Saturday, July 23, 2016

2016 Canadian Animal Protection Laws Rankings from the ALDF

The Aninal League Defence Fund does an annual report of Animal Protection laws listed by province in Canada every year. They are an American organization, but for some reason they do this report - and we are lucky to have it done for us.

For 2016 Manitoba has ranked number one and Nova Scotia has ranked number two - we have come up through the rankings in the last few years - mostly through the hard work of animal advocates who have lobbied government to have our animal protection laws changed.

It's interesting the reasons why Manitoba is number one and we are number two - I listened to a radio interview today with a representative from the ALDF and she talked about the reasons why Manitoba is number one and she said a big reason why is because they have provincial laws on their books that ban dog fighting - this is interesting because dog fighting is covered in the Federal criminal code - but those laws have remain largely unchanged since 1892 and are largely un-enforceable so very few convictions are ever made through those laws - so to enact provnicial laws for dog fighting would bring that industry some justice if it ever came to having to lay charges for that crime.

I have personally always found it ridiculous when I see it written in municipal bylaws around our province like the Town of Antigonish who have a section in their bylaw which reads:

Section 1(m) "Fierce or dangerous" includes without being limited to:
Any dog which is owned, trained or harboured primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting,

That is only one of four different designations of what the Town of Antigonish defines as being a fierce and dangerous dog - so does that mean by extension that it is legal to own a dog that is owned, trained or harboured primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting in the town of Antigonish if you obey by their rules for owning fierce and dangerous dogs in their town?

And also - because dogs owned for dog fighting are obviously legal in the town of Antigonish - does this mean that dog fighting is also legal?  It's an obvious question that has to be asked.

So back to the reasons why we made it to number two in the ALDF listing = our principal protection apply to most species - not just cats and dogs

  • We have defnitions and also standards of care for animals - which we long fought for
  • We have a recognition that there is psychological harm that is done to animals
  • We have no provincial breed specific legisliation - they may not know that we do have pockets of bsl within the province (Clarks Harbour, town of Digby, Richmond County, the district of the municipality of Antigonish, the district of the municipality of Guysborough)
  • Penalties may include large fines and incarcerations
  • Animal Protection Officers may requrest person in dwelling to produce animal for inspection
  • Possible seizure of mistreated animals
  • Pre-judgment forfeiture of animal when abandoned in critical distress (for euthanasia purposes) or if owner is unfit/animal may be harmed if returned
  • Court may order forfeiture of animals and restrictions on future ownership or possession of animals upon conviction
  • Mandatory reporting of suspected animal cruelty by veterinarians

Things that the ALDF thought would be good to our animal protection act which would take it to the next level are things like:

  1. Prohibitions related to animal fighting
  2. Mandatory terms of incarceration for certain offenders
  3. Mandatory fines
  4. Mental health evaluations /counselling
  5. Mandatory seizure of mistreated animals 
  6. Duty of Peace Officers to assist in the enforcement of animal protection legislation.
Those would all be nice things for sure - as would the regulations for rescues, and tougher sentences for people who abuse their animals  - but we all know that none of these things are ever going to happen.

1 comment:

  1. Keep raising awareness on these issues Joan. I know it seems like one step forward and two back, but I do believe that we will change our laws slowly; just as I believe we'll move away from a meat-based diet for the sake of the animals and for our planet.