Teddy the dog died shortly after being seized from a Duncan property in February. Two people face charges of animal cruelty in the case. (File photo)

Revamped animal cruelty laws insufficient, say Island advocates

Liberals tabled Bill C-84 in October

Ottawa’s proposed new legislation that would strengthen laws around animal cruelty are disappointing to many animal advocates, including those involved with the case of Duncan’s Teddy the dog.

Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said the intention is for Bill C-84, tabled in October, to address gaps in the criminal law regarding bestiality and strengthen laws around animal fighting.

The bill is a response, in part, to a 2016 Supreme Court of Canada decision that ruled a convicted sexual offender was not guilty of bestiality following charges stemming from sexual activity involving one of his stepdaughters and the family dog.

“Bill C-84 represents a common ground approach to ensuring the protection of children and animals from cruelty and abuse,” said Wilson-Raybould in a press release.

But the limited scope of the legislation is a concern for the MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, Alistair MacGregor, who has advocated for tougher laws to deal with animal abuse.

McGregor said that while Bill C-84 includes important changes cracking down on bestiality and animal fighting for sport, it failed to include basic standards of care and housing, as well as restrictions on tethering for domestic animals.

“In February, Teddy the dog died in Duncan after being kept in horrendous conditions in one of the BCSPCA’s most profoundly shocking and disturbing animal abuse cases,” he said.

“At that time, I asked the minister to take immediate action to put greater protections in place for our domestic pets, but what we got was just a drop in the bucket after a long wait. We owe it to our animal friends to strengthen our laws, so that cases like this never happen again.”

RELATED STORY: OFFICIAL CALLS DUNCAN ANIMAL CRUELTY CASE ONE OF WORST SHE’S EVER SEEN

The BCSPCA seized the emaciated and chained Teddy, a mixed-species dog, in critical distress on a property in Duncan on Feb. 16, 2018.

The dog was found on a tether that was only a few inches long, standing in a large pile of mud and feces.

Not only was Teddy severely emaciated, but his collar was deeply embedded into his neck, causing massive infection so severe that the dog’s head was swollen to two to three times its normal size.

Despite extensive emergency treatment and around-the-clock care, the dog succumbed to his critical condition two days later.

The case sparked a wave of protests by animal rights groups, and numerous rallies calling for changes to animal rights laws have been held in the Cowichan Valley since the death of Teddy.

RELATED STORY: ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUP PLANS RALLY IN DUNCAN

Anderson Joe and Melissa Tooshley are facing charges of animal cruelty in the case, and a pretrial conference is scheduled at the Duncan Courthouse on Nov. 15.

MacGregor said the New Democrats have been pushing for common-sense measures, including the creation of a new gross negligence offence for failing to provide adequate care, and allowing courts to impose a lifelong ban on animal ownership for repeat offenders.

“Animal cruelty goes far beyond bestiality and animal fighting, and we need to work together to truly overhaul protections for animals,” said MacGregor.

“It’s time for the federal government to step up and make sure no pets go through what Teddy did.”

Camille Labchuk, a lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice, also said the new law took too long to bring in, and it is too narrow in scope.

“Disappointingly, the new legislation only contains very minor measures related to bestiality and animal fighting,” she said.

“These provisions are welcome, but they should have been introduced as part of a larger package of desperately needed animal cruelty reforms.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Many teens unaware if they’re vaping nicotine or not

Health Canada survey finds many youth are unaware of the risks of using nicotine products

UVic partners with harm reduction groups to run a drug checking pilot project

The three-year pilot will allow people to test their drugs for fatal ingredients like fentanyl

Public asked to give feedback on proposed protection measures for southern resident orcas

Measures focus on key threats related to contaminants, lack of prey, noise or physical disturbance

Oak Bay double murder trial enters second week

Defence continues to question police handling of crime scene

Volunteers needed for annual Mother’s Day walk

Breast Cancer Society of Canada hosts annual Mother’s Day event

WATCH: Police call Happy Valley shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident

One person in custody, another fled following crash on Kelly Road

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Duncan-Nanaimo’s Funkanometry bow out of ‘World of Dance’ with ‘After Hours’ routine

Judges praised them as entertainers, and urged them to work a bit more on their dancing

Most Read