CVMA-ACMV

Provincial Legislation

Veterinarians should be familiar with the legislation of the province in which they practice. Provincial animal protection legislation defines what is considered animal cruelty or neglect, frequently using the term ‘distress’. Veterinarians involved in reporting and documenting animal abuse cases should understand the legislation and how the courts will interpret the findings and evidence in an abuse case. Veterinarians’ notes, reports, or medical records merely detailing the physical condition of the animal may be insufficient for the courts to prosecute unless the veterinarian links these findings to the definition in the legislation. For example, it may be insufficient to state that an animal had a severely matted coat, was infested with ectoparasites, and had an untreated severe skin infection. These finding must be linked to pain or suffering, and identified by the veterinarian as causing distress.

British Columbia

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 372

s. 1(2) For the purposes of this Act, an animal is in Distress if it is

  1. deprived of adequate food, water or shelter,
  2. injured, sick, in pain or suffering, or
  3. abused or neglected.

Courts have considered the issue of whether “emotional distress” would be caught by this definition. The BC SPCA has been successful in obtaining warrants based solely on the fact that in the opinion of a veterinarian, the animal was experiencing emotional distress or suffering.


Alberta

Animal Protection Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. A-41

1. For the purposes of this Act, an animal is in distress if it is

  1. deprived of adequate food, water, care or shelter,
  2. injured, sick, in pain or suffering, or
  3. abused or subjected to undue hardship, privation or neglect.

Saskatchewan

The Animal Protection Act, R.S.S. 1999, c. A-21.1

2(3) An animal is not considered to be in distress if it is handled

  1. in a manner that is consistent with a standard or code of conduct, criteria, practice or procedure that is prescribed as acceptable; or
  2. in accordance with generally accepted practices of animal management.

Manitoba

The Animal Care Act, C.C.S.M. 1996, c. 84

6(1) Subject to subsection (2), for the purposes of this Act, an animal is in distress if it is

  1. subjected to conditions that, unless immediately alleviated, will cause the animal death or serious harm;
  2. subjected to conditions that cause the animal to suffer acute pain;
  3. not provided food and water sufficient to maintain the animal in a state of good health;
  4. not provided appropriate medical attention when the animal is wounded or ill;
  5. unduly exposed to cold or heat; or
  6. subjected to conditions that will, over time, significantly impair the animal’s health or well-being, including
    1. confinement in an area of insufficient space
    2. confinement in unsanitary conditions
    3. confinement without adequate ventilation,
    4. not being allowed an opportunity for adequate exercise, and
    5. conditions that cause the animal extreme anxiety or distress.

Ontario

Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.36

1. "distress" means the state of being in need of proper care, water, food or shelter or being injured, sick or in pain or suffering or being abused or subject to undue or unnecessary hardship, privation or neglect;

Standards of care for keeping cats or dogs for breeding or sale

15.1 (1) Every person who is engaged, employed or otherwise involved in the breeding of cats or dogs for sale and who owns or has custody or care of a cat or dog that is being kept for breeding purposes or for sale shall comply with the following standards with respect to every such cat or dog in the person's ownership, custody or care:

  1. Provide the animal with adequate food and water.
  2. Provide the animal with adequate medical attention when the animal is sick or injured or in pain or suffering.
  3. Provide the animal with adequate protection from the elements.
  4. Transport the animal in such a way as to ensure its physical safety.
  5. Not confine the animal to an enclosure,
    1. with inadequate space,
    2. with unsanitary conditions,
    3. with inadequate ventilation,
  6. without providing the animal with an opportunity for exercise,
  7. together with one or more other animals that may pose a danger to the animal, or
  8. that is in a state of disrepair or that is dangerous to the animal's health or well-being. 2002, c. 27, s. 2.

Quebec

Animal Health Protection Act

55.9.2.  The owner or custodian of an animal shall ensure that the safety and welfare of the animal is not jeopardized. The safety and welfare of an animal is jeopardized where

  1. the animal does not have access to drinking water or food in quantities and of a quality in keeping with the biological requirements of its species;
  2. the animal is not kept in suitable, salubrious living conditions or is not properly transported in an appropriate vehicle;
  3. the animal is wounded or sick and does not receive the health care required by its state;
  4. the animal is subject to abuse or ill-treatment that may affect its health;
  5. subject to paragraphs 1 to 4, the animal is kept or transported in contravention of the regulatory standards established pursuant to section 55.9.14.1. 1993, c. 18, s. 6; 2000, c. 40, s. 29.
    55.9.3.  Every owner or custodian of animals kept for the purpose of sale or breeding shall, in addition to complying with the provisions of section 55.9.2, ensure that the premises in which the animals are kept are clean.
    Installations.
    He shall also ensure that the installations are not organized or used in any way that may affect the safety and welfare of the animals.
    1993, c. 18, s. 6

New Brunswick

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act

13. An agent of the society, or of any branch thereof, may lawfully examine, seize and destroy or cause to be destroyed, an animal found at large, abandoned or not properly cared for if, in the judgment of a veterinary surgeon called by such agent to view the same, the animal is injured, disabled, diseased past recovery, or unfit for any useful purpose.


Nova Scotia

Animal Cruelty Prevention Act, 1996, c. 22, s. 1 (NS)

2. (2) An animal is in distress, for the purpose of this Act, where the animal is

  1. in need of adequate care, food, water or shelter; or
  2. injured, sick, in pain, or suffering undue hardship, privation or neglect. 1996, c. 22, s. 2.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Animal Protection Act, R.S.N.L. 1990, c. A-10

2. (b) "distress" means the state of being in need of proper care, food or shelter, or of being injured, sick or in pain or of suffering undue or unnecessary hardship, privation or neglect;


Prince Edward Island

Part iv: Animal Protection Section of Animal Health and Protection Act and Companion Animal Protection Act . c. 2001

8.0.

  1. For the purposes of this Part an animal is deemed to be in a state of distress if it
    1. is in need of food, water, care or treatment;
    2. is sick, in pain or suffering or has been injured; or
    3. is abused or subjected to cruelty or neglect.
  2. For the purposes of this Part an animal is deemed not to be in a state of distress if any deprivation, pain, suffering, injury, abuse, neglect or other distress the animal experiences result from an activity that
    1. is carried on in a manner consistent with generally accepted practices of animal management, husbandry or slaughter; or
    2. is exempted by the regulations from the application of this Part. 1988,c.11,s.8; 2004,c.1,s.6.

8.1

  1. No person shall cause an animal unnecessary pain, suffering or injury.
  2. No owner of an animal shall cause or permit the animal to be, or continue to be, in distress.
  3. For the purposes of subsection (2), the owner of an animal does not permit the animal to be in distress where the owner, on becoming aware of the distress, immediately takes reasonable steps to relieve the distress of the animal. 2004,c.1,s.7.

Protection of Companion Animals(2)

… a companion animal is in distress if it

  1. is in need of food, water, care, shelter or treatment;
  2. is sick, in pain or suffering or has been injured; or
  3. is abused or subjected to cruelty or neglect.

Restrictions Respecting Injury and Distress

  1. No person shall willfully cause a companion animal unnecessary pain, suffering or injury.
  2. No owner of a companion animal shall cause or permit the companion animal to be, or to continue to be, in distress.
  3. Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply where the pain, suffering, injury or distress are the result of any treatment, process or condition that occurs in the course of an accepted activity. 2001,c.4,s.3.

North West Territories and Nunavut