Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bill 186 - everyone should go READ IT

I went this afternoon and actually read bill 186 - the proposed new anti-cruelty legislation for Nova Scotia, and I have to say - I really hope that it doesn't get passed as written. It is really horrible legislation.

Basically the minister of Agriculture owns every animal in the province. And he has full say over what happens to them, and where they go and what he wants to do to them. It's really awful.

It really had to have been written completely by government officials and not by any pet owners or anyone from the NS SPCA or the CKC.

People who are into their "personal freedoms" should be freaking out because they have clauses in there

"Where an inspector has reasonable and probable grounds for believing that an animal is in distress in or upon any premises other than a private dwelling place the inspector may, with or without a warrant, and by force, if necessary, enter the premises and search for the animal and exercise the powers conferred on the inspector by this Section with respect to any animal in distress found therein.


An inspector who, on reasonable and probable grounds, believes that there is an animal in distress in a private dwelling house shall obtain a warrant to enter the private dwelling house for the purpose of carrying out duties pursuant to this Section."

The thing about this bill is that they've added a codicil about being allowed to use force in order to gain entrance now - "Where an inspector uses force in entering premises, the inspector shall use no more force than is reasonably required under the circumstances"

As well - they can now stop your vehicle - "For the purpose of this Act, an inspector may require the operator of a vehicle or vessel that is in motion to stop and, where an inspector signals or requests an operator of a vehicle or vessel to stop, the operator shall comply immediately and shall not move the vehicle or vessel until permitted to do so by the inspector."

And then the next section says -
An inspector who is lawfully in premises pursuant to this Act or a warrant issued under this Act may seize any thing that is produced or that is in plain view if the inspector has reasonable grounds to believe that the thing
a) will afford evidence of an offence under this Act; or
b) was used or is being used in connection with the commission of an offence under this Act and that the seizure is necessary to prevent the continuation or repetition of the offence.
2) An inspector may remove a thing that is seized or may detain it in the place where it is seized.
3) An inspector shall inform a person from whom a thing is seized of the reason for the seizure and shall give the person a receipt for it.

What does #3 mean? What could the inspector be seizing that doesn't have to do (necessarily) with the animal? It's something that just happens to be in plain sight - which it has to be to be in the terms of this bill - but this part is adding something in so that they can seize things that don't necessarily have to do with animals - I think it could be anything. But I'm not the minister of agriculture or a lawyer, so I don't know for sure.

There are a couple of things in it that are good that were the suggestions of people from outside the department of Agriculture - there will be a committee set up called the "Animal Cruelty Appeal Board composed of not more than ten members appointed by the Governor in Council for such terms as the Governor in Council determines."

It also lays out the new rules for the NS SPCA's Board - that their AGM's must be open to the public, that they must submit a year end report to the minister of Agriculture, that the Provincial board of directors writes the policies and procedures for the branches, and that the Chief Provincial Inspector has to have a certain base amount of qualifications in order to do and keep their job.

If the bill passes into law I'll like to see how many animals Brooke Taylor is going to be getting delivered to his house or office - there is a section -

22 (1) Where an inspector finds an animal in distress and the owner or person in charge of the animal -
a) does not immediately take appropriate steps to relieve its distress; or
b) is not present or cannot be found promptly,

the inspector may, subject to this Act, take such action as the inspector considers necessary to relieve the distress including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing,

e) delivering the animal into the custody of the Society, the Minister or a suitable caretaker.

Isn't that a hoot? Who would write that into a piece of legislation? That the actual Minister could take charge of an animal being seized. Can you imagine.

I think you should go read the bill and draw your own conclusions - it's at


  1. Anonymous11:26 PM

    Heya Joan. I'll have to look at this when I'm not so tired but on first glance it looks good to me. Isn't this giving them more power to investigate so things like Celtic Pets or Gail Benoit don't happen again? Don't we want them to be able to go in. I must be missing the point...again lack of sleep. Thanks for getting info out there anyway :)

    ang & nelly

  2. axMy first take on the section regarding seizure of things and issuing a receipt is that it refers to items that would aid in proving animal cruelty or neglect. An example would be taking a cage that was not clean or too small for the animal seized or the chain that was used to tie an animal. That doesn't sound like a bad thing to me.

    Also being able to stop a moving vehicle and using reasonable force seem like steps in the right direction to be better able to enforce anti-cruelty laws.

    As for personal freedom... well if someone has a starving dog chained behind the workshop then I'd rather see legislation that allowed prompt seizure of the animal than legislation that gives the dog owner time to dispose of the evidence.

    I haven't read the Bill but I'll bet there ARE areas that need improvement but I don't think the ones you pointed out are bad.

  3. Maybe I'm in a bad mood today - but why would you leave a comment on a blog post that is titled - everyone should GO READ BILL 186 - and in your comment you say that you haven't gone and read the bill? And yet you feel sufficiently educated to comment? Please, go read the bill - and then make a comment.


  4. Sorry you're in a bad mood, guess I am too. I'll refrain from commenting on your blog in the future.

  5. That is funny. I'm not in such a bad mood anymore now.


  6. Glad I could pick up your spirits. :)

  7. It has just occurred to me that a piece of legislation should be a 'living document' and a process for updating should be included in the law
    Good bad or lukewarm, its also uber important to let you mla/the Min of Ag and the Premier know how important this law is to you as a voter.
    I know I sound like a stuck record, but the way ahead is always paved by voter feedback.