A grey cat is held by a man. File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / katalinks

Humane societies to be able to enforce animal cruelty laws

The province is taking steps to allow local humane societies to enforce animal cruelty laws while it hammers out a new animal welfare enforcement model.

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) intends to stop providing animal welfare protection services after June 28. The decision to end the service it has provided for 100 years came after an Ontario court ruled in early January that the province erred by giving the animal welfare agency policing powers without imposing accountability and transparency standards.

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones announced on Friday the provincial government has posted a regulation that enables affiliates of the OSPCA, such as local humane societies, to continue enforcement until the new model is implemented.

“A number of OSPCA affiliates stepped forward to offer their continued assistance as we work towards a new, permanent enforcement model,” Jones said in a statement. “Our government wants to empower these affiliates to continue protecting animals as we develop a new model. This work cannot be rushed, and animal protection is too important not to get right. This is a temporary solution to fill in the gaps while we transition to a new model.”

The province is also launching an online survey to give the public a chance to share their thoughts on how Ontario can improve animal welfare. The public’s input will be used to help shape the new animal welfare enforcement model.

Animal cruelty laws are also enforced by police throughout the province.