5 things to know about P.E.I.'s new Animal Welfare Act
Government emphasizing new rules via Twitter
Did you know on P.E.I. it's now illegal to travel with dogs in the back of a pickup truck, or tie up a dog for longer than 30 minutes outside overnight? If not, you may soon notice factoids posted online about these new provisions in P.E.I.'s recently-proclaimed Animal Welfare Act.
- Animal Welfare Act passed in P.E.I. legislature
P.E.I.'s Department of Agriculture has just launched a social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook to inform Islanders about how it wants to see companion animals treated, including dogs, cats, chinchillas, and pot-bellied pigs.
"Most people now have some form of social media that they participate in, so if we can blanket as much of that as possible, we should be able to get the largest audience possible," said Dwight Thompson, the program and legislative specialist with P.E.I.'s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
The department is one of the members of the Companion Animal Welfare Initiative (CAWI), which includes the PEI Humane Society, P.E.I.'s Veterinary Medical Association and other animal welfare groups.
Here are five things you may see the Government of P.E.I. tweeting about.
1. No dogs in back of trucks
It's illegal to travel with dogs in the back of a pickup truck.
"That particular activity can be very dangerous for the dog, as well as motorists on Prince Edward Island," said Thompson.
You can put your dog in a crate on the truck, but it must be securely tied down, he added.
So far, there's no move to legislate doggy seatbelts, but they are a "good idea," said Thompson.
2. Food, water & shelter
Horse and dogs may be tethered outside during the day but must have adequate food, water and shelter and be able to move around comfortably.
3. No night tethering
From 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., Islanders are not permitted to tie up their pet outside for longer than half an hour.
"We wanted to align ourselves with New Brunswick, because New Brunswick has that rule for the tethering of dogs outside at night," said Thompson.
4. No cosmetic surgery
Vets can no longer dock the tails or crop the ears of animals, including horses.
"The Veterinary Medical Association basically has prohibited its members from performing cosmetic surgery unless it was medically necessary, say for an injury," noted Thompson. "So we brought our legislation in line with that."
Islanders could legally have the procedures done elsewhere where some veterinarians continue to do cosmetic surgery.
5. Bigger penalties
If someone is convicted of an offense under the new act they could receive up to six months in jail or a fine of at up to $10,000.
Judges have also been given new powers: besides prohibiting pet ownership indefinitely, they can also ask for a psychiatric evaluation and order a guilty party to publicly publish the facts of the case.
No one has yet been charged under the new act, Thompson said. It came into effect April 15, and can be read in its entirety here.
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