WHAT IS ONTARIO SPCA ENFORCEMENT SUPPORT SERVICES?
In early 2019, the Superior Court of Ontario released a decision compelling the Government of Ontario to change the way their provincial animal welfare legislation is enforced. The Court has deemed their model of service delivery to be unconstitutional and the Government of Ontario may no longer permit their provincial animal welfare legislation to be enforced by a private charity. The Ontario SPCA respects the decision of the Court and is working to assist the Government of Ontario as they transition to a new service delivery model. The Ontario SPCA remains committed to our mission of animal protection and animal advocacy and have recently announced the development of Ontario SPCA Enforcement Support Services. In short, we’ll continue to do all of the animal protection and animal advocacy work we have done for almost 150 years.
The key change is that all charges under the law and all court cases resulting from those charges will be handled by provincial law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement is a responsibility of government.
Animal protection and animal advocacy remain the mission of the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society.
HOW WILL ONTARIO SPCA ENFORCEMENT SUPPORT SERVICES WORK?
Across Ontario, and wherever law enforcement agencies have the lead role in responding to cases of animal cruelty, Ontario SPCA Enforcement Support Services provides a variety of critical, animal-related services to support police and to help vulnerable animals in times of crisis.
Ontario SPCA Enforcement Support Services include:
• Collecting and processing forensic evidence to help build cases against animal abusers;
• On-site support providing animal care, including veterinary medicine;
• Animal behaviour assessments and rehabilitation;
• Animal transportation;
• Animal sheltering and placement of rescued animals in homes or other suitable environments;
• Animal care and wellness services;
• Legal support and animal law briefings.
To better understand how the partnership between law enforcement agencies and Ontario SPCA Enforcement Support Services will work, it’s helpful to have an overview of our potential role in the process of an animal cruelty case.
Ontario SPCA Enforcement Support Services will assist law enforcement agencies with collecting evidence to build cases against animal abusers. Once a case of animal cruelty is being investigated, Ontario SPCA Enforcement Support Services will respond with appropriate animal-related resources when we are contacted by law enforcement agencies. We can support the process at an animal crime scene by providing crisis intervention for animals including animal handling, animal care and medical treatment. We can also transport animals to a safe environment and provide sheltering. Once the needs of animals have been met, we can further assist law enforcement agencies by locating, recording and preserving physical evidence in animal-related investigations. In addition, we will be available to assist with preparing court documents, testifying and providing background and expertise on animal law. As cases conclude, we will ensure animals are placed in homes or other suitable environments.
Animals deserve optimum care and Ontario SPCA Enforcement Support Services is being designed to provide enhanced protection of animals, in partnership with law enforcement agencies. Through the expertise of agencies enforcing the law and Ontario SPCA Enforcement Support Services providing and advocating for animals, this partnership will maximize resources for the best possible protection of animals.