Canadian Criminal Law/Offences/Animal Cruelty

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Overview[edit]

There are three types of offences against animals generally. There is offences for killing and harming animals (445), torturing animals (445.1), and neglecting animals (446).

Legislation[edit]

Injuring or endangering other animals
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 not cattle and 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 not cattle and 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 not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of not more than eighteen months or to both.

R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 445; 2008, c. 12, s. 1.

Cruelty to Animals
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 or assists at the fighting or baiting of animals or birds;
(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 not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of not more than eighteen months or to both.

Failure to exercise reasonable care as evidence
(3) For the purposes of proceedings under paragraph (1)(a), evidence that a person failed to exercise reasonable care or supervision of an animal or a bird thereby causing it pain, suffering or injury is, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, proof that the pain, suffering or injury was caused or was permitted to be caused wilfully, as the case may be.
Presence at baiting as evidence
(4) For the purpose of proceedings under paragraph (1)(b), evidence that an accused was present at the fighting or baiting of animals or birds is, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, proof that he or she encouraged, aided or assisted at the fighting or baiting.
2008, c. 12, s. 1.


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 and liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months or to both.

Failure to exercise reasonable care as evidence
(3) For the purposes of proceedings under paragraph (1)(a), evidence that a person failed to exercise reasonable care or supervision of an animal or a bird thereby causing it damage or injury is, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, proof that the damage or injury was caused by wilful neglect.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 446; 2008, c. 12, s. 1.


CCC

Proof of the Offences[edit]

In addition to the essential elements of time, location, and identity, the Crown should also prove the following for each offence:

Killing and harming animals (445)[edit]

Torturing animals (445.1)[edit]

Neglecting animals (446)[edit]

Interpretation[edit]

It has been recognized that intentional cruelty to animals is an indicator of a "potential for increasing violence and dangerousness" against people.[1]

Parliament amended s. 445(1) with An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals), SC 2008 c 12 increasing the maximum penalties. This has been interpreted as signaling that the previous penalties were "wholly inadequate" and that penalties in general should be increased."[2]

  1. Federal Dept. of Justice, Consultation PAper, Crimes Against Animals, 1998
    R v Clarke, [2001] NJ No 191 (NLPC)
    R v White, 2012 CanLII 43292 (NLPC)
    R v Brown [2004] AJ No 201 (ABPC) at para. 31
  2. R v Connors, [2011] BCJ 168 (BCPC)

Related Offences[edit]

Injuring or endangering cattle (444)

  • Keeping cockpit (447)

See Also[edit]