FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government will introduce legislation this week aimed at enhancing animal protection. Annual funding is also being provided to the New Brunswick Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“Animals are an important part of family life for many New Brunswickers and we need to ensure that they are properly cared for and protected,” said Environment and Local Government Minister Serge Rousselle. “Our government listened to New Brunswickers and animal welfare stakeholders, and we are proud to be following through with their suggestions to strengthen legislation and commit to stabilized funding for the society.”

The legislative amendments would increase penalties for offences such as fighting contests, improperly tethering animals, and failing to humanely euthanize an animal. The amendments would also create a new offence for abandoning animals and provide liability protection for those involved in animal protection.

The society will receive funding of $100,000 from this year’s budget, along with a commitment for continued annual funding at that level.

“We are very pleased with the proposed changes, and we believe they will help us to improve our operations with more tools to effectively enforce this legislation,” said society president Greg Mignault. “We look forward to continued collaboration with the government, animal owners and advocates, and other stakeholder groups.”

The Department of Environment and Local Government gathered input from animal welfare stakeholders last spring to develop a strategy for implementing enhancements, including legislative amendments. The government has also been monitoring legislation in other jurisdictions to stay current on best practices.

“Through our consultations and research, it became clear that we needed to strengthen our laws and we needed to ensure the society had access to stable funding to enforce the legislation and continue their important role of education and awareness,” said Rousselle. “Our government is getting things done and moving forward with important improvements to our provincial laws.”

In 2014 regulatory changes came into effect that banned 24-hour tethering for dogs and increased penalties for other violations that compromise health and safety. The amendments build on these enhancements.

Information about animal protection is available online.