Criminal Code of Canada

Two parts of the Criminal Code deal with cruelty to animals. When Royal Assent was given to Bill S-203 on April 17 2008, the penalties were increased as indicated below and there were some other minor changes. Overall however, the animal cruelty section of the Criminal Code remains almost the same as when it was first written in 1892.

Section 264.1 makes it an offence to threaten animals. Sections 444 to 447 address cruelty directly, and are contained in the part of the Code dealing with "Wilful and Forbidden Acts in Respect of Certain Property." Here are some excerpts; follow the links to open a new window with the full document on the Department of Justice Canada website.

445.1

(1) Every one commits an offence who

(a) wilfully causes or, being the owner, wilfully permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or bird;

(b) in any manner encourages, aids or assists at the fighting or baiting of animals or birds;

(c) wilfully, without reasonable excuse, administers a poisonous or an injurious drug or substance to a domestic animal or bird or an animal or bird wild by nature that is kept in captivity or, being the owner of such an animal or bird, wilfully permits a poisonous or injurious drug or substance to be administered to it;

(d) promotes, arranges, conducts, assists in, receives money for or takes part in any meeting, competition, exhibition, pastime, practice, display, or event at or in the course of which captive birds are liberated by hand, trap, contrivance or any other means for the purpose of being shot when they are liberated; or

(e) being the owner, occupier, or person in charge of any premises, permits the premises or any part thereof to be used for a purpose mentioned in paragraph (d).

(2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of not more than eighteen months or to both.

...

446.

(1) Every one commits an offence who

(a) by wilful neglect causes damage or injury to animals or birds while they are being driven or conveyed; or

(b) being the owner or the person having the custody or control of a domestic animal or a bird or an animal or a bird wild by nature that is in captivity, abandons it in distress or wilfully neglects or fails to provide suitable and adequate food, water, shelter and care for it.

(2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months or to both.

 

Uttering Threats

264.1

(1) Every one commits an offence who, in any manner, knowingly utters, conveys or causes any person to receive a threat...

(c) to kill, poison or injure an animal or bird that is the property of any person.

(3) Every one who commits an offence under paragraph (1)(b) or (c)

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or

(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 38; 1994, c. 44, s. 16.