Monday, April 13, 2009

Our tougher animal cruelty laws working? Not so much. - Updated

From the Canadian Press, First year of tougher animal cruelty law shows weaknesses, activists say:

Tougher Criminal Code provisions against animal cruelty took effect a year ago, but animal-rights activists say the law has proven ineffective. Some recent cases:

Nova Scotia woman drowns two newborn kittens - fined $5.

Northwest Territories man leaves dogs outdoors to freeze and starve to death - no charges laid.

Ontario man drops kitten from a 5th floor balcony, then runs it over with car - charges dropped.

New Brunswick man kills five Pomeranians with a hammer - absolute discharge.

Ontario man shoots, blinds and abandons dog on bush road - acquitted.

The legislation does not even outlaw breeding, training or selling animals to fight each other.

When I posted this up last night, I didn't really have a comment for it because I was tired but also because it was like reading some fiction about a place far away, possibly a different country, possibly off-planet, where everyone lives in societies which operate like Kafka nightmares. The whole thing just seemed too unreal to take seriously.

I have to wonder what it would take to actually get charged and convicted of animal cruelty under Canadian law because apparently it's okay to drown, freeze, starve, drop, run over, shoot and blind the family dog as long as the person claims he did it without intent.

How does someone unintentionally drop a kitten from five floors up, unintentionally get in his car and then unintentionally drive over the kitten? How does someone unintentionally drown kittens in a bucket of water?

I wonder if this would work as a good defence argument for someone:

"Uh yeah, that guy who unintentionally left his dogs to freeze and starve to death outside - sorry, my client unintentionally kicked him in the nutsack. Yeah, my client's steel toed boot just suddenly and unintentionally raised itself up at a high speed and traveled unintentionally forward and impacted with the guy's nutsack. This unintentionally happened over and over and over again. Yeah, I realize the guy can't have any kids but my client swears, it was all unintentional."

Maybe, to be more clear, the lawyers and politicians who came up with this brilliant piece of legislation should call it the If You're an Asshole and Want to Be Cruel to Your Pet That's Okay Because We Don't Care Law - Seriously, We Don't Care.

From redstarcafe, more info on the weaknesses of the current legislation and a better alternative here.


Social Mange said...

The greatness of a nation....

Canada is a sad excuse for a nation if this is how animal cruelty is punished.

Lynn said...

To Social Mange: It's not just Canadians. It's people. I don't know what's wrong with us . Why do so many of them/us feel the need to exert power over something weaker?

This entry reinforces my believe that, often, education and incentives are more effective than laws.

Anonymous said...

If we were to have enacted Mark Holland's Bill C-373 instead of the present insipid legislation, would that close some of the loopholes? What's the sense of legislation if there's no enforcement and you can still do whatever the he** you want with property, even if it's a living, breathing member of creation? Who's falling down here?

The kitten story reminds me of the Daisy Duke injured animal and people too stupid to figure out how to take her to a vet.

Fred said...

redstarcafe, I don't know enough about C-373 to comment. I'll be looking into it more when I've got some time but I suspect I'll have to leave the dissection of that bill up to those better versed in law. All I know is that what we got now doesn't cut it.

Anonymous said...

Some info on C-373 here:

Fred said...

redstarcafe, that's excellent post on the current animal cruelty legislation and on what it could have been if politicians had more guts to take a stand on this issue. I'm going to push your link to the main post above.

Anonymous said...

Fred, Mark Holland's bill is now C-229. It's identical to C-373. What can we all do? Take action by going to Mark's page on this and lobbying for its passage, once and for all! Get the word out.

Anonymous said...

Mark Holland has reintroduced Bill C-373 as Bill C-229. Way to go, Mark! Please don't ever, ever give up!

and Mark's website:

Fred said...

redstarcafe, thanks for the link. I'm going to check it out.