Province To Overhaul Animal Protection Law

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  1. Province To Overhaul Animal Protection Law

    Thursday April 3, 2008
    CityNews.ca Staff
    A near century-old piece of Ontario legislation may soon be getting an overhaul to better protect animals from abuse.
    The news was enough to bring a hardened investigator to tears.
    Hugh Coghill, Chief Inspector with the OSPCA, struggled to compose himself as he spoke to reporters.
    "It's a great day for the animals in Ontario, and that's what we're focused on," he said, then took a deep breath. "Sorry. Been waiting a long time for it."
    The province's Animal Protection Act, which is 90-years-old, is considered by many to be a point of shame for the province. Animal advocates claim it currently does little to ensure creatures receive the proper care and the people who mistreat them get punishments they deserve.
    But on Thursday the government introduced legislation that will strengthen the Act with new measures, including new rules on the province's 50 roadside zoos that will impose higher standards for owners and allow the OSPCA to inspect them and making animal cruelty a provincial offence carrying stiffer penalties.
    "It's going to be good news for all people who love animals," Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Rick Bartolucci said. "I would hope that those people who have stewardship of animal care will say we've gone from worst to first with this legislation."
    "We always try to get people to look after their animals in a proper and humane way. And if they don't, this legislation gives us the tools to be able to deal with it in a far more effective manner," says Coghill.
    For many, this overhaul is long overdue as Ontario has some of the most lax animal protection laws in the country. Currently, the province's small zoos aren't held to any standards, with many animals forced to live in filthy and flimsy pens without clean drinking water. Animal cruelty is only considered a provincial offence if the creature is involved in a commercial breeding operation.
    Federal laws regarding animal welfare laws haven't been changed in any major way since 1892.
    The standard of care for animals in a commercial operation includes adequate food, water and space. However, these guidelines don't apply to pets, who are considered possessions.
    "Ontario is the worst, it's the absolute worst, both for animal cruelty and for zoo regulation," said Melissa Tkachyk, campaigns officer with the World Society for the Protection of Animals.
    "It's about time we make (animal cruelty) a provincial offence. It just shows that we take this issue seriously in Ontario and that we won't tolerate it."
    While opposition parties are pleased to see a proposed change to this legislation, they're still waiting to see if the Liberal overhaul has any real teeth and adequate funding.
    "Right now, they don't have the budget to do the work that they're supposed to be doing," Ontario NDP Leader Howard Hampton said.
    "If we're going to take this issue seriously, the Ontario SPCA has to have a consistent level of funding that will allow them to do the work -- something that isn't there now."

    The proposed legislation has several aims, including:
    • making it a provincial offence to cause distress to an animal
    • stiffer penalties, which include jail terms, fines and lifetime bans on animal ownership
    • inspection rights at facilities where animals are kept for sale or exhibit
    • banning animal fighting
    • and protecting veterinarians from liability when reporting allegations of cruelty.
    (http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_21311.aspx)
     
  2. now let's just hope that it passes :yes::yes:

    there was a lovely picture on thestar.com this morning of the minister and that dog that was thrown from the truck last year in the GTA.
     
  3. Such a sweet picture!
     

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  4. It should pass, it'll be a step in the right direction for them.
     
  5. If this goes through, I'll have one more reason to be proud that I'm a Torontonian!
     
  6. toiletduck I totally agree.

    My not-at-uni house is in the country just above toronto and there was a puppy mill discovered not far from my friend's farm. The owners got almost no time if I remember correctly (this was maybe 4 years ago)

    Any change in tough-ness they make is for the better.
     
  7. I hope it passes!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  8. Fantastic!! This is exactly what needs to happen. :smile: (everywhere)
     
  9. I really hope Alberta follows suit. We have had a few really upsetting cases here in the last year, with no real punishment for the offenders.
     
  10. UGH...stuff like that disgusts me! They also need to have tighter control over where places like PJ's gets their animals from because they have some really disturbing mixes and 'new breeds' sometimes. The quality in those pet stores are appalling!