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OSPCA says it will no longer enforce animal cruelty laws

Monday, March 4th 2019, 4:46 pm - The OSPCA has been enforcing Ontario's animal cruelty laws for 100 years.

Ontario's animal welfare agency, the OSPCA, has informed provincial government officials it will stop investigating and enforcing animal cruelty laws once its current contract expires at the end of March.

The OSPCA has enforced animal cruelty laws in Ontario for 100 years.

CEO Kate MacDonald told The Canadian Press (CP) the current model "is no longer working".

MacDonald says the group will transition into a support role in animal cruelty cases while providing shelter, forensic evidence and veterinary services.

Current enforcement officers will be moved into support roles.

In a Monday letter to Community Safety Minister Sylvia Jones that was obtained by CP, the OSPCA said it will offer a three-month transition period that will expire on June 28.

Currently, the OSPCA has police powers that enable it to enforce provincial laws as well as the criminal code.

MacDonald told CP the OSPCA would like to operate in a similar fashion to the SPCA in New York, where the NYPD employs an animal cruelty squad and works with the U.S. SPCA.

"We expect to continue to be involved as a support to law enforcement agencies," MacDonald told the news agency.

"They're going to need help and we're the logical choice."

The Ontario government gives the OSPCA $5.75 million per year, but the organization said the funds are not sufficient to carry out enforcements.

HOW THE WEATHER RELATES TO ANIMAL CRUELTY

Canada's seasonal temperature swings can leave pets vulnerable to the elements if they aren't properly cared for.

For example, it can take as little as six minutes for a dog to die in a hot car in the summer heat.

"Between 2009 and 2018, there were 64,443 reported incidents of animal and heat exposure in England and Wales," writes Jan Hoole, a lecturer of biology at the Univeristy of Kent.

"Around 90% of calls related to dogs in vehicles."

Cold weather can be just as hazardous, putting anmials at risk of frostbite or hypothermia.

Leaving animals vulnerable to the elements can sometimes result in fines or imprisonment in Ontario.

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