Ontario Animal Cruelty

Animal Justice Canada is working to educate the public and stakeholders on Ontario’s primary piece of animal welfare legislation – the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

In December of 2013 Animal Justice Canada released ‘OSPCA Act: A Better Way Forward’. The media release can be read HERE and a blog post summarizing the report can be read HERE.

The report provides a thorough overview of Ontario’s animal protection legislation, previous studies and legislative reform initiatives. It also provides recommendations for legislative improvement.

The report can be read online at: http://animaljustice.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Animal-Justice-OSPCA-Act-A-Better-Way-Forward-131216.pdf.

Concerns about the OSPCA Act and its enforcement came to the forefront of public attention after a May 2010 announcement by the OSPCA Newmarket Shelter that it would euthanize over 350 animals due to an alleged outbreak of treatable ringworm. The mass kill was stopped due to public pressure but only after over 100 animals had already been put down. This event resulted in calls to separate the enforcement and sheltering functions of the OSPCA and to implement OSPCA accountability to government. Read more about this issue and Animal Justice’s involvement HERE.

Interest in the legislation was compounded when in August of 2012 the Toronto Star broke a story about instances of extreme animal cruelty at Marineland Canada, an animal exhibition park in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Despite whistle blowers coming forward with evidence that shocked many, the OSPCA did not find Marineland to be in breach of the OSPCA Act due to exemptions for industry self-regulation and a lack of regulatory standards for the unique needs of marine mammals.

The treatment and care of animals has not been the only thing keeping the Marineland story in the media. Following public statements about animal cruelty by former staff members, Marineland has taken various legal actions against the whistle blowers.

In December 2012 Marineland threatened to file a lawsuit against former trainer, Christine Santos, for information she gave to the media about the alleged condition of Marineland’s killer whale. Media coverage on this issue can be read HERE.

In February 2013 Marineland filed a lawsuit against former marine mammal trainer, Phillip Demers for trespassing and allegedly harassing Marineland employees. Media coverage on this issue can be read HERE.

In March 2013 Animal Justice called upon Chief Firearms Officer Superintendent Chris Wyatt to investigate allegations of dangerous criminal conduct by Marineland’s owner, John Holer, and if substantiated, remove his firearms license. A media release on this issue can be read HERE. A copy of Animal Justice’s letter to the Chief Firearms Officer can be read HERE. A copy of the letter received from the Chief Firearms Office in response can be read HERE.


Photo cred: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

Photo cred: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals