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Criminal Code of Canada

Region: Ontario Answer # 4000

The Criminal Code is the main federal law in Canada that deals with the protection of animals from cruelty, abuse, and neglect. The Code deals with offences relating to animals in Part XI “Wilful and Forbidden Acts in Respect of Certain Property”, sections 445-447.

The offences and punishments are as follows:

Injuring or endangering other animals

s.445 (1) Every one commits an offence who, wilfully and without lawful excuse,

(a) kills, maims, wounds, poisons or injures dogs, birds or animals that are kept for a lawful purpose; or

(b) places poison in such a position that it may easily be consumed by dogs, birds or animals that are kept for a lawful purpose.

Punishment

(2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day, or to both.

Killing or injuring certain animals

445.01 (1) Every one commits an offence who, wilfully and without lawful excuse, kills, maims, wounds, poisons or injures a law enforcement animal while it is aiding a law enforcement officer in carrying out that officer’s duties, a military animal while it is aiding a member of the Canadian Forces in carrying out that member’s duties or a service animal.

Punishment

(2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years and, if a law enforcement animal is killed in the commission of the offence, to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day, or to both.

Definitions

As per the Criminal Code, the following definitions apply:

Law enforcement animal – means a dog or horse that is trained to aid a law enforcement officer in carrying out that officer’s duties.

Law enforcement officer – means a police officer, a police constable or any person referred to in paragraph (b), (c.1), (d), (d.1), (e) or (g) of the definition peace officer in section 2 of the Code. (refer to the Criminal Code for more info on these paragraphs)

Military animal -means an animal that is trained to aid a member of the Canadian Forces in carrying out that member’s duties.

Service animal – means an animal that is required by a person with a disability for assistance and is certified, in writing, as having been trained by a professional service animal institution to assist a person with a disability.

Causing unnecessary suffering

445.1 (1) Every one commits an offence who

(a) wilfully causes or, being the owner, wilfully permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or a bird;

(b) in any manner encourages, aids, promotes, arranges, assists at, receives money for or takes part in

(i) the fighting or baiting of animals or birds, or

(ii) the training, transporting or breeding of animals or birds for the purposes of subparagraph (i);

(c) wilfully, without reasonable excuse, administers a poisonous or an injurious drug or substance to a domestic animal or bird or an animal or a bird wild by nature that is kept in captivity or, being the owner of such an animal or a bird, wilfully permits a poisonous or an injurious drug or substance to be administered to it;

(d) promotes, arranges, conducts, assists in, receives money for or takes part in any meeting, competition, exhibition, pastime, practice, display or event at or in the course of which captive birds are liberated by hand, trap, contrivance or any other means for the purpose of being shot when they are liberated; or

(e) being the owner, occupier or person in charge of any premises, permits the premises or any part thereof to be used for a purpose mentioned in paragraph (d).

Punishment

(2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day, or to both.

Causing damage or injury

446 (1) Every one commits an offence who

(a) by wilful neglect causes damage or injury to animals or birds while they are being driven or conveyed; or

(b) being the owner or the person having the custody or control of a domestic animal or a bird or an animal or a bird wild by nature that is in captivity, abandons it in distress or wilfully neglects or fails to provide suitable and adequate food, water, shelter and care for it.

Punishment

(2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.


Arena for animal fighting

447 (1) Everyone commits an offence who builds, makes, maintains or keeps an arena for animal fighting on premises that he or she owns or occupies, or allows such an arena to be built, made, maintained or kept on such premises.

Punishment

(2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day, or to both.

Offences against cetaceans (e.g. whales, dolphins, porpoise)

Offences against cetaceans (e.g. whales, dolphins, porpoise) are found in section 445.2(1). the Criminal Code. This is a complex section, with many exceptions listed. View the Code for full details.

For more detailed information on offences against animals in Canada, view the Criminal Code or other sections of Animals and the Law.


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