On October 7, Mike Cook will be here to talk to ARF about one of his past cases that lead to changes in animal cruelty legislation and the Manitoba government passing the Animal Care Act. Please contact Em Cook for the Zoom link.
The general public regards mistreatment of animals as one of the most egregious offences in our community. The Criminal Code of Canada has sections dealing specifically with such offences, namely the Cruelty to Animals provisions.
Historically, cruelty to animals was an overt act where you overtly hurt animals and caused injury. The Code was silent as to other forms of mistreatment short of physical brutality. Winnipeg lawyer Mike Cook had an important case which led to the definition of mistreatment of animals being expanded. In that case, the accused persons were acquitted of cruelty because hey had not physically struck their various animals, including dogs, cows, and horses. Following this decision, the Manitoba provincial government enacted legislation which expanded the definition of mistreatment of animals to include things other than physical mistreatment. Actions such as not feeding animals, not keeping animals in a clean environment, not having animals tended to by veterinarians when the need arises, and other such occurrences that historically were not considered acts of cruelty were all added to the list of prohibited actions. The new provincial legislation covered a vast array of overt and omission acts where people can now be punished for their poor treatment of animals.