Canadian Province Gets Tough New Animal LawPosted by Stephanie Ulmer, Guest Blogger on October 19th, 2010
The law regarding animal treatment just got a whole lot stricter in Manitoba, Canada. The Animal Care Amendment Act took effect September 20th, doubling-up jail time and fines for offenders, and adding the severe penalty that a person convicted of an offense could be restricted from owning or caring for animals for life.
The new regulations set out licensing requirements for larger breeders of certain animals (including dogs and cats) and pet stores, as well as more frequent inspections of kennel operations. A breeder is defined as someone who has five or more intact female animals. The licensing requirement is intended to provide better consumer protection to the many consumers who previously had little or no recourse after they purchased a sick pet.
The new rules also give animal protection officers more power to take immediate action to prevent harm or to seize animals they consider to be abused or abandoned. Veterinarians also have an expanded role under the new law. They will now be required to report suspected cases of animal abuse or neglect, and they will be protected from any civil liability if they file a report. In addition, the office of the chief veterinarian will be expanded by three staff members to help enforce the new act.
The act further prohibits the loading and transportation of animals that are not deemed fit for transport and prohibits the acceptance for commercial trade of livestock that are not fit for transport at sites such as auction markets and shipment yards.
It is hoped that the changes under the act will eventually weed out puppy mills and keep habitual hoarders from owning animals after they have been found in violation. It is believed that the lifetime ban on pet ownership gives investigators the upper hand when it comes to people who hoard animals.
Penalties under the new rules:
- Maximum fines for animal care offenses are raised to $10,000 from $5,000 for a first offense and to $20,000 from $10,000 for a second or subsequent offense.
- The maximum term of imprisonment is increased to 12 months from six months for a second offense.
- The act also gives the courts the power to ban a person convicted of an offense from owning or caring for animals for life.