Sudbury

Temporary animal anti-cruelty enforcement program starts in Ontario

The province has taken over enforcement and investigation of animal cruelty by appointing new inspectors across the province but what that’s going to look like in northern Ontario still remains to be seen.

OSPCA no longer in charge of animal cruelty investigations

Police say they will continue to play a role in animal cruelty enforcement, as the province works to create new legislation. (Submitted by Heather Woodin)

The province has taken over enforcement and investigation of animal cruelty by appointing new inspectors across the province but what that's going to look like in northern Ontario still remains to be seen.

In March, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals announced it will no longer investigate and enforce animal cruelty laws when its contract expired in June. 

While the province works to create new legislation, an OPP inspector has been appointed to oversee a temporary anti-cruelty enforcement regime. A 24-hour animal-cruelty hotline has also been launched.

The office of the Solicitor General says the province is committed to putting together a model that works in Greater Sudbury.

Sudbury police Inspector John Valtonen says police have always been involved in animal cruelty enforcement and will continue to be.

"Police will always be a part of this solution and dealing with any kind of criminality when it comes to cruelty to animals," he said.

"It really is about a collaborative effort between this new system and also with bylaw when they deal with licensing and domesticated animals and then us dealing with criminality."

Inspector John Valtonen is with Greater Sudbury Police Services. (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

Valtonen says once the new system is in place at the end of the year, it will help with investigations and enforcement.

"Be able to take the information and then be able to figure out what is the appropriate entity," he explained.

"Is it a bylaw issue? Is it a criminal police issue? Or is it a longer term, humane, you know not caring for perhaps farm animals or something longer term where you will need some expertise to be able to make those assessments, like a veterinarian."

Valtonen says if someone sees an animal emergency, such as an animal in a hot vehicle, they should always call 911.

With files from Jamie-Lee McKenzie

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