Ontario is providing the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) with $5.5 million annually to strengthen protection for animals.
The government says changes announced Oct. 25 will strengthen protection for animals through regular inspections of zoos and aquariums, boosting enforcement of animal welfare laws, cracking down on puppy and kitten mills, and enhancing standards of care for marine mammals.
Protection for animals done through the OSPCA will be boosted by: making it easier and faster to investigate animal welfare complaints from rural and northern communities; creating a full-time, centralized dispatch service; creating a squad of specially trained investigators to crack down on puppy and kitten mills; and providing livestock training to investigators in the agricultural sector.
The OSPCA will also work to protect animals in captivity. Regular inspections of zoos and aquariums, and a registry of zoos and aquariums are among the changes.
The province will seek technical advice from the scientific community regarding standards of care for all marine mammals, including whales, dolphins and seals. Economic and tourism effects of the standards will be taken into account, according to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
The OSPCA is to provide regular progress reports to government to show how it is delivering on these enforcement initiatives.
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act has not been amended since 2009.
Ontario has at least 60 zoos and aquariums.