PAWS Legislation Introduced
Ontario’s police leaders are pleased that the Government of Ontario has introduced new animal welfare legislation that should help protect animals and address the concerns of police leadership related to the uncertainty around expectations for police services in this area.
Highlights of Bill 136, the Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act, 2019 include:
- Introducing new offences to combat activities such as dog fighting;
- Giving inspectors necessary powers to help animals in distress and to hold owners accountable;
- Giving government the ability to empower others, beyond inspectors, to take action when an animal is in imminent risk of serious injury or death when a pet is left in a hot car;
- Significantly increasing penalties for serious, repeat and corporate offenders. These new penalties would be the strongest in Canada;
- Improving oversight and ensuring increased transparency and accountability, including establishing a one-window complaints mechanism for the public; and
- Establishing a multi-disciplinary advisory table made up of a wide range of experts, including veterinarians, agriculture representatives, academics, animal advocates and others to provide ongoing advice to the ministry to improve animal welfare.
The government is also proposing to hire more provincial inspectors to ensure better coverage across the province, including specialists in livestock, agriculture, horses, zoos and aquariums.
For more information, click here. Concerns about animal distress or abuse can be reported to the Ontario Animal Protection Call Centre at 1-833-9-ANIMAL (264625).