Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Calls for Reforming Canadian Animal Laws

A recent abuse case has highlighted the antiquity of Canadian animal laws and spurred fresh cries for reform. Note that the article quotes a petition organizer claiming that Canadian animal welfare laws have been virtually unchanged since 1892 (it would be great to get confirmation on this from some Canadian readers).

Queen Waldorf {the abused German Shepherd} has since made a strong recovery and was adopted by a St. Catharines woman. Her former owner was charged with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal by failing to provide veterinary treatment, failing to provide suitable and adequate care for an animal and abandoning an animal in distress.

“She puts a face to the suffering,” petition organizer Sherry Nath said about the dog.

Animal abuse, she explained, can be a warning sign of more severe criminal behaviour to come in abusers.

“Everyone knows by now there’s a human link,” Nath said. “It’s been well-documented for many years. It’s quite surprising Canada is so progressive a country and yet we have these laws (that are lax).”

Nath said Canada’s animal cruelty laws were first drafted in 1892 and have remained virtually unchanged since.

The Queen Waldorf petition is in support of a private member’s bill, C-373, introduced by Ajax-Pickering Liberal MP Mark Holland. It proposes animal abusers be banned for life from keeping animals. It also calls for longer jail terms and higher fines.

Currently, the longest a person can be prohibited from owning an animal is two years, plus any time for probation.

Fines are a maximum of $2,000 and jail terms are no longer than six months.

C-373 is stuck in a long queue of private members’ bills waiting to be read in Parliament. Meanwhile, another animal cruelty bill, S-213, is now before the Senate. But Nath said that bill virtually maintains the status quo.

“It doesn’t make any sense as far as protecting society,” Nath said. “It goes beyond animal welfare. It’s an extremely important social issue.”

For more information or to add your name to the petition — Nath is trying to collect 10,000 signatures — log on to

Photo by JCB2007.

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