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• Weak animal protection legislation

For additional information on government legislation and what you can do, visit the Advocacy page.

Provincial Prevention of Cruelty Act

This is just a no-brainer. The provincial Prevention of Cruelty provides for minimal penalties for animal cruelty convictions:

Section 24   OFFENCE
(1) A person responsible for an animal who causes or permits an animal to be or continue to be in distress, commits an offence
(2) subsection (1) does not apply if the distress results from activity in accordance with reasonable and generally accepted practices of animal management
(3) If a person is convicted of an offence, a justice may, in addition to any other penalty, prohibit the person from owning an animal for a period of time … (5) a person who fails to comply commits an
(1) A person who commits an offence under section 23 (Obstruction) is liable on conviction to a fine of up to $2,000 or imprisonment up to 6 months, or both
(2) Someone who commits an offence under section 24 is liable on conviction
(a) for a first offence to a fine of up to $5,000, or to imprisonment for up to 6 months, or both, AND
(b) for a second or subsequent offence, to a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for up to 6 months, or both
24.2   Sections 23 to 24.2 of the Offence Act do not apply to an animal taken into custody under this Act

You can beat a puppy to death and if convicted of animal cruelty, pay $2000 and/or spend 6 months in jail (less time served).

The only agency mandated to enforce the Prevention of Cruelty Act in BC is the BC SPCA which receives zero government funding to fulfill their mandate. And, note, the BC SPCA does not have a presence in all communities in BC. In those communities, the RCMP is the only option.


Criminal Code of Canada

The BC SPCA and the RCMP can recommend animal cruelty charges be filed under the Criminal Code of Canada. The conviction rate for federal animal cruelty charges is LESS than 1% of all cases that manage to make to court.


Municipal Bylaws

Animal control services come under municipal bylaws and are contracted to either the SPCA or other animal welfare agencies. There is no standardization of service, delivery of service or oversight. Although many municpal shelters communicate and work together on programs which move animals to more favourable locations for adoption, there is also a great diversity in animal care philosophies and mandates that stand in the way of progressive collaboration.