Effective February 1, 2019, the City of Edmonton will enforce the Provincial Animal Protection Act (APA) in Edmonton until a long-term solution is determined. The Animal Protection Act enables the City of Edmonton’s Animal Care & Control Peace Officers to respond to animals in distress or animals that have been abandoned. The Act was previously enforced by the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS).
Animal Care & Control Peace Officers are provincially appointed through the Peace Officer Act. They also have the authority to enforce municipal bylaws such as the Animal Licensing and Control Bylaw 13145. Municipal bylaws deal with concerns such as pet licensing, dog attacks on people and other pets, excessive barking, too many pets, etc.
Animal Protection Definitions
Animal Care Duties
Under the APA, a person who owns or is in charge of an animal
- Must ensure that the animal has adequate food and water,
- Must provide the animal with adequate care when the animal is wounded or ill,
- Must provide the animal with reasonable protection from injurious heat or cold, and
- Must provide the animal with adequate shelter, ventilation and space.
Definition of Distress
Under the APA, no person shall cause an animal to be in distress. An animal is in distress if it is:
- Deprived of adequate shelter, ventilation, space, food, water or veterinary care or reasonable protection from injurious heat or cold,
- Injured, sick, in pain or suffering, or
- Abused or subjected to undue hardship, privation or neglect
Under the APA, an “abandoned animal” includes an animal that
- Is left for more than 24 hours without adequate food or water or shelter,
- Is left for 5 days or more after the expected retrieval time from a registered veterinarian or from a person who for money consideration or its equivalent stables, boards or cares for the animal, or
- Is found on premises with respect to which the tenancy agreement has been terminated
Various sections of the Criminal Code of Canada deal with cruelty to animals.
445.1 (1) Everyone commits an offence who
- wilfully causes or, being the owner, wilfully permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or a bird;
- in any manner encourages, aids or assists at the fighting or baiting of animals or birds;
- 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;
- 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
- 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).
446 (1) Everyone commits an offence who
- by wilful neglect causes damage or injury to animals or birds while they are being driven or conveyed; or
- 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.
The penalties for non-compliance with the Animal Protection Act may include monetary penalties up to a maximum of $20,000, prohibition of animal ownership for a period determined by the courts and any other terms and conditions a court deems appropriate.