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Bills would protect animals

February 27th, 2007, 09:55 AM
Two bills addressing the same issue are patiently waiting approval at the House of Commons.
The on-going issue of amendments to animal cruelty legislation have been pushed and pulled, backed and negated.
Ontario’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty against Animals (SPCA) are concerned that the issue has been on the back burner for too long.
“The current legislation is over 100 years old,” said Ontario SPCA chief inspector Hugh Coghill. “It’s in desperate need of updating.”
The two bills, Bill S-213 and Bill C-50 both would make changes to the legislation’s penalties.
Right now, in the worst cases of animal cruelty, a judge can prohibit a person from owning an animal for two years.
“I’ve sat in on cases where the judge had said, ‘If it were in my power I would ban you from never owning another pet,’ but legislation stops them from doing it,” Coghill said.
Both bills amend higher penalties of jail time and unlimited fines as well as lifetime prohibition on owning animals for cruelty towards animals.
While Bill S-213 would only make changes to the penalty section of legislation, Coghill said many more issues need to be addressed.

For one, under current legislation, animal crimes are considered property crimes.
“Animals are essentially beings and need to be dealt with separately and in a different manner than property offences,” Coghill said.
Another issue that concerns the Ontario SPCA is the definition of willful neglect.
“We have to determine willful intent,” said the Ontario SPCA acting CEO Craig Mabee. “If the farmer said he didn’t know his dog needed water, it’s hard for us to prove that he willfully neglected his dog.”
While Bill S-213 suggested no changes, Bill C-50 would define the term negligent as “departing markedly from the standard of care that a reasonable person would use.”
Bill C-50 would also extend punishable acts of animal cruelty to stray and wild animals as well. Under current legislation wild and stray animals can be killed for any reason.
This isn’t the first time Bill C-50 has made it to the House of Commons.
It was passed previously but hit a brick wall when going to the Senate.
Coghill said it was the groups' fears that stopped the more stringent bill from passing.
“They thought their industry or sport would be in jeopardy,” Coghill said.
Fishermen feared that baiting a worm on a hook would be a criminal act under new legislation.
“That is ludicrous,” Coghill said. “That isn’t the intent of either of those bills.”
He reminded those special interest groups that charges have to go through the scrutiny of the legal system before being convicted.
And while they aren’t out to get every worm-baiting fisherman, there is a message being sent with more severe animal cruelty laws.
“There is a correlation between animal abuse and violent behavior,” Coghill said. “Animal cruelty is a precursor to violent behavior and legislation should be updated to recognize this.”

February 27th, 2007, 11:54 PM
Sounds like a good reason to abolish the Senate!

February 28th, 2007, 07:18 AM
Cathy,I heard from OSPCA the new Bills are C 373 and C 215,C 373 beeing the more inclusive,but numbers are certainly not important,it's what they represent that just has to go through,over the years only the number is changing,not our treatment of animals.:sad:
Having followed the progress or lack thereof every time a new Bill is presented only to see it once again beeing put on the back-burner is very frustrating.
I wish the Canadian government would see beyond the $$$$ signs and see our animals,whether it's a pig bound for slaughter or a pet cat/dog,as feeling intelligent beeings.
The protest over a new Animal-Cruelty law,is heard the loudest from cattle/pig farmers,hunters and the big shame in Canada,the sealhunt:evil: