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Terry’s Law about changing the rules for animal care
Virtually nothing has changed about Canada’s animal cruelty laws in more than 120 years.
Cowichan resident Chris Davies has one response.
“OK, then I will do it,” he said.
Davies, along with wife Leigh and help from many others, is spearheading an attempt to alter national animal welfare legislation under the moniker Terry’s Law.
It all stems from an incident the Davies witnessed April 21 where a Boston Terrier/French Bulldog cross they called Terry was punched and tossed in a ditch on Cowichan Lake Road.
“Chris and Leigh have done a tremendous amount of work,” said Cowichan MP Jean Crowder Wednesday, a day after the couple presented her with their proposed legislation.
“It’s amazing what they’ve done,” she said.
Crowder has committed to the Davies to share the document with Peggy Nash who, in 2011 also presented changes in a Private Member’s Bill, C-232, which has sat stagnant in parliament since, as well as NDP agriculture critic Malcolm Allen.
“Terry’s Law... will hopefully address most of the concerns that animal lovers throughout the country have. We have produced this with the help of many animal rights campaigners across the country,” the Davies wrote on their website terryslaw.ca.
About 400 people have registered as supporters across the nation and they’ve also compiled a list of about 425 animal organizations, including charities and rescue groups as part of a database.
“There are no databases, so in a sense we’ve created the first database,” said Chris. “When Jean comes back with a bill she can work with, there’s gonna be a huge support effort.”
Canada’s animal welfare laws have remained largely unchanged since 1892.
“Recent amendments have increased penalties, but the application and scope of the current laws remain ineffective,” the Davies wrote on terryslaw.ca.
“Consequently, under the Criminal Code it is difficult to prosecute even the worst animal abusers. Canada’s animal cruelty legislation is outdated and lags far behind places like Hong Kong, Australia and Europe.
“In Canada, animals are not protected equally as the criminal code does not provide a clear definition of ‘animal’ but rather refers to specific animals and protects them differently.”
The current law contains a separate section and separate offences for cattle.
The current law also separates references to dogs, birds and ‘other animals.’
“Canada offers virtually no protection for wild and stray animals, as un-owned animals have less protection than owned animals,” states the website. “The current laws contain several loopholes including the words ‘willful neglect.’
“The wording requires proof that a person intended to neglect or cause harm to their animals.
“The burden of proof that Crown Attorneys, police and SPCA investigators must meet in order to successfully prosecute these crimes is too high since it’s virtually impossible to prove that the cruelty was ‘willful’ in its intent and ‘unnecessary.’”
In the meantime, Chris said he’s trying to get anyone and everyone on board with their proposed changes.
And that includes one of the region’s biggest celebrities — blonde bombshell, PETA activist, and Ladysmith native Pamela Anderson.
“Maybe Michael Buble. I’m asking everybody. I want to get as many names on board as I can.”