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Media Advisory: Animal Justice Lawyers In Court for Appeal in Case that Struck Down Ontario SPCA Law Enforcement Powers

Animal Justice September 30, 2019

TORONTO—National animal law organization Animal Justice will intervene tomorrow in an appeal of the legal challenge that struck down the Ontario SPCA’s enforcement authority. In Bogaerts v. Attorney General of Ontario 2019 ONSC 41, Justice Minnema of the Superior Court of Justice declared that it is unconstitutional for the Ontario SPCA—as a private charity not subject to reasonable oversight measures—to enforce… Read more » Animal Justice

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Here’s How to Help Animals with the New Ontario Animal Protection Survey

Animal Justice May 31, 2019

Everything is about to change for animal protection in Ontario. In March 2019, the Ontario SPCA announced it will no longer enforce animal cruelty laws in the province and is putting this public responsibility back in the hands of the government, where it belongs. The Ontario government is now surveying the public to help decide how… Read more » Animal Justice

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OSPCA Withdraws From Enforcing Animal Cruelty Laws

Animal Justice March 4, 2019

The Ontario SPCA has announced that it will withdraw from enforcing animal protection laws in the province of Ontario as of March 31, when its current funding agreement with the province expires.

While many animal lovers may be concerned by this news, and fear that it will be bad for animals, Animal Justice is applauding the Ontario SPCA for this bold move. We believe it will prompt the government to create a new, stronger, public enforcement system that will be better-equipped to protect animals from cruelty and suffering.

What’s the problem? First, animal law enforcement is woefully underfunded. The Ontario SPCA is not a government agency—it is a private charity. The Ontario SPCA is expected to enforce publicly-enacted animal protection laws in the province, and responds to nearly 16,000 animal welfare complaints each year, province-wide. But the agency receives less than $6 million from the provincial government to carry out its important work, and is forced to fundraise so it can afford to enforce public laws, run shelters, and care for animals. The funding provided to the Ontario SPCA represents a mere 0.001% of the $4.4 billion in public money that is spent on policing in Ontario every year, and the agency is ill-equipped to carry out its mandate. There are more fare inspectors working at the Toronto Transit Commission than there are animal welfare inspectors in the entire province.

Second, many people have questioned whether it is appropriate in 2019 for a private charity to enforce public laws. The Ontario SPCA is not subject to freedom of information laws, police accountability legislation, and other oversight mechanisms that apply to virtually all other law enforcement agencies. In January 2019, an Ontario judge ruled that giving police powers to a private body without transparency and accountability is unconstitutional. Animal Justice intervened in the case in support of the court’s decision, because we believe transparency and accountability are important to making sure animal cruelty offences are investigated and addressed. The case is now being appealed.

Animal Justice believes it is time for a new system, and the Ontario SPCA’s move should prompt the government to implement a well-funded, public law enforcement regime. Caring for animals is a public responsibility, and the government needs to step up and properly fund this vital area of our legal system so that vulnerable animals in our society have strong protections from from cruelty and neglect.

The Ontario SPCA decision will not leave animals unprotected in Ontario. Police officers have always had the authority to enforce federal and provincial animal cruelty laws, and have often done so despite the Ontario SPCA’s overlapping authority. The Ontario SPCA has also offered to continue to provide enforcement services for a three-month transition period, until the end of June 2019.

The private, SPCA enforcement model is a quirk of history, and occurs in virtually no other area of the law. When early animal cruelty laws were enacted in the 1800s in England, most prosecutions were done privately by aggrieved individuals. The Royal SPCA formed to ensure animal laws were enforced, as animals were unable to prosecute cases on their own, and the SPCA enforcement model spread throughout Commonwealth countries.

Other provinces have already moved away from private animal law enforcement. The Edmonton Humane Society announced in January 2019 that it would end enforcement, concluding that it is no longer appropriate for a donation-supported body to fulfill a public enforcement function. Manitoba animal protection laws are primarily enforced by the office of the Chief Veterinary Officer, a public agency. In Newfoundland, the police enforce animal protection laws.

Animal Justice is committed to working with the Ontario SPCA and the province to examine the best options for a strong new enforcement system that puts animals’ interests first. We will keep you updated on future developments, and for ways you can help.

 

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  • Blackie

    by on November 15, 2019 - 0 Comments

    One dedicated rescuer, two days, two dogs, two different areas of the province - eerily similar symptoms.  Here is Blackie's story. Not 24 hours had gone by since Lizzie's diagnosis and passing and the phone rang again. A dog, this time a large male, previously healthy, only 4 years old, suddenly and inexplicably in

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

    Second Chance Animal Rescue Society

  • Walker

    by on November 15, 2019 - 0 Comments

    Hi SCARS, We were told Walker was going to be a big boy, but what you didn’t say was that he was going to be a gentle giant. Thank you for giving us the chance to watch this amazing dog grow and meld with our family. He has come a long way from 28”

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

    Second Chance Animal Rescue Society

  • Lizzie’s story

    by on November 13, 2019 - 0 Comments

    One dedicated rescuer, two days, two dogs, two different areas of the province - eerily similar symptoms. We will start with Lizzie's story. Lizzie came from a SCARS intake community,  a sweet and happy shepherd, well known to our volunteers involved in community outreach. She had the basic necessities for life, but was always

    The post Lizzie’s story appeared first on Second Chance Animal Rescue Society.

    Second Chance Animal Rescue Society

  • Tiny

    by on November 24, 2019 - 0 Comments

    Bit by big dog. That is what it says on my veterinary file. But let me tell you it was waaaaay more than a bite, more like mauled, tossed around and then bit again. I am an older guy and as my name, Tiny, suggests I am not very big.   It was an ugly

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

    Second Chance Animal Rescue Society

  • Thelma

    by on December 8, 2019 - 0 Comments

    Hi SCARS, We wanted to share our Thelma update with you for the Christmas season. Thank you SO much for finding her and taking care of her before she joined our family. We can't imagine our life without her. Thelma is an absolute joy to everyone she meets. She is the kindest soul to

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

    Second Chance Animal Rescue Society

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