Statement on Animal Cruelty Case in Duncan

Duncan – Like many residents, I read the recent reports of animal cruelty against Teddy the dog in Duncan with shock and horror.  This behaviour against an animal is appalling and must not be permitted in Canada.

The owners have now been charged by police for their abuse and neglect of Teddy, and they could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. 

In the days since these reports surfaced in the media, many residents have reached out to me to share their concerns about what happened to Teddy and demand that the federal government act to implement tougher animal cruelty legislation.  I emphatically agree.

New Democrats have proudly led the charge over the years on strengthening regulations and penalties for animal abuse including MP Fin Donnelly’s Bill C-380, which would have banned the importation of shark fins, former MP Peggy Nash’s Bill C-232, which would have strengthened the language of federal animal cruelty laws and former MP Isabelle Morin’s Bill C-592 which would have established penalties for those who were guilty of cruel acts against animals.

In 2016, the House of Commons had the opportunity to make real progress on this issue when we debated a Liberal Private Member’s Bill, C-246.  I was proud to support that legislation at the time, but unfortunately the Liberal and Conservative parties overwhelmingly voted to defeat the Bill in October of 2016.

After that vote, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould promised to follow up with new, government-initiated animal cruelty measures.  Unfortunately, nearly a year and a half later, there are no new measures, and it appears those promises were just more empty rhetoric.  Today, I am calling on Minister Wilson-Raybould to finally act to address these urgent concerns.

We owe it to Teddy and other animals that are victims of abuse to make sure that nothing like this happens again.