Feb. 11, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The following statement was released today by Attorney General T.J. Burke:
"I share the concerns raised by New Brunswickers following a recent court decision involving offences under the federal Criminal Code and the provincial Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. As attorney general of New Brunswick, I recommend that the federal government re-examine Section 446 (1) of the Criminal Code, which specifically addresses cruelty to animals.
This section addresses several unacceptable and punishable actions toward animals or birds. However, it does not address cruel and unusual injury causing death of an animal or bird. It seems that the range of situations covered in this section of the Criminal Code is incomplete, and warrants an examination.
The outcome of this recent case leads to the conclusion that owners of animals may choose to destroy them for any reason, as long as they do not cause the animal unnecessary pain in doing so. Many New Brunswickers find this conclusion unacceptable, particularly those who keep animals as companions.
Our government continues to depend on the expertise and advice of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) with respect to the neglect and protection of animals. Recent changes to the act make it an offence to hinder animal protection officers in carrying out their duties, and enabling entry into motor vehicles to rescue animals in distress. The Department of Local Government is currently working with the New Brunswick SPCA to establish a mechanism to license pet establishments such as pet stores, kennels and animal shelters.
I encourage the federal minister of justice to address this issue and re-examine this particular section of Canada's Criminal Code."
MEDIA CONTACT: Elaine Bell, communications, Office of the Attorney General, 506-453-6543.