Nova Sco­tia tough on an­i­mal abusers

Province’s an­i­mal abuse laws sec­ond only to Man­i­toba

Cape Breton Post - - CLASSIFIEDS / PROVINCE - BY ZANE WOOD­FORD

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.

GETTY IM­AGES/STOCK­PHOTO

Kit­tens are shown in an an­i­mal shel­ter.

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