The Ontario Government has passed legislation that promises to better protect animals from abuse and neglect through stiffer fines that will be enforced by a specialized team of provincial inspectors. The new law, named the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act came into force on January 1, 2020.
The new act replaces the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. In March, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which has enforced animal cruelty laws for 100 years, informed the province it would no longer do so.
Under the Provincial Animal Welfare Services or PAWS Act, first-time offenders could be fined up to $130,000 and sentenced to two years in jail. Repeat offenders could face a fine of up to $260,000, and corporations $1 million.
The Oakville & Milton Humane Society (OMHS) has been providing enforcement under the existing Act for many years with certified inspectors who carry out cruelty to animals investigations. OMHS is working closely with the Ontario Government to transition enforcement services under the new model to the Government. In the meantime, OMHS continues its important role in providing bylaw enforcement and animal control in Oakville, and championing the protection of animals.
Anyone with concerns about animal abuse can call the Ontario Animal Protection Call Centre at 1-833-9-ANIMAL (264625).