Printer Friendly

It's a dog's life.

My pets have it good. They are always fed, and watered, and they have warm, safe places to sleep. They have lots of space to move around in and have the company of other animals and humans. They are not mistreated in any way. This is not the case for many pets, but thankfully, the law protects the helpless.

In Alberta, we have the Animal Protection Act.

"Prohibition against causing distress

2(1) No person shall cause or permit an animal of which the person is the owner or the person in charge to be or to continue to be in distress.

(1.1) No person shall cause an animal to be in distress.

(2) This section does not apply if the distress results from an activity carried on in accordance with the regulations or in accordance with reasonable and generally accepted practices of animal care, management, husbandry, hunting, fishing, trapping, pest control or slaughter."


12(1) A person who contravenes this Act or the regulations is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of not more than $20,000.

(2) If the owner of an animal is found guilty of an offence under section 2, the Court may make an order restraining the owner from continuing to have custody of an animal for a period of time specified by the Court.

(3) The Court may make an order under subsection (2) on any terms and conditions it considers appropriate."

Animal protection legislation is found in every province in Canada. This legislation gives humane societies the ability to operate, educate humans, and protect animals.

One of the most well-known humane societies is the SPCA. The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ( is operated on a local level, with individual locations having similar missions.

The Alberta SPCA's mission is "to have every animal in Alberta humanely treated. To accomplish this, there must be acceptance that humans are responsible for the welfare of animals; and there must be an understanding of the physical and behavioural needs of animals.

Guiding Principles

Animals are sentient beings that can experience distress, including pain, sickness and stress. The Alberta SPCA believes humans have a duty to:

* accept responsibility for the welfare of animals in their control or custody;

* protect animals from distress and to ensure their welfare;

* relieve or minimize distress to any animal whenever it occurs;

* use animals only in ways that protect them from distress;

* keep, maintain and transport animals safely, in a manner appropriate to the species, and protected from distress;

* ensure, if animals must be killed, the method of killing produces a humane death and is appropriate to the species."

Criminal Code of Canada

Not only do provincial laws protect animals, the federal government also believes in animal protection. The Criminal Code assists in legislating enforcement for animal protection issues. The Alberta SPCA website ( has a good synopsis of this legislation.

"Two parts of the current Criminal Code deal with cruelty to animals. Section 264.1 makes it an offence to threaten animals. Sections 444 to 447 address cruelty directly, and are contained in the part of the Code dealing with 'Wilful and Forbidden Acts in Respect of Certain Property.' Most convictions for cruelty are under section 446."

This section deals with wilful neglect, harm, and cruelty, and provides specific prohibitions. Offences under this section are punishable on summary convictionwith a maximum penalty of a $2000 fine and/or six months in jail ( C-46/43282.html #section-446).

Section 264.1 deals with the uttering of threats to harm or injure pets belonging to others. Offences under this section are indictable and liable for punishment for a term not exceeding two years. (http://laws.justice.

Because animals seem to love people unconditionally, many people love animals back. This is evidenced by the number of humane society websites in Canada. A quick Google search for "Humane Society Canada" will find over 1.8 million hits. This search will also yield access to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. CFHS is a national body comprising animal welfare organizations and individuals whose purpose is to promote compassion and humane treatment for all animals.

The CFHS website at is an excellent jumping off point for your local organization.

Other non-profit organizations also fill the role of caregivers and adopters of mistreated animals. One example is the Northern Alberta Society for Animal Protection (

"NASAP is a registered Canadian charity and a non-profit society within Alberta. We are totally run by volunteers and depend on donations to keep doing our work of saving adoptable pets ... We do not have a central location, but rather our foster homes take our animals into their homes and families, making the animal a part of the family. This way we get to know the animal and their personalities making it easier to find the right permanent home for them"

It seems amazing that there are still individuals who need reminding to be kind to our furry four-footed friends. I leave you with a quote--"The

squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest."

--Henry David Thoreau

Shaunna Mireau is a library technician with Field Law in Edmonton, Alberta.
COPYRIGHT 2006 Legal Resource Centre of Alberta Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:animal protection
Author:Mireau, Shaunna
Geographic Code:1CALB
Date:Apr 1, 2006
Previous Article:JFK.
Next Article:The United Nations and the Lubicon: new hope for an old issue?

Related Articles
Thou shalt not kill; non-lethal shelters are the new "humane societies".
Common sense behaviour! Common sense laws?
Selectmen vote to banish dogs that terrorize neighborhood.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |