Queen’s Park is getting tough on animal abuse and neglect.
The government has announced a more robust enforcement system and the strongest penalties in the country.
Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones says the provincial Animal Welfare Services Act (PAWS) would give inspectors the power to help animals in distress and hold owners accountable.
The new system would significantly increase the penalties for serious and repeat offenders.
“We made a commitment to take action and develop a modern animal welfare enforcement system to keep animals safe. I am proud to say we are delivering on that commitment with new legislation that includes the toughest penalties in Canada,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “Ontarians can be confident the government is proposing a system that will better protect animals from negligent care.”
The proposed legislation also calls for the hiring of more provincial inspectors to provide better coverage across the province, including specialists in livestock, agriculture, horses, zoos, and aquariums.
“The PAWS Act would introduce the strongest penalties in Canada for offenders and make Ontario the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement a full provincial government-based animal welfare enforcement model,” said Parliamentary Assistant Christine Hogarth. “This made-in-Ontario model demonstrates that our government understands how significant the well-being of animals is to the people of this province.”
Earlier this year the Ontario Society For Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals (OSPCA) announced it would no longer investigate and enforce animal cruelty laws.
The proposed new animal welfare system was developed based on input from municipalities, police, industry, technical experts, veterinarian organizations, animal sheltering and advocacy organizations, and the public.