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Animal Welfare Changes: Scenarios

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Animal Welfare Changes: Scenarios


Ministry of the Solicitor General

Upon proclamation, 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 changes would have affected some
recent situations:


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 new law: The OSPCA could inspect any zoo or enter without a warrant
based upon reasonable grounds to believe that the animal was in immediate


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

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 new law: 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 offence of causing or
permitting distress. The provincial penalties include the possibility of a
lifetime ownership ban.


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 new law: The OSPCA could inspect and determine whether prescribed
standards of care were met including, potentially, whether the jaguar's cage
was sufficient, and take appropriate action.


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 new law: 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


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

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 new law: The OSPCA could take immediate action with reasonable
grounds to believe the animal was in immediate distress (e.g., where an OSPCA
investigator could hear the animal in distress or the person making the
complaint had seen the animal in distress prior to the arrival of the OSPCA).



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