone, more than 9,000 animals come into the Society's care requiring veterinary care, sheltering and re-homing.
Our peace officers province-wide investigate heinous crimes on a daily basis. A recent cockfighting case in East Gwillimbury, which received wide-spread media attention, is one such example. With the proclamation of this legislation, new provincial offences for the training of animals to fight and the ownership of animal fighting equipment now exist.
We see unimaginable cruelty on a daily basis. This new legislation gives us hope that we can decrease abuse and save more lives. This is an historic day in animal welfare for the province of Ontario and for the Ontario SPCA. The Society looks forward to working on behalf of Ontarians to address concerns for the well-being of all animals.
To learn more visit www.ontariospca.ca
CEO, Ontario SPCA
Yay, a step in the right direction!