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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

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

Municipal Acts (Saskatchewan)

(current to 15 August 2016)


Note Re Application of the Municipal-Related Acts

Saskatchewan has two statutes that address municipal issues, the Cities Act ('CA') and the Municipalities Act ('MA'). The first of course governs cities [CA 2(1)(d)] and the second any municipality that is "a town, village, resort village, rural municipality, municipal district or restructured municipality" [MA 2(1)(w)]. Determining which is which should be as simple as ascertaining the proper legal name of the municipality in which you live (eg. City of Saskatoon, Town of Eatonia, etc).

Unlike most municipal statutes, the Cities Act and the Municipalities Act not only set out municipal jurisdiction to make by-laws, but also contain significant substantive province-wide provisions in their own right regarding dangerous animals. While these provisions are primarily designed for dogs, there is nothing to prevent them being applied to other species, including captive wildlife.

This law bears on the wildlife issues of:
  • PROTECTION
  • SALE
  • HUMAN HEALTH AND SAFETY
  • EXTERMINATION
  • CIVIL LIABILITY
  • MUNICIPAL JURISDICTION
The full current text of this legislation (including regulations) may be viewed at the Saskatchewan statute website.

_________________________

Table of Contents
1. Cities - By-Law Jurisdiction
2. Cities - Dangerous Animal Control
3. Cities - Civil Liability re Animals
4. Non-City Municipalities - By-Law Jurisdiction
5. Non-City Municipalities - Dangerous Animal Control
(a) Overview
(b) Dangerous Animal Declarations
(c) Dangerous Animal Orders
(d) Dangerous Animal Offences
(e) Enforcement
(f) Destruction During Attack
6. Non-City Municipalities - Civil Liability
______________________________________



1. Cities - By-Law Jurisdiction

The Cities Act does not define the term 'animals', and so will likely have recourse to the common scientific understanding of the term - which typically includes all vertebrates, including birds and fish.

The Cities Act grants cities in Saskatchewan very broad (even ill-defined) jurisdiction to address animal issues. This authority is simply stated as follows [CA 8(1)(k)]:
8(1) A city has a general power to pass any bylaws for city purposes that it considers expedient in relation to the following matters respecting the city:

....

(k) wild and domestic animals and activities in relation to them;
Traditionally, Canadian municipal by-law jurisdiction with respect to animals has been limited to public safety and nuisance control, classically with domestic dogs. This new and broader form of jurisdiction has been picked up in several major provinces, including Alberta and Ontario.

So the CA 8(1)(k) animal jurisdiction can be fairly interpreted as applying quite widely in relation to anything to do with animals, even entrenching into animal-related fields that other jurisdictions, particularly the province itself, have already occupied (eg. animal welfare, or circuses and zoos).

Modern judicial attitudes are highly tolerate of conflicts between laws from different levels of government (the issue of 'paramountcy'). The current doctrine from the Supreme Court of Canada on paramountcy is stated in 114957 Canada Ltée (Spraytech, Société d'arrosage) v. Hudson (Town) (SCC, 2001). This test is two-step examination of (1) the mutual operability of the competing laws ("operability") and (2) frustration of purpose of the dominant legislator ("frustration"). This doctrine was reaffirmed by that same court in Saskatchewan (Attorney General) v. Lemare Lake Logging Ltd., 2015 SCC 53 (CanLII).

Methods that cities may use to enforce bylaws are set out here [CA 8(2)(j),(3)]:
  • to regulate or prohibit;

  • to provide for a system of licences, inspections, permits or approvals and terms and conditions in relation to each;

  • to prohibit a business or class of business from operating;

  • the power to make additional bylaws respecting the enforcement of bylaws made pursuant to this or any other Act, including remedying contraventions of bylaws, including providing for moving, seizing, impounding, immobilizing, selling, destroying or otherwise dealing with or disposing of any type of real or personal property, including animals.

2. Cities - Dangerous Animal Control

As noted above the Cities Act does not define animals, and so makes no distinction between domestic and wild animals. The following provisions, while practically mostly applicable to dogs, therefore technically apply to all wildlife, though as a practical matter given the nature of these laws this would have to be wildlife in captivity (ie. zoos and exotic pets), or recently escaped therefrom.

Where a peace officer has reasonable grounds to believe that an animal is dangerous or has been ordered to be destroyed or otherwise disposed of, then they may enter the premises were the animal is located (warrant or consent to entry is required for private dwellings), search for the animal - and either impound it or, if there is an Order to destroy or otherwise dispose of it, to deliver it to the person appointed to execute that Order [CA 327(1-3)].

A Justice of the Peace ('JP') may issue an entry and search warrant for a private dwelling where "there are reasonable grounds to believe that an animal that is dangerous or has been ordered to be destroyed or otherwise disposed of" is in the dwelling [CA 327(4)].

A peace officer may immediately destroy "any animal that he or she finds injuring or viciously attacking a person or a domestic animal" [CA 327(5)].

If a city has passed a bylaw respecting dangerous animals and a provincial court judge or a justice of the peace has, in accordance with that bylaw, declared an animal in the city to be dangerous, the order continues to apply with respect to that animal if the animal is sold or given to a new owner or is moved to a different location within or outside the city [327(9)].


3. Cities - Civil Liability re Animals

The peace officer has no civil liability for the value of the destroyed animal if they act in good faith (ie. without malice) under CA 327(6) (above) [CA 327(6)].

Persons suffering property damage or personal injury caused by an animal need not, when suing, prove that "the animal is, or that the owner knew that the animal was of a dangerous or mischievous nature, or accustomed to doing acts causing injury" [327(8)]. This provision dispenses with common law requirements for tort liability for animal damage, essentially rendering the animal's owner 'strictly liable' for harm caused by the animal.


4. Non-City Municipalities - By-Law Jurisdiction

As noted above, a "town, village, resort village, rural municipality, municipal district or restructured municipality" is governed by the Municipalities Act ('MA'). This law is canvassed in this section, and it applies to all animals except - in the case of rural municipalities - livestock and poultry [MA 2(1)(b)].

The Municipalities Act grants non-city municipalities very broad (even ill-defined) jurisdiction to address animal issues. This authority is simply stated as follows [MA 8(1)(k)]:
8(1) A municipality has a general power to pass any bylaws for the purposes of the municipality that it considers expedient in relation to the following matters respecting the municipality:

(k) wild and domestic animals and activities in relation to them;
Traditionally, Canadian municipal by-law jurisdiction with respect to animals has been limited to public safety and nuisance control, classically with domestic dogs. This new and broader form of jurisdiction has been picked up in several major provinces, including Alberta and Ontario.

So the MA 8(1)(k) animal jurisdiction can be fairly interpreted as applying quite widely in relation to anything to do with animals, even entrenching into animal-related fields that other jurisdictions, particularly the province itself, have already occupied (eg. animal welfare, or circuses and zoos).

Modern judicial attitudes are highly tolerate of conflicts between laws from different levels of government (the issue of 'paramountcy'). The current doctrine from the Supreme Court of Canada on paramountcy is stated in 114957 Canada Ltée (Spraytech, Société d'arrosage) v. Hudson (Town) (SCC, 2001). This test is two-step examination of (1) the mutual operability of the competing laws ("operability") and (2) frustration of purpose of the dominant legislator ("frustration"). This doctrine was reaffirmed by that same court in Saskatchewan (Attorney General) v. Lemare Lake Logging Ltd., 2015 SCC 53 (CanLII).

Methods that cities may use to enforce bylaws are set out here [MA 8(2)(j),(3)]:
  • to regulate or prohibit;

  • to provide for a system of licences, inspections, permits or approvals and terms and conditions in relation to each;

  • to prohibit a business or class of business from operating;

  • the power to make additional bylaws respecting the enforcement of bylaws made pursuant to this or any other Act, including remedying contraventions of bylaws, including providing for moving, seizing, impounding, immobilizing, selling, destroying or otherwise dealing with or disposing of any type of real or personal property, including animals.

5. Non-City Municipalities - Dangerous Animal Control

(a) Overview

As is noted above, the Municipalities Act does not define animals, and so makes no distinction between domestic and wild animals. The following 'dangerous animal' provisions, while practically mostly applicable to dogs, are technically apply to all owned animals, though for the purposes of this wildlife law guide these would necessarily be wildlife in captivity (ie. zoos and exotic pets), or recently escaped from captivity.

For the below purposes, an "owner" includes [MA 374(b)]:
  • a person who keeps, possesses or harbours an animal; or

  • the person responsible for the custody of a minor if the minor is the owner of an animal;
but excludes:
  • treating veterinarians;

  • a municipality, the Saskatchewan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or a Humane Society operating pursuant to The Animal Protection Act, 1999, with respect to an animal shelter or impoundment facility operated by any of them.
(b) Dangerous Animal Declarations

Where a complaint is made to a judge (who can be either a provincial court judge or a justice of the peace), and where the judge is satisfied that any one of the below conditions is met, the judge may declare the animal to be dangerous [MA 375(2)]:
  • (i) the animal, without intentional provocation, in a vicious or menacing manner, chased or approached a person or domestic animal in an apparent attitude of attack;

  • (ii) the animal has a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack without intentional provocation, to cause injury or to otherwise threaten the safety of persons or domestic animals;

  • (iii) the animal has, without intentional provocation, bitten, inflicted injury, assaulted or otherwise attacked a person or domestic animal; or

  • (iv) the animal is owned primarily or in part for the purpose of fighting or is trained for fighting.
No such declaration shall be made under any of (i) to (iii) above because of an action that occured when the animal was [MA 375(3)]:
  • acting in the performance of police work; or

  • working as a guard dog on commercial property while securely enclosed on the property by a fence or other barrier sufficient to prevent the escape of the animal and the entry of children of tender years, and while defending that property against a person who was committing an offence.
(c) Dangerous Animal Orders

After declaring an animal to be dangerous, the court:

(i) may order that the animal be destroyed or otherwise disposed of at the owner’s expense (destruction orders are delayed 8 days to allow for appeals, and are stayed on appeal);

or

(ii) shall make one or more of the following Orders [MA 375(5),377]:
  • that the owner keep the animal in an enclosure [technical specifications are set out in Municipalities Reg 57];

  • that when the animal is removed from the enclosure, the owner shall muzzle and leash it [technical specifications are set out in Municipalities Reg 58] and keep it under the owner’s direct control and supervision;

  • that the owner shall obtain and keep in effect liability insurance in an amount not less than $300,000 to cover damage or injury caused by the animal [M Regs 59];

  • that the owner shall display a sign [details are set out in Municipalities Reg 60] on their property warning of the presence of the animal and shall continue to display that sign in good condition so long as the animal is present on the property;

  • that the owner shall comply with the regulations and the Health of Animals Act (Canada) with respect to the detection and control of rabies [see the federal module] [details are set out in Municipalities Reg 62-64];

  • that, if the animal is moved to any other municipality, the owner shall notify the designated officer in the other municipality;

  • that, if the animal is to be sold or given away, the owner shall give prior notice to the prospective new owner that the the animal has been declared dangerous, and give notice to the designated officer in the municipality of the name, address and telephone number of any new owner of the animal;

  • that the owner shall have the animal tattooed [technical specifications are set out in Municipalities Reg 61];

  • that the owner shall have the animal spayed or neutered;

  • any other measures that the owner shall take as the judge considers appropriate.
Such Orders continue to apply through changes in ownership of the animal, and relocation to other municipalities [MA 375(6)].

(d) Dangerous Animal Offences

The following are offences in relation to dangerous animals [MA 376]:
  • owning an animal "for the purpose of fighting";

  • training, tormenting, badgering, baiting or otherwise using an animal for the purpose of causing or encouraging the animal to make unprovoked attacks on persons or domestic animals;

  • displaying a prescribed sign warning of the presence of a dangerous animal while not acting on an order made pursuant to subsection 375(5) or having not received the permission of a council to display the sign;

  • non-compliance with any condition of a dangerous animal Order [see (c) above];

  • owning an animal that, without intentional provocation, attacks, assaults, wounds, bites, injures or kills a person or domestic animal.
(e) Enforcement

Where an enforcement officer "has reasonable grounds for believing that an animal is dangerous or has been ordered to be destroyed or otherwise disposed" they may (warrant or consent required for dwelling places) enter premises, search for the animal and either impound it or, if there is a destruction Order for it, then deliver it to the authority appointed for that purpose [MA 378].

(f) Destruction During Attack

An enforcement officer may immediately destroy an animal that they find injuring or viciously attacking a person or a domestic animal [MA 379(1)].


6. Non-City Municipalities - Civil Liability

When acting in good faith, an enforcement officer has no civil liability for the value of the animal for destroying it as per 5(f) above [MA 379(2)].

In an action brought against an animal owner for damages to persons or property, "it is not necessary for the person injured to prove that the animal is, or that the owner knew that the animal was either of a dangerous or mischievous nature, or accustomed to doing acts causing injury" [MA 380].
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