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Shelters rejoice as Ontario proclaims Animal Welfare Act

Ontario SPCA News Release ********************** Newmarket, Ontario - The Ontario SPCA is pleased with the Ontario government's proclamation of Bill 50 to amend the Ontario SPCA Act.
Ontario SPCA
News Release


Newmarket, Ontario - The Ontario SPCA is pleased with the Ontario government's proclamation of Bill 50 to amend the Ontario SPCA Act. Bill 50 was tabled in the Legislature by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services in April, 2008 and is the most comprehensive amendment adopted since the provincial animal welfare legislation's inception in 1919. The new Provincial Animal Welfare (PAW) Act toughens and modernizes the Ontario SPCA Act; creating new provincial offenses and imposing stiffer penalties for those convicted of animal abuse.

Key changes in the amended Ontario SPCA Act or Provincial Animal Welfare (PAW) Act include:

* Establishing new provincial offences against animal cruelty, including causing or permitting distress.

* Providing judges with greater flexibility to impose stiffer penalties, including jail time, fines up to $60,000 and a potential lifetime ban on animal ownership.

* Providing inspection powers to the Ontario SPCA; allowing investigators to inspect premises where animals are kept for the purposes of exhibit, entertainment, boarding, sale or hire.

* Permitting the Society to apply for custody of an animal victim while a case is still before the courts.

* Expanding the standards of care to be applicable to all animals, not just dogs and cats.

* Requiring veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse or neglect with protection under the law.

* Making it an offense to train an animal to fight with another animal or to own animal fighting equipment.

* Making it an offense to harm a law enforcement animal, such as a dog or a horse.

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"Today is an historic day in animal welfare for the province of Ontario and for the Ontario SPCA. The Ontario government has clearly demonstrated their support for the lifesaving work of the Ontario SPCA. The Society looks forward to working on behalf of Ontarians to address concerns for the well-being and humane treatment of all animals." Ontario SPCA CEO Kate MacDonald

"The Ontario SPCA is pleased to have more progressive provincial animal welfare legislation. With the establishment of stiffer penalties, the introduction of standards of care for all animals and the creation of new provincial offenses, the government has ensured that Ontario has some of the toughest animal protection laws in Canada." Ontario SPCA Chief Inspector Hugh Coghill

"The new legislation is a great step forward for Animal Welfare. We're confident the amended Ontario SPCA Act will have a positive effect in our ongoing efforts to combat animal cruelty across Ontario. The 50 communities that together make up our organization will remain vigilant to the needs of the public and animals and continue to work for changes to legislation that reflects changing times and our desire to protect all animals from cruelty," says Ontario SPCA Board of Directors Chair Jim Sykes

About the Ontario SPCA

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Ontario SPCA):

Protecting animals since 1873, the Ontario SPCA is a registered charity comprised of over 50 Communities relying primarily on donations to fund animal protection, care and rehabilitation; advocacy; and humane education. The Provincial Animal Welfare (PAW) Act mandates the Society to enforce animal cruelty laws and provides Society investigators with police powers to do so - making the Ontario SPCA unique among animal welfare organizations in the province. The Ontario SPCA is a member of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, the World Society for the Protection of Animals, and is affiliated with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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