Province Strengthens Protection for Animals

April 22, 2013

The province is proposing increased penalties for animal abusers and paving the way for improved regulations to better protect animals in Nova Scotia.

“The message we want to get out there is that abusing animals is wrong and it will not be tolerated,” said Agriculture Minister John MacDonell. “This government started making changes to the Animal Protection Act in 2009 and today we are taking further steps that will strengthen penalties for animal abusers, making them among the stiffest in the country.”

The amendments, which will be introduced later today, April 22, expand the definition of distress for an animal, making it easier for SPCA investigators to do their job.

Changes to the act also give the Agriculture Minister authority to create regulations about the standard of care for animals, including physical shelters such as dog houses, animal restraints and tethers.

“The Nova Scotia SPCA is keen to assist government in achieving its goals to better protect animals in Nova Scotia,” said Kristin Williams, executive director of the Nova Scotia SPCA. “We are pleased to see a reference to an animal’s anxiety as part of the definition of distress. These and other changes are promising steps and the SPCA looks forward to working with government on developing regulations.”

Peter Ainslie, CEO of Halifax Veterinary Hospital Inc., also welcomed the amendments.

“By providing clear guidelines of what constitutes animal stress and stricter penalties for abusers, the new amendments to the Animal Protection Act will protect the well-being of animals in Nova Scotia,” said Mr. Ainslie.

The amendments also make it an offence to commercially sell a dog whose health has not been certified by a veterinarian. This step, the first of its kind in the country, is an additional tool that will help address the issue of puppy mills and focuses on sellers that are not ensuring the health and protection of their dogs.