In response to a complaint, the SPCA discovered a dog in a dumpster, wrapped in a plastic bag. A veterinary examination established that the dog was suffering from acute medical conditions from being left in the dumpster as well as from prolonged neglect. The dog’s owner was found and subsequently charged under Section 8.1 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment Act, 1994. The owner, citing section 15 of the Act, wanted the dog, Jasper, returned to his care before trial. In refusing the owner’s request, the Court noted the use of the word “custody” in section 15 rather than “possession” to describe the owner’s rights with respect to the animal.
The Court found that the use of the term “custody” directed it to consider the matter more in the context of child custody, where the applicable test is not a balance of convenience, but a “best interests” test. In applying the “best interest” test, the Court found that it was in Jasper’s best interests to remain with the SPCA.
Source: Case Law
Jurisdiction: British Columbia