Ottawa

3 charged under new law after Kingston police horse slapped

An Algonquin College student from Ottawa is one of three people charged with slapping a Kingston police horse during Queen's University homecoming events on Saturday, and now faces stiff penalties under a new law aimed at protecting law enforcement animals.

Trio charged under new law aimed at protecting law enforcement animals

Kingston police tweeted that the horse, named Murney, was new to the force. (Kingston Police Service)

An Algonquin College student from Ottawa is one of three people charged with slapping a Kingston police horse in separate incidents during Queen's University homecoming events on Saturday, and now faces stiff penalties under a new law aimed at protecting law enforcement animals.

Kingston police say all three incidents happened within an hour of each other between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. ET.

The three — a female Queen's student, the male Algonquin student and another man from the Cobourg, Ont., area — are each facing a charge of injuring a law enforcement animal.

The charge falls under an amendment to the Criminal Code known as "Quanto's Law," named after an Edmonton police dog stabbed to death by a suspect in 2013.

The law, which was enacted in July 2015, is aimed at better protecting police and military service animals by holding accountable those who kill or injure them and replaces punishments available under broader animal cruelty laws.

Anyone convicted of killing a police animal now faces up to five years in prison, while injuring animals can net up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

A brief video making the rounds on social media shows a young woman approaching a police horse from the side and touching or slapping the animal's hip. The horse then kicks the woman, who falls to the ground before running back across the street holding a hand to her face.

The video was recorded at the intersection of Division and Johnson streets in Kingston, Ont., where police say two of the three incidents occurred between 2:30 and 3 p.m. Saturday.

Watch the video here.

Police say they made a total of 19 arrests and issued 166 tickets or charges during homecoming events in Kingston on Friday and Saturday.

They say the majority of the offences were Liquor Licence Act violations, followed by bylaw violations relating to noise, and a high percentage of the arrests were for public intoxication.

With files from The Canadian Press