New Canadian Law Makes It A Criminal Offence To Harm Service Dogs
At long last, and following on the heels of similar legislation already introduced in the U.S., Canada has passed their Justice for Animals in Service act.
Named Quanto’s Law (officially called Bill C-35) for a beautiful, Edmonton-based police dog who was killed in October, 2013 by a knife-wielding thug, the law speaks to the importance of protecting all who serve and protect. Prior to this new direction, the best you could expect to charge a suspect with was animal cruelty.
The new law – which seems like a no-brainer to me – has received Royal Assent, making it an offence to kill or injure a law enforcement, military or service animal such as a seeing-eye dog and includes both dogs and horses. Such a crime is punishable by up to 5 years in prison on indictment and 18 months and/or a fine of up to $10,000 on summary conviction.
Hey, aren’t these the same penalties that already apply to animal cruelty charges? Apparently they are, but what this new law does is position the charge within the Criminal Code under the police and peacekeeping officers section. This will ensure the letter of the law is applied in each and every case of a service animal that is maliciously attacked. Okay, so they’ve given the act some much-needed bite.
What I find interesting is that this isn’t the first time such a bill has been pitched to the government. Following the 2006 killing of a Toronto police horse that was deliberately struck by a truck driver, an effort to introduce similar legislation failed to gain traction.
In light of Quanto’s death, it was again brought forward by Ontario Conservative MP Costas Menegakis, and now everyone is listening – as well they should.
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