Earlier this year, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) informed the government it would no longer be carrying out animal welfare law enforcement.
The announcement has spurred the need for an overhaul of Ontario’s Ontario Animal Protection Act, but also left a gap between the current set up and the final animal protection model — a process that will take more than the few months’ notice given by the OSPCA.
In answer, the Ontario government has announced an interim animal protection model, effective immediately. This temporary model includes:
- A new toll-free number available 24/7 to report animal welfare concerns: 1-833-9ANIMAL (1-833-926-4625);
- An interim chief inspector, appointed by the Solicitor General, to provide leadership on animal protection in the province;
- New temporary animal welfare inspectors, many from local humane societies and Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCAs), appointed by the chief inspector; and,
- Appointed by the chief inspector, a team of inspectors will be responsible for animal protection in the province and will have subject matter expertise in livestock and agriculture, horses, and zoos and aquariums.
Inspectors employed by willing local humane societies and/or SPCAs will also be appointed by the province to continue delivering enforcement services. The public can report animal welfare concerns by calling 1-833-9ANIMAL, and calls will be triaged and dispatched for response by the most appropriate local entity, the government says.
Developing a new model for animal protection cannot be rushed, the province says, and is too important not to get right. This is a temporary solution to fill in the gaps while Ontario transitions to a new more “robust, transparent, and accountable” model.