The province's animal welfare agency has informed the Ontario government that it plans to no longer investigate and enforce animal cruelty laws, according to a news report from CP24. Headquartered in Newmarket, Ontario, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) notified the provincial government this morning that the organization will not sign a new contract after the current agreement expires at the end of this month.
Kate MacDonald, OSPCA's CEO, informed The Canadian Press that the organization's current model is no longer yielding valuable results. The group has decided that it will adopt a "support role" in animal cruelty investigations, in addition to the provision of animal shelter, the collection of forensic evidence and the delivery of veterinary services.
According to MacDonald, enforcement officers will shift to perform these new support-oriented functions, or to assist in the expansion of the organization's animal rescue branch.
For the last century, the OSPCA has been responsible for enforcing animal cruelty laws in Ontario.
The OSPCA's announcement follows a news story from early February that involved the Ford government. Last month, the Ontario government appealed a court ruling that found the OSPCA's enforcement powers were unconstitutional. According to a report by CBC, the government was incorrect in granting police powers to the OSPCA without also imposing "accountability and transparency standards" on the agency.
The Attorney General filed the notice of appeal on the basis of numerous grounds, primarily arguing that the court made an error when it "recognized a new principle of fundamental justice that law enforcement bodies must be subject to reasonable standards of transparency and accountability", CBC reports.