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OSPCA Enforcement Powers Deemed Unconstitutional in New Court Ruling

Animal Justice January 4, 2019

After hearing arguments from Animal Justice lawyers, an Ontario court has ruled that animal law enforcement by the OSPCA—a private charity—is unconstitutional because the agency is not sufficiently accountable or transparent.

Animal Justice intervened in the case of Bogaerts v Attorney General of Ontario, a legal challenge to the OSPCA’s investigative and police powers that was heard in a courthouse in Perth, Ontario in May 2018. Animal Justice was in court to ensure the best interests of animals were front and centre.

Animal Justice has long been concerned that while the public cares deeply about animal protection, the government pushes responsibility for enforcing animal protection laws onto a private charity.

The OSPCA receives minimal funding and must fundraise to support its operations. Animal Justice pointed out that this itself could be a conflict of interest as the organization may receive donations from the very individuals it may be investigating.

The OSPCA is also not subject to reasonable transparency, accountability, or oversight like other public law enforcement agencies, such as the police. For example, police services legislation and freedom of information laws don’t apply to the OSPCA, nor is it subject to oversight by the Ombudsman.

Because of Animal Justice’s arguments on behalf of animals, the court recognized a new principle of fundamental justice: That an agency with police or investigative powers must be transparent and accountable, or it will not comply with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Ontario government now has an incredible opportunity to review animal law enforcement, and ensure in the best possible way that it will benefit and protect animals from cruelty. Animal protection laws are currently the only laws still enforced by a private agency, and we are hopeful the decision will acknowledge government responsibility to lead the way and adequately fund animal protection.

The court has given the province 12 months to introduce a new system. It is not yet clear whether the province will appeal the decision.

Thank you for standing by our side to ensure our lawyers can represent animals in court when they cannot speak for themselves. We’ll keep you updated on how the government moves forward after this legal outcome, and let you know how the province’s future decisions in this matter will affect animals.

 

 

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Animal Justice

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New by-law bans zoos & animal circuses in Sault Ste. Marie

Animal Justice July 16, 2018

Sault Ste. Marie just passed a progressive new animal care and control by-law that will mean greater protections for animals. Among other things, the by-law enhances animal care standards, bans circuses from using live animals in performances, and prohibits new zoos from operating in the City.

No More Animals in Entertainment

Sault Ste. Marie is the first Canadian city to take the huge step forward and ban keeping animals captive in zoos. Unfortunately, the only zoo in the City—the notorious Spruce Haven Zoo—has been exempted from the ban by a vote of 6-5, but the by-law will still prevent new zoos from popping up in the future.

Last year, Prince Edward Island became the first province to restrict the use of exotic animals in circuses. Now, Sault Ste. Marie is following suit, banning circuses and events in which any animal is required to perform for the entertainment of an audience. Unfortunately, equestrian shows, dog and cat shows, horseracing, sled dog racing, and aquarium displays are exempt, but the City still deserves some credit for the changes.

Some other highlights of the comprehensive new animal care and control by-law include:

  • New animal welfare rules, including a ban on collars that may restrict an animal’s ability to breathe or swallow.
  • Mandatory sterilization of cats over 6 months of age.
  • A requirement that animals be kept on premises that are free from unsanitary conditions that may disturb the enjoyment or comfort of the animal, or that may endanger the health of the animal.

Animal Justice celebrates this leap forward for animals in Sault Ste. Marie, and urges other municipalities to follow suit.

 

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Animal Justice

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New PEI Laws Force Circus to Cancel Horse Performances

Animal Justice June 19, 2018

CHARLOTTETOWN—National animal law organization Animal Justice says that PEI’s tough new anti-circus laws have stopped a circus coming to Charlottetown this week from including animal acts.

Super Circus Spectacular is scheduled to do two shows at the Eastlink Centre on Thursday, June 21. According to a Facebook event listing for the Charlottetown tour stop, “energetic animals” were set to perform. When Charlottetown resident Hilary Wood messaged the circus to ask what animals they would bring, the circus responded that they would bring horses.

PEI cracked down on circus cruelty last year when the province passed the new Animal Welfare Act. Now, no exotic animals like elephants, bears, and tigers can be used. Only a small number of domestic animals like cats, dogs, horses, and some birds are still permitted, subject to strict conditions. Circuses must obtain a license 180 days in advance of a show, obtain extensive insurance coverage, and create and provide a detailed escape and recapture plan.

After complaints from Ms. Wood and Animal Justice, the provincial Department of Agriculture advised that Super Circus Spectacular does not have a circus license, and will not be allowed to engage in horse or other animal performances in Charlottetown this week.

“Forcing animals to perform for human entertainment is cruel, degrading, and incredibly outdated,” said Camille Labchuk, lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice. “Circuses around the world are closing down due to plummeting public interest, concerns over animal mistreatment, and the risk to public safety. PEI now has some of the toughest anti-circus legislation in the country, and this is our first chance to see it in action.”

Animal Justice will send inspectors to Super Circus Spectacular to ensure it does not attempt to include horses or other animals in its Charlottetown shows this week.

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For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

Animal Justice

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    by on January 27, 2019 - 0 Comments

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    The post Luna (formerly Pamela) appeared first on Second Chance Animal Rescue Society.

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    The post Nutmeg appeared first on Second Chance Animal Rescue Society.

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    The post Dozer (formerly Cordoba) appeared first on Second Chance Animal Rescue Society.

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