Animal Essentials in the News - Apr. 12, 2010
With thanks from The Daily Gleaner for sticking close to this story.
Tougher rules to protect animals welcomed10 SPCA Act | Changes to come into effect June 1
Recent changes to the New Brunswick SPCA Act are welcomed by those working in the field.
Gwen Young of Oromocto is the founder of the BARK campaign, an organization created to put pressure on politicians to modernize animal cruelty laws.
Young said she's pleased with upcoming regulations that include a requirement that kennels and animal shelters be licensed and undergo regular inspections to help ensure animals have proper shelter, food and water.
"Any change made - even if it is a small change - is going to make a major improvement in some way," Young said. "It's a lot better than what's been going on."
The changes announced April 3 by Local Government Minister Chris Collins are designed to define specific standards for establishments, such as pet stores, animal shelters and kennels, and enable their licensing and inspection.
The new regulations, which come into effect June 1, will give the province's SPCA greater enforcement powers in protecting animals and reducing instances of abusive situations such as puppy mills.
The changes will apply to both commercial and non-commercial establishments in municipalities and rural areas.
In addition, owners of more than five dogs, over six months of age, will be required to adhere to nationally established standards of care for those animals.
A new kennel and pet retail store licence fee of $250 is expected to raise $50,000 a year for the SPCA's animal protection account.
The animal shelter licence fee of $100 will raise $1,500 a year, which will also go to the SPCA.
Young said the new rules provide clear guidelines for people who want to run a business and for the professionals who are given the task of enforcing the rules.
Brad Janes and his wife Shelley operate Animal Essentials at the Devon Plaza in Fredericton.
He said the new legislation is long overdue.
"We are fully in favour of it," Janes said. "But we're sitting back to ensure that this new legislation does, indeed, have some teeth to it."
Janes said if establishments like his are to pay $250 a year in licence fees, he wants assurances that the collected money will go to the right places.
Oromocto Tory MLA Jody Carr, who was successful in having other amendments made to the provincial SPCA Act in 2009, also welcomed the news.
"I applaud the government for finally bringing these rules forward," Carr said. "Advocates have waited nearly 15 years for these regulations.
"Last year, New Brunswick was ranked by the Animal Legal Defence Fund as one of the best places in Canada to abuse animals."
The new rules will provide more teeth for SPCA enforcement officers and will make a difference in mitigating animal abuse, Carr said.
Under amendments to the act introduced by Carr last year and passed by the government, judges now have the power to hand out stiffer fines and penalties to people or businesses found guilty of animal abuse in violation of the provincial SPCA Act.
Under the legislation, the maximum fine is $100,000 and/or 18 months in jail. The previous top level fine was $575.
The upcoming changes, however, don't apply to grooming facilities, training operations, research and educational facilities, veterinary clinics boarding animals for medical reasons, boarding and riding stables for horses, circuses, zoos or establishments selling livestock.