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Simon Shields,
LLB

Barrister and Solicitor
(Retired)
LSUC #37308N


simonshields@isp.com

Legal Writing and Research


Wild Animal Law of Canada

---------------------------

Animal Care Act (Manitoba)

(current to 01 September 2016)

Note Re Application of the Animal Care Act ('ACA')

For ACA purposes, an 'animal' is simply "a non-human living being with a developed nervous system" [ACA 1(1)]. Other primary categories used in the ACA are those of 'commercial animals' and 'companion animals'. Companion animals are those that are not commercial animals, while commercial animals include [ACA 1(1)]:
  • horses,
  • cattle,
  • sheep,
  • swine,
  • live poultry,
  • wildlife that is not the property of the Crown under The Wildlife Act (these are almost universally dead animals and birds taken by hunting) (see the Wildlife Act module);
  • animals of a type usually raised for meat production or the production of products from the animals, and includes breeding stock of such animals.
For limited purpose (setting codes and standards of treatment) the ACA also uses the categories of 'domestic' and 'non-domestic', which are defined specifically with the Animal Care Regulation.

This law bears on the wildlife issues of:
  • PROTECTION
  • OWNERSHIP AND POSSESSION
  • SALE
  • FACILITIES
  • ADMINISTRATIVE
  • TRANSPORTATION
  • EUTHANASIA
  • CIVIL LIABILITY

The full current text of the Animal Care Act and it's Regulations may be viewed at the Manitoba statute website.

_________________________

Table of Contents
1. Overview
2. Protections
(a) General Prohibition
(b) Exception for 'Accepted Activities'
(c) Other Prohibitions
(d) Owner and Custodian Duties
(e) Transportation of Infirm Animals
(f) Acceptance of Infirm Animals for Commercial Purposes
(g) Duty of Veterinarian to Report Neglect or Abuse
3. Licensing of Animal Activities
(a) Overview
(b) Kennels
(c) Companion Animal Breeding Premises
(d) Companion Animal Retail Stores
4. Civil Liability
5. Enforcement
(a) Overview
(b) Care, Euthanasia and Disposition of Seized and Abandoned Animals by APOs
(c) Orders to Owners
______________________________________


1. Overview

Manitoba's Animal Care Act ('ACA') follows in the tradition of 'SPCA' (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Acts that exist in other provinces and across the common law world. The ACA is largely typical of these, although noteworthy for it's extensive adoption of private-sector treatment codes and standards, and the licensing of some animal facilities and activities such as kennels, breeding and pet stores (though not circuses or zoos).


2. Protections

(a) General Prohibition

It is generally prohibited for anyone to "inflict upon an animal acute suffering, serious injury or harm, or extreme anxiety or distress that significantly impairs its health or well-being" [ACA 3(1)].

The key operative concept of most animal welfare statutes is that of 'distress'. For purposes of the ACA, an animal is in 'distress' if it is [ACA 6(1)]:
  • subjected to conditions that, unless immediately alleviated, will cause the animal death or serious harm;

  • subjected to conditions that cause the animal to suffer acute pain;

  • not provided food and water sufficient to maintain the animal in a state of good health;

  • not provided appropriate medical attention when the animal is wounded or ill;

  • unduly exposed to cold or heat; or

  • subjected to conditions that will, over time, significantly impair the animal's health or well-being, including

    • confinement in an area of insufficient space,
    • confinement in unsanitary conditions,
    • confinement without adequate ventilation or lighting,
    • not being allowed an opportunity for adequate exercise, and
    • conditions that cause the animal extreme anxiety or distress.

      While it is not expressly adopted as a 'distress' criterion, it is an ACA requirement that "unrelated animals presented to a pound, animal shelter, animal rescue facility or a facility operated for a similar purpose must only be confined in the pound, shelter or facility in an individual cage, pen, room or run" [AC Regs 7.1].
(b) Exception for 'Accepted Activities'

The above prohibition [sub-section (a)] is excepted where "the suffering, injury, harm, anxiety or distress is caused by a treatment, process, or condition that occurs in the course of an accepted activity" [ACA 3(2)]. Additionally, "an animal shall not be considered to be in distress as a result of any treatment, process, or condition that occurs in the course of an accepted activity" [ACA 6(2)].

For these purposes, an 'accepted activity' includes the following activities [ACA 4(1), AC Regs 1.2]:
  • agricultural uses of animals;

  • exhibitions and fairs;

  • zoological displays;

  • animal slaughter;

  • medical care;

  • animal discipline and training;

  • protection of people or property;

  • sporting events;

  • fishing and hunting;

  • trapping;

  • research and teaching involving animals;

  • pest control;

  • control of predators;

  • euthanasia of animals;

  • keeping, using, handling and displaying animals in the course of operating, working in or participating in a circus;

  • kennelling companion animals;

  • breeding companion animals;

  • keeping, handling, displaying and selling companion animals in a companion animal retail store or a part of the business operations of such a store.
However, such activities only operate as an exemption if they are "not a practice or procedure specified as prohibited [to date there are none specified]" and are carried out in a manner [ACA 4(2)]:
  • consistent with a standard or code of conduct, criteria, practice or procedure specified as acceptable in the regulations, or ('or' here refers to the next solid bullet)

    These codes and standards are listed in the following sections and Schedules of the Animal Care Regulation [AC Regs 2-(1-4)] as follows:

    • Farmed animals - Schedule A;

    • Euthanasia - Schedule B and s.3(1,2);

    • Research - s.4(4,5)'

    • Circuses - Schedule C s.4(3.1-3.2;

    • Non-domestic species - Schedule D;

      'Non-domestic species' are those which are not one of the following: horse, mule, donkey, cattle, swine, sheep, goat, poultry, dog, cat [AC Regs 1]. This is roughly equivalent to wildlife in captivity.

    • Exhibitions and Fairs - s.4(3);

    • Trapping - s.4(6) [adopts the the Trapping of Wild Animals Regulation under the Wildlife Act, see that module];

    • Miscellanous - Schedule B.

  • consistent with generally accepted practices or procedures for such activity, and that does not cause 'needless suffering' [suffering that is "not inevitable or intrinsic to an accepted activity": ACA 1(1)];

  • that is otherwise reasonable in the circumstances, and that does not cause needless suffering.
(c) Other Prohibitions

Additional specific prohibited practices include the following [AC Regs 5]:
  • contests involving fighting between two or more animals;

  • the outdoor tethering of untended horses by rope or chain where there is no direct supervision;

  • the keeping or confinement of an animal in a facility that contains items or debris, or is in a state of disrepair, that constitutes a hazard likely to injure the animal;

  • the confinement of animals together where there is a high risk of injury to, or distress on the part of any of the animals, either by or due to (1) the presence of any of the other animals, (2) the means of confinement or (3) the physical characteristics of the place of confinement;

  • the transportation of a companion animal in the open back of a pickup truck in (1) a manner or in circumstances where the animal is exposed to a high risk of injury or (2) on a highway, except with a proper restraining device or in a closed cage.
(d) Owner and Custodian Duties

Those who own, possess or control an animal have the additional below-noted specific duties of care to the animal [ACA 2(1)]. Note that 'owner' for these purposes includes anyone who has "possession or control of an animal or (is) occupying premises containing an animal" [ACA 1(1)].

Such persons shall not, so as to significantly impair the animal's health or well-being:
  • fail to ensure that the animal has an adequate source of food and water;

  • fail to provide the animal with adequate medical attention when the animal is wounded or ill;

  • fail to provide the animal with reasonable protection from injurious heat or cold; and

  • confine the animal to an enclosure or area with inadequate space, unsanitary conditions, inadequate ventilation or lighting, or without providing an opportunity for exercise.
For purposes of conviction of an offence (only), these duties are excepted where the animal is treated in a manner that is:
  • consistent with a standard or code of conduct, criteria, practice or procedure specified as acceptable in the regulations [see s.2(b) above];

  • consistent with generally accepted practices or procedures for such activity; or

  • otherwise reasonable in the circumstances.
(e) Transportation of Infirm Animals

It is prohibited to "load or transport an animal, or permit an animal to be loaded or transported, in a vehicle if, by reason of infirmity, illness, injury, fatigue or any other cause, the animal is unable to stand or would suffer unduly during transport" [ACA 5.1(1)]. However the animal may be transported for medical attention if it is loaded and transported humanely [ACA 5.1(2)].

(f) Acceptance of Infirm Animals for Commercial Purposes

It is prohibited, for purposes of resale or further shipment, to unload or accept a commercial animal "at a commercial animal market or commercial animal assembling station if, by reason of infirmity, illness, injury, fatigue or any other cause, the animal is unable to stand or is suffering unduly" [ACA 5.2(1)]. For these purposes, 'suffering unduly' means that [AC Regs 1.1]:
  • the animal "has suffered serious injury or harm that has not received veterinary treatment or extreme anxiety or distress that has significantly impaired its health or well-being and has not received such treatment"; and

  • veterinary treatment to relieve the animal's suffering is not immediately available or it would be inhumane to leave the animal untreated for any length of time.
(g) Duty of Veterinarian to Report Neglect or Abuse

Where a veterinarian "believes on reasonable grounds that an animal has been or is subject to neglect or abuse that compromises the animal's health, other than in the course of an accepted activity", they shall promptly report that to the Director, and shall provide details as requested by the Director [ACA 5.3].


3. Licensing of Animal Activities

(a) Overview

This section sets out several animal-related activities that must be licensed in Manitoba.

The Animal Care Regulations ('AC Regs') at ss.12-19 sets out standards for these licensed activities respecting such things as construction of facilities, hygiene, food and water, health and disease control, licensing procedures and record-keeping.

The Director may establish a public register of persons who operate such premises [ACA 29.1, AC Regs 20].

(b) Kennels

Kennels are defined as premises [ACA 25(2), AC Regs 6(1)]:
  • where more than seven companion animals are kept for a fee, or

  • operated as a pound, animal shelter or animal rescue facility.
Operation of a kennel in Manitoba requires a license [ACA 25(1)], with the following exceptions [AC Regs 6(2,3)]:
  • companion animal veterinary clinics;

  • caregivers of APO-seized companion animals;

  • a licensed companion animal breeding premises;

  • agricultural operations (as defined in The Farm Practices Protection Act, s.1);

  • sled dog racing.
(c) Companion Animal Breeding Premises

Operation of a companion animal breeding premises in Manitoba requires a license [ACA 25.1].

For this purpose, 'companion animal breeding premises' are defined as premises where more than the prescribed number of fertile female companion animals are kept [ACA 25.1(2), AC Regs 6.1] [four for dogs, four for cats, 14 for non-domestic species (roughly, wildlife)]. However, where "the owner or operator of the premises satisfies the director or an animal protection officer that the animals are not kept for the purpose of breeding them and selling their offspring", no license is required [ACA 25.1(4)].

(d) Companion Animal Retail Stores

Operation of a companion animal retail store in Manitoba requires a license [ACA 25.1(1)]. For this purpose, a companion animal retail store is a "commercial premises where companion animals are kept and offered for sale to the public" [ACA 25.1(2)].


4. Civil Liability

"(T)he minister, the director, an agent of the director, an animal protection officer, a caregiver, or a member of the appeal board or an advisory committee" are immune from civil liability "for any act done in good faith in the performance or intended performance of a responsibility or in the exercise or intended exercise of an authorized action under this Act, or for any neglect or default in the performance of a responsibility or the exercise of an authorized action in good faith" [ACA 38].


5. Enforcement

(a) Overview

For purposes of enforcing the ACA, the Minister may appoint animal protection officers ('APOs'), who have typical regulatory enforcement powers of entry (warrants are required to enter dwelling places unless exigent circumstances are present), inspection and seizure [ACA 7,8].

The ACA also has a broad offence provision which allows for violations to be prosecuted [ACA 34(1)].

(b) Care, Euthanasia and Disposition of Seized and Abandoned Animals by APOs

In particular APOs may seize and provide care [including food, water, shelter and medical attention ACA 1(1)] to an animal in distress (as defined above). In the case of a domestic animal they shall notify the Director of the situation, and in the case of a wild animal they shall notify an officer appointed for purposes of the Wildlife Act (see that module) [ACA 9].

Where a seized animal is determined to be "in such distress that it would be inhumane to allow the animal to continue to live" it may be destroyed by the APO. That determination is to be made by a veterinarian, two other individuals, or the APO in declining order of their availability [ACA 10(1)].

APOs may also take abandoned animals into custody and provide care for them [ACA 10.5]. For these purposes, an 'abandoned' animals is one that is [ACA 1(1)]:
  • apparently ownerless and not running at large,

  • found on rented premises after the expiration or termination of the tenancy agreement,

  • found on premises after the owner has sold or vacated the premises, or

  • by agreement between the animal's owner and another person, has been left in the care of the other person and has not been retrieved from the other person for more than four days after the agreed-upon retrieval time.
Commercial animals seized or taken into custody as abandoned may be sold, given away or destroyed seven days after the Director has notified the owner to that effect and if no appeal has been filed. Where the owner cannot be located to be given notice after seven days from the seizure or taking into custody of the commercial animal, despite the making of reasonable inquiries, then the animal may be sold, given away or destroyed [ACA 14].

Seized companion animals may be redeemed by their owners within seven days of the seizure [ACA 16]. Companion animals seized or taken into custody as abandoned may be sold, given away or destroyed if, after seven days of the owner being given notice of that intention, no appeal has been filed [ACA 17(1)]. Where the owner cannot be located to be given notice after seven days from the seizure or taking into custody of the companion animal, despite the making of reasonable inquiries, then the animal may be sold, given away or destroyed [ACA 19].

(c) Orders to Owners

Where the Director believes that an animal is in distress or that the owner is not complying with their duties to the animal [as set out above in s.2(c)], they may issue an Order to the owner to relieve the animal's distress (including veterinary treatment), or to carry out those duties [ACA 10.1(1)].

Additionally, where animals have been either seized or surrendered and the Director believes that an owner is or may in the future be unable to carry out his or her duties under this Act because the number or type of animals owned, possessed or controlled by the owner, then the Director may apply to the court for an Order prohibiting or restricting their ownership of animals as specified [ACA 10.2(1,2)].

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