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Proposed Animal Welfare Changes: Scenarios

Archived Backgrounder

Proposed Animal Welfare Changes: Scenarios

Backgrounder

Ministry of the Solicitor General

If passed, proposed new legislation would amend the Ontario Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) Act to better protect animals in
Ontario. These would be the first comprehensive changes to the act since it
was introduced in 1919.

Here are a few examples of how the proposed changes would have affected
some recent situations:

TYSON THE KANGAROO

Scenario: Year-old observations by an Australian tourist raised concerns
that a kangaroo was being kept in a very small cage at a London-area zoo.

Under current laws: The OSPCA could not act as the information was not
current enough to get a search warrant and they could not observe the animal
in immediate distress.

Under proposed changes: The OSPCA could inspect any zoo or enter without
a warrant based upon reasonable grounds to believe that the animal was in
immediate distress.

A.K. THE DOG

Scenario: In Windsor, A.K. - a mixed breed puppy - had his ears crudely
cropped.

Under current laws: The OSPCA could only prosecute under the Criminal
Code. As a result, they had to determine who had cropped the puppy's ears and
whether the harm done was "wilful" as required under the Criminal Code.

Under proposed changes: The OSPCA would only need to determine the owner
of the animal and that the mutilation occurred.

The OSPCA could charge the owner with the proposed offence of causing or
permitting distress. The proposed provincial penalties include the possibility
of a lifetime ownership ban.

ESCAPED JAGUAR AT BRACEBRIDGE ZOO

Scenario: A jaguar escaped from its cage at a Bracebridge-area zoo and
killed the zoo-owner's dog before being shot dead by police.

Under current laws: The Ministry of Natural Resources had revoked the
zoo's licence and removed the native species from the zoo but did not have
jurisdiction over the jaguar.

The OSPCA had no information that the animal was in distress or that it
posed a danger to others (and, ultimately, itself by being kept in a cage from
which it could escape).

Under proposed changes: The OSPCA could inspect and determine whether
prescribed standards of care were met and whether the jaguar's cage was
sufficient, and take appropriate action.

RABID PUPPIES SOLD AT TORONTO FLEA MARKET

Scenario: Puppies infected with rabies were sold at a flea market in
Toronto, resulting in a serious public health incident.

Under current laws: The OSPCA had no information that these puppies were
in distress and had no other ability to inspect their condition.

Under proposed changes: The OSPCA would have the ability to inspect any
premises where animals are sold and could have detected the animals' health
issues earlier. This would also have helped them to find the source of the
puppies sooner.

DOGS LEFT IN CARS

Scenario: Each summer, the OSPCA deals with numerous public complaints
about dogs being left in cars, apparently in distress from heat and
dehydration.

Under current laws: OSPCA can respond but must be able to observe the
animal in immediate distress to take action.

If the animal was not visible (e.g., under a seat, behind heavily tinted
windows, in a trunk, in the cab of a pickup truck), they would have to obtain
a search warrant.

Under proposed changes: The OSPCA could take immediate action with
reasonable grounds to believe the animal was in immediate distress (e.g.,
where the person making the complaint saw or heard the animal in distress
prior to the arrival of the OSPCA).

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