Rescuing endangered animals made difficult by existing legislation

photos courtesy of the b.c. spca


Clockwise from top left: B.C. SPCA senior animal protection officer Eileen Drever shows spurs confiscated when RCMP busted a massive cockfighting ring in Surrey; A Husky-type sled dog is seen at a Williams Lake property where more than 200 dogs have been seized; 10-week-old kitten recuperates after being forced to swallow coins and abandoned in a Surrey park; A Husky and her pups are among 43 dogs seized from a repeat offender in Vernon last October.

Is a maximum of six months in jail a long enough sentence for the men behind a massive cockfighting ring busted in Surrey last week? The B.C. SPCA doesn’t think so.

More than 1,200 birds — some with missing eyes and legs — had to be culled by authorities.

Marcie Moriarty with the B.C. SPCA said the criminal code’s maximum penalty for cruelty — six months in jail, a $2,000 fine and a two-year ban on owning animals —is too lenient.

When a Vancouver man beat his pit bull puppy to death with a hammer in January, he was fined $1,000 and served 22 days in jail.

"(Seeing) the photos was like watching a CSI episode," said Moriarty, adding that if bludgeoning a puppy amounts to 22 days in prison, what warrants the maximum sentence?

Moriarty said that while a new private member’s bill increases the penalties for cruelty, Bill S-203 is ineffective because existing legislation makes rescuing animals difficult.

Provincial Agriculture Minister Pat Bell said he plans to table an amendment to the Cruelty to Animals Act that would give the SPCA more flexibility in dealing with extreme cases of cruelty.

Should Canada’s animal cruelty laws be toughened?

pellet shootings

  • Two rabbits were shot and killed, and another maimed, after being shot with a pellet gun in Richmond’s Minoru Park last week.

  • Marcie Moriarty of the B.C. SPCA said the shootings are worrisome because violence against animals could lead to violence against humans.

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