Nova Scotia tough on animal abusers
Province’s animal abuse laws second only to Manitoba
Nova Scotia is one of the worst places in Canada to be an animal abuser.
That’s the finding of a report released Tuesday by the Canadian division of the Animal Legal Defense Fund looking at protection for animals in the provinces and territories in 2015.
Spokesperson Sophie Gaillard said Nova Scotia was doing “pretty well” last year, sitting at fourth place, but this year, “there were some notable improvements made to the legislation.”
“The penalties went up: the fines are higher and the possible imprisonment terms are higher,” she said Tuesday.
The report is based on what the Animal Legal Defense Fund calls “detailed analysis” of legislation in the provinces and territories designed to figure out which laws “have real teeth.”
Manitoba is first on this year’s list, with Nova Scotia in second, British Columbia in third and Ontario in fourth. At the bottom of the list are Quebec and Nunavut.
Gaillard said the problems in those provinces are that the penalties aren’t high enough for abuse, but rather veterinarians aren’t obligated to report incidences of abuse, and the types of protections afforded animals are limited or only apply to certain species.
She said Nunavut, for example, only covers dogs.
Gaillard said provincial and territorial legislation is important for animal welfare, because the federal legislation doesn’t cover animals.
“The criminal code provisions are extremely weak,” she said.
“They haven’t been changed since 1892 and are very, very difficult to apply.”
The Animal Legal Defense Fund hopes to put pressure on provincial and territorial governments to do more. Gaillard said Nova Scotia could go further too, giving the examples of mandatory minimum fines for animal abusers, animal fighting legislation, and standards of care that should be applied to more species.
Kittens are shown in an animal shelter.