CBC News: NDP still demanding stricter rules for dogs left in cars

Posted in:

Party reissues proposal for more power for bylaw officers to remove dogs in distress from hot vehicles

By Richard Zussman, CBC News

Posted: May 03, 2016 3:42 PM PTLast Updated: May 04, 2016 9:30 AM PT

NDP MLA Selina Robinson gets some kisses from some furry friends after introducing the Distressed Animal Act. (Richard Zussman/CBC News)

NDP MLA Selina Robinson gets some kisses from some furry friends after introducing the Distressed Animal Act. (Richard Zussman/CBC News)

The B.C. NDP has proposed new rules that would give bylaw officers more power to help dogs left inside vehicles. The proposed legislation would permit enforcement officers to smash car windows and seize animals when there are signs of distress inside a vehicle.

“The focus of this bill is to give the power to local government to get dogs out of cars,” said NDP MLA Selina Robinson. “This is just another tool local governments will have to get dogs out as soon as there are signs they are at risk.”

The legislation would also make it illegal to transport an animal without providing for adequate ventilation. B.C. already has rules in place that allow bylaw officers to ticket people who leave their dogs in hot cars.

In 2015, the SPCA received more than 1,000 calls regarding animals left in hot cars — up from 850 calls in 2013.

“The B.C. SPCA only has 26 special provincial constables working across B.C. and must liaise with the RCMP and municipal bylaw enforcement to respond to these urgent calls,” added Robinson. “We cannot have another summer with animals dying while left alone in hot vehicles. It is time to act.”

Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Peter Fassbender would not immediately comment on the NDP’s proposed legislation. The provincial government is in the midst of conducting its own review of policies around dogs who are left in hot cars.

“We have been working closely with the SPCA and looking at the kinds of things they feel will help in ensuring animals will be protected,” said Fassbender. “On top of that we will look at what changes will be required. We are concerned about the issue.”

This is the second time in two years the NDP has raised the issue prior to summer.  Last year, it also held a news conference at the legislature to drive home the issue.

In January of last year, Emma Paulsen, the B.C. dog walker who pleaded guilty to animal cruelty in the deaths of six dogs in her care, was sentenced to six months in jail.

She was prohibited from owning an animal for 10 years and has a lifetime ban on caring for any animal in a paid capacity.