What Is Cruelty to Animals?
Animal Cruelty generally falls into one of two categories: neglect or intentional cruelty. Neglect is the failure to provide adequate water, food, shelter, or necessary care. Examples of neglect include: starvation; dehydration; inadequate shelter; parasite infestations; failure to seek veterinary care when an animal is in need of medical attention; allowing a collar to grow into an animal’s skin; confined without adequate light, ventilation, space or in unsanitary conditions; and failure to trim hoofs or nails resulting in excessive growth (i.e. hoofs curling upwards). In some cases neglect is a result of the owner’s ignorance, and can be rectified by law enforcement authorities, like the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Ontario SPCA), educating the owner and issuing orders to improve the animals’ living conditions.
What Is Distress?
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (OSPCA Act) R.S.O. 1990, Chapter 0.36 gives a definition: ‘Distress’ means the state of being in need of proper care, water, food or shelter or being injured, sick or in pain or suffering or being abused or subject to undue or unnecessary hardship, privation or neglect. [Click here to visit the Ontario SPCA website]
What is a Cruelty Inspector or Agent?
Animal cruelty investigations by the Ontario SPCA are governed by provincial legislation called the OSPCA Act. Inspectors and Agents appointed under the Act have the authority of police officers when enforcing laws pertaining to the welfare of, or the prevention of cruelty to animals.
Inspectors and Agents may enter private property to relieve animals from their distress. As well, they are authorized to serve the animals’ owner/custodian with OSPCA Act orders which outline remedial action to relieve the distress.
Inspectors and Agents also have the authority to remove animals from the owner/custodian in some cases, and lay charges under the Criminal Code of Canada and the OSPCA Act.
How Can I Help?
The public plays a crucial role in reporting cases of suspected cruelty. Report animal abuse by calling the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society at (519) 745-5615 or your local Ontario SPCA branch, affiliated Humane Society, or police. Ignoring the problem or not getting involved is not a solution.
Click here for contact information for the Ontario SPCA branches and affiliates.
The toll free phone number for the Ontario SPCA, Newmarket ON is 1-888-668-7722.