British Columbia

B.C. Liberals support Green Party's proposed responsible pet ownership legislation

Peter Fassbender, Liberal MLA and B.C.'s minister of community, sport and cultural development, has voiced his support for responsible pet ownership legislation tabled by the Green Party.

Bill would make pet owners liable for injuries caused by their animals

The new bill comes just days after a nine-year-old girl was attacked by a pit bull in Surrey, B.C. (Shutterstock)

Peter Fassbender, Liberal MLA and the province's minister of community, sport and cultural development, has voiced his support for responsible pet ownership legislation tabled by the Green Party.

"I saw the news coverage of the young girl that was attacked [by a pit bull in Surrey, B.C.]," Fassbender said. "We've got to stop these kind of things."

"We want to make sure that people take responsibility for their animals and are held accountable if they don't."

The bill, tabled on Wednesday by B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, would make pet owners liable for injuries caused by their animals. A similar law is already on the books in Manitoba.

Under current B.C. law, victims of animal attacks must prove that the animal has a history of violent behaviour, or that the owner was intentionally negligent.

"To prove gross negligence is a very difficult, time-consuming, lengthy process and could take many, many years," Weaver said.

"The introduction of legislation to presume liability of the dog owner [would make it] a lot easier."

With files from Richard Zussman and Farrah Merali.

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