TORONTO – Lawyers for Animal Welfare (LAW) is applauding the swift action taken by law enforcement officials after a man allegedly tried to kill baby raccoons with a shovel in his backyard. According to news reports, a neighbour contacted the police after witnessing Dong Nguyen beating the raccoons, while the mother raccoon reportedly tried to protect the kits by carrying them away one by one.
Under Section 445 of the Criminal Code of Canada, it is illegal to cause unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal. It is also contrary to Ontario’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act to kill raccoons without a license, an offence that attracts a penalty of up to $25,000 and/or up to one year in prison
Mr. Nguyen is scheduled to appear in court in July. The maximum penalty for an animal cruelty conviction is five years in prison, but the minimum penalty is a mere fine.
Although Canada’s anti-cruelty laws are less robust than those in other countries, Crown attorneys do have the legal tools necessary to prosecute cases like Mr. Nguyen’s. LAW urges Crown prosecutors to continue to pursue the case vigorously, and to seek a substantial penalty in the case of a conviction.
To deter future instance of animal cruelty, it is critical that the full force of the law be brought to bear on those who abuse. Offenders who are violent toward animals often go on to commit offences of violence against humans, and catching these violent individuals early on is essential to both protecting animals and ensuring public safety.
The CBC news article on the story can be read HERE.
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