Animals as Property in Criminal Cases – Part 2 (11mins)

In Animal Law, Cruelty, Litigation, Video Blogs by Peter Sankoff8 Comments

In a follow-up to yesterday’s video blog, I concentrate on the Ontario legislation that is at the heart of the decision to euthanize 21 dogs seized in a dog fighting ring.  Long story short: the law puts humane societies in a tough spot. We need better laws to make seizure a more palatable proposition, and allow the interests of animals to be put ahead of the interests of those who abuse them.


  1. Author

    My pleasure. Thanks for letting me know!

  2. Thank you for sharing the post in detailed. Its very interesting. Enjoyed reading it. Do keep posting such articles.

  3. Always a risk – but my view is the law must create the space for us to do the “right thing”. In the absence of such space, we will continuously be put in a place where that interest cannot be addressed at all, which seems to me to be a worse option. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Very interesting and I’m appreciating and learning so much from your videos! Thank you. I am a cultural anthropologist working on animals as “property” and can see the context and the advantages you are weighing/developing here, but I’m wondering about the actual practices/applications that may develop as a result of that interim “space” you seem quite enthusiastic about. In light of what exists—yes?—but what if the default position (re: 46) of the interim space becomes to euthanize the animals? It seems to be that this is quite logically and very easily possible? This may not fall within the parameters of a legal analysis—but such a default does not seem to me to be in the animal’s interest…?

  5. It certainly could be done in the Criminal Code, though it would then only apply when animals were seized pursuant to a Criminal Code offence. But there is nothing in the Private Members’ Bill that does this – and the Criminal Code right now only treats seizures as being seized for evidentiary purposes (subject to any province regulation that has a different effect). So in short, yes it could, but I see no reason to believe that this is a current objective of the proposed new legislation – which is a shame.

  6. Thank you for the interesting and timely post.

    Can the best interests of the animal be woven into the federal Criminal Code and cover all provinces, or would amendments have to be made on a province-by-province basis?

    I ask because there is currently a private members’ bill amending the Criminal Code to strengthen animal welfare protections – is this something that should be incorporated into the Modernizing Animal Protections Act? (the challenges of passing a private members’ bill notwithstanding)

  7. Actually, as I say in the VBlog, I’m pretty sure that is the authority they applied under, because the dogs are “dangerous”. But it makes no difference for the purposes of the discussion I raise. Ultimately, I have no doubt that part of the calculus is “what could they do with the dogs”. In other words, the question of whether they could give the dogs to a rescue operation that is willing to take the risk is governed by the analysis I provide in this VBlog. Thanks for the comment!

  8. Are we sure the OSPCA didn’t apply to have the dogs euthanized under the Dog Owner’s Liability Act. They are appointed as “Animal Control” agents under that Act.

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