Gain a greater understanding of the animal cruelty laws Ontario SPCA investigators use in
their efforts to protect animals from abuse, abandonment and neglect and to prosecute
offenders by visiting the federal, provincial and municipal legislation links below.
Ontario SPCA investigators may enforce any law pertaining to the prevention of cruelty to, and the welfare of, animals. This includes legislation pertaining to animals within the Criminal Code of Canada, the principal tool used by investigators to bring cases of extreme cruelty and neglect to court; the Ontario SPCA Act, the provincial legislation that gives Ontario SPCA investigators their policing powers to act on reported instances of animal cruelty; and municipal laws, which vary widely across the province.
In Part XI of the Criminal Code, Wilful and Forbidden Acts in Respect of Certain Property, Section 446-1 states that it is a federal offence to "wilfully cause or permit to be caused, being the owner, unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or by wilful neglect, cause damage or injury to animals while they are being driven or conveyed." In Ontario, Inspectors and Agents of the Ontario SPCA can and do lay charges under the Criminal Code in cases of severe cruelty or neglect.
This is an act respecting diseases and toxic substances that may affect animals or that may be transmitted by animals to persons, and respecting the protection of animals. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for enforcing the regulations of the Health of Animals Act. Subsection 64 (1) of the Health of Animals Act provides for the Governor in Council to make regulations for protecting human and animal health. This is through the control or elimination of diseases and toxic substances and generally for carrying out the purposes and provisions of this Act, including regulations for the humane treatment of animals and generally governing the care, handling and disposition of animals, the manner in which animals are transported within, into or out of Canada, and providing for the treatment or disposal of animals that are not cared for, handled or transported in a humane manner. In some cases, provincial meat inspectors and inspectors with the Ontario SPCA may also refer to the federal statutes. Part XII of the regulations of the Health of Animals Act applies to the transportation of animals entering or leaving Canada and the movement of livestock within Canada. If you are trucking livestock, you must comply with the regulations.
This is an act to implement a convention for the protection and conservation of migratory birds - and populations and individual birds and their nests - in Canada and the United States.
With over 600 municipalities in Ontario, by-laws pertaining to animals vary wildly - from
comprehensive to virtually nonexistent. The Ontario SPCA has worked with many
municipalities, including the City of Stratford and Town of Orangeville, to help improve local
by-laws and provide animals with better protection.
Currently, municipal by-laws are a key tool used by Ontario SPCA investigators to protect animals left vulnerable by deficiencies in the Ontario SPCA Act, the provincial legislation that gives Ontario SPCA investigators their policing powers. The Act fails to provide a general animal cruelty offence - making Ontario the only province to provide penalties ONLY to breeders of dogs and cats for sale.
While a number of municipalities have strengthened their animal cruelty by-laws - for example, in 2005 the Ontario SPCA worked with the City of Orillia to include a by-law making it unlawful to "torment, tease, abuse or injure any animal," attaching a $400 ticket or a maximum $5,000 fine - hundreds of municipalities with ineffective legislation remain.
As a result, the Ontario SPCA encourages community members to become familiar with their local by-laws, determine if they are adequate, and if not, lobby government to strengthen them on the animals' behalf.
This Act provids a focus for humane care and use of all animals in research through establishing minimum standards. The purpose of the act is threefold: to maintain a minimum standard of care and well-being for all animals used in research; to protect research animals from unnecessary pain; and to ensure that dogs used in research are obtained legally and are not wanted as pets. The Act requires all researchers to be accountable to animal care committees for their use of animals; it protects all vertebrates including fish, rodents, reptiles, birds, primates and livestock; prescribes minimum standards and requirements; provides minimum redemption times for animals impounded; and it provides minimum standards for municipal pounds. The Animals for Research Act is enforced by inspectors who are appointed by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
The Dead Animal Disposal Act states that all dead animals must be disposed of within 48 hours. A "dead animal" means the carcass, or any part thereof, of a horse, goat, sheep, swine or head of cattle that has died from any cause other than slaughter. The Act pertains to the treatment, collection, handling, sale and disposal of animals that have died from any cause other than slaughter, including fallen animals that were disabled by disease, emaciation, or other condition likely to cause death; and animals not slaughtered for the purposes of obtaining or producing meat products.
This Act designates dog owners (or the parents/guardians of owners who are minors) responsibility for bites or attacks by their dog on a person or other domestic animal. An exclusion may be made if the bite or attack occurred on a person in the process of committing a criminal act or in the destruction of the owner's property. The Act covers all breeds of dogs but has specific regulations for pit bull owners including a mandatory requirement for all dogs to be muzzled and leashed off the owner's property. In case of a dog bite or attack, the Ontario Court of Justice may order one of the following: destruction of the dog; measures for more effective control; confinement; leash; muzzle and prohibition of the individual from dog ownership for a specified period of time. The Dog Owner's Liability Act is enforced by local municipalities and police forces.
This Act pertains to the classification, protection, treatment, rehabilitation, marking, transportation, hunting, trapping, release and propagation of the following wild animals: animals (mammals except humans, birds, reptiles, and amphibians); fish and farmed animals normally seen in the wild (for the purpose of commercial propagation, commercial production of meat, hides, pelts, antlers and other products). The Act includes special provisions for endangered species. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act is enforced by Conservation Officers appointed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and may also be enforced by any of the following: police officers; First Nations constables; RCMP; Game Officers designated under the Migratory Birds Convention Act and Park Wardens designated under the National Parks Act.
This is an Act to provide for: the quality and safety of food, agricultural or aquatic commodities and agricultural inputs; the management of food safety risks; and the control and regulation of regulatable activities. "Regulatable activities" include: the raising and slaughter of animals or fish; and the collection, buying, receiving, possessing for prescribed purposes, identification, branding, handling, storage, moving and transportation of animals and fish. The Food Safety and Quality Act is enforced by inspectors appointed and certified by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
This Act states that animals must be inspected before sale. Any sick or injured animals must be segregated for veterinary examination. The Act also regulates standards for community sales and their operation and is enforced by The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
Regulation 732/94 of the Livestock and Livestock Products Act provides special care for non-ambulatory animals. Specifically, all non-ambulatory animals require a veterinary certificate. A non-ambulatory animal is defined as "any animal that due to age, injury, metabolic or systemic disease, etc., is unable to raise itself without assistance to a standing and walking state," as defined by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association. "Downer" and "downed animal" are terms used in reference to a non-ambulatory animal. The Livestock and Livestock Products Act is enforced by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
The Livestock Medicines Act states that a designated committee shall review all legislation and regulations pertaining to livestock medicine and report to and advise the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) on matters relating to the control and regulation of livestock medicines. The committee also evaluates and recommends procedures relating to the sale of livestock medicines and proper standards for the maintenance, handling and storage of livestock medicines. The committee makes recommendations respecting the designation of drugs or classes of drugs as livestock medicines, and the designation of livestock medicines for sale under a licence or any class of licence. OMAFRA is responsible for enforcement of the Act.
The purpose and intent of the Milk Act is to stimulate, increase and improve the producing of milk within Ontario. It includes regulations to provide for the control and regulation in any or all respects of the producing or marketing within Ontario of any milk product, and to provide for the control and regulation in any or all respects of the quality of milk, milk products and fluid milk products within Ontario. The Milk Act is enforced by Inspectors, or "Field Persons" of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Act.
Information provided by the OSPCA
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