This set of laws comprises the Yukon, Canada Animal Protection Act. The Act provides that no person shall cause or allow an animal to be in distress. Any person who contravenes this Act is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than $500 and, in default of payment, to imprisonment up to six months, or to both fine and imprisonment. A judge may also prohibit a person convicted of an offence under the Act from owning an animal or from having charge of an animal for any specified time period. The Act also outlines the power of peace officers to seize animals in distress as well as those powers of humane societies to provide care for such animals.
s 1. Interpretation
Current to Gazette Vol. 27:6 (June 15, 2008)
In this Act,
"animal" includes mammals, birds and fish, but does not include wildlife; ("animal")
"distress" means the state of
(a) being in need of proper care, food, shelter or water,
(b) being injured, sick or in pain or suffering, or
(c) being abused or subject to undue or unnecessary hardship, privation or neglect;
"humane society" means an organization that is approved as a humane society under section 9; ("société protectrice")
"official animal keeper" refers to a humane society or an officer or agent of the Government of Yukon who has been designated for the purpose by the minister; ("gardien")
"owner" includes a person who possesses or harbours an animal and if the owner is a minor or someone in the care of a guardian, the person responsible for the custody of the minor or of the individual under the person's care; ("propriétaire")
"peace officer" means a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, an enforcement officer of a municipality who has been sworn as a peace officer pursuant to the Municipal Act and who is carrying out the duties of that office in the municipality by whom the peace officer is employed pursuant to that Act or a special officer appointed for the purposes of this Act; ("agent de la paix")
"veterinary surgeon" means a person who is entitled to practise veterinary medicine in a province or in the State of Alaska; ("vétérinaire")
"wildlife" means any vertebrate animal of any species that is wild by nature in the Yukon. ("animal de la faune")
s 2. Powers of peace officer
If an animal is found in distress in a public place or, subject to section 4, in any other place, and
(a) the owner or person in charge of the animal does not immediately take appropriate steps to relieve its distress; or
(b) the owner or person in charge of the animal is not present and cannot be found promptly,
a peace officer may, subject to this Act, take the action the officer considers necessary or desirable to relieve its distress, and for that purpose may
(c) take custody of the animal;
(d) arrange for any necessary transportation, food, care, shelter and medical treatment of the animal; and
(e) deliver the animal into the custody of an official animal keeper.
Before acting under subsection (1) a peace officer shall take reasonable steps to find the owner or person in charge of the animal and, if found, shall endeavour to obtain their cooperation to relieve the animal's distress.
If the owner of the animal is not present or promptly found and informed of the animal's distress by a peace officer pursuant to subsection (2), the official animal keeper into whose custody the animal is delivered shall take reasonable steps to find the owner and, if found, to inform the owner of the action taken.
s 3. Prohibition against causing or permitting distress
No person shall cause an animal to be or to continue to be in distress.
No person who is the owner or the person in charge of an animal shall permit the animal to be or continue to be in distress.
Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply if the distress results from an activity carried on in accordance with reasonable and generally accepted practices of animal management, husbandry or slaughter provided that these practices are carried out in a humane manner.
s 4. Entry of premises
If a peace officer has reasonable and probable grounds for believing, and does believe, that an animal is in distress,
(a) in or on any premises, other than a dwelling place; or
(b) in any vehicle or other chattel
and if every reasonable effort has been made to first obtain a warrant but the peace officer has been unable to do so, for any reason other than the refusal of a justice to issue the warrant, the peace officer may, without a warrant, enter
(c) in or on the premises, other than a dwelling place; or
(d) any vehicle or other chattel
and search for the animal, and may exercise the officer's powers under section 2 with respect to any animal in distress found therein.
If it appears to a justice, on information laid on oath, that there are reasonable and probable grounds for believing there is an animal in distress in or on any premises, including a dwelling place, vehicle or other chattel, the justice may issue a warrant authorizing a peace officer to enter, by force if necessary, the premises, dwelling place, vehicle or other chattel specified in the warrant and search for the animal, and thereupon the peace officer may exercise those powers conferred under section 2 with respect to any animal in distress found therein.
Before entering any premises, dwelling place, vehicle or other chattel pursuant to this section a peace officer shall take reasonable steps to find the owner or person in charge of the premises, dwelling place, vehicle or other chattel and endeavour to obtain their cooperation to relieve the animal's distress.
If a peace officer uses force in entering or searching any premises, dwelling place, vehicle or other chattel, the peace officer shall use no more force than is reasonably required under the circumstances.
s 5. Relieving of distress of animals
Despite anything in this Act to the contrary, if an animal taken into custody pursuant to section 2 is in such distress that,
(a) in the opinion of a veterinary surgeon;
(b) if a veterinary surgeon is not readily available, in the unanimous opinion of a peace officer and two reputable citizens; or
(c) in a critical situation when a veterinary surgeon or two reputable citizens are not readily available, in the opinion of a peace officer,
the animal cannot be relieved of its distress so as to live thereafter without undue suffering, the peace officer or official animal keeper having the custody may cause the animal to be destroyed.
If an animal is to be destroyed pursuant to this section but the animal's suffering will not be unduly prolonged thereby, the peace officer or the official animal keeper having custody of the animal shall take reasonable steps to find the owner of the animal and endeavour to obtain the owner's consent to its destruction.
s 6. Recovery of expenses by official animal keeper
An official animal keeper has a lien on any animal delivered or taken into its custody under this Act for any expenses properly incurred with respect to the animal for transportation, food, care, shelter and medical treatment and may require the owner to pay those expenses before delivering the animal to the owner.
Expenses properly incurred may be recovered by the official animal keeper in an action in debt against the owner of the animal or person who, with the consent, express or implied, of the owner of the animal, was in charge of the animal at the time the animal was taken into custody pursuant to section 2.
s 7. Minimum time limits before animal may be sold or given away
Subject to subsection (2), if the owner of an animal is not found within 72 hours after the animal came into the custody of an official animal keeper pursuant to this Act or, if found,
(a) does not, within 72 hours after being informed that the animal was taken into the custody of the keeper,
(i) pay to the keeper, or
(ii) undertake to pay to the keeper within an agreed time,
the expenses properly incurred by the keeper with respect to the animal; or
(b) does not pay those expenses within the time agreed on under subparagraph(a)(ii),
the keeper may sell or give the animal to any person.
Despite subsection (1), if the animal bears an obvious identification tattoo, brand, mark, tag or licence, the applicable time limit in any event under subsection (1) shall be 10 days from the time the animal was taken into the custody of an official animal keeper.
If an official animal keeper sells or gives an animal to any person pursuant to this section
(a) the animal becomes the property of the person to whom it is sold or given; and
(b) any money paid to the keeper with respect to the animal is the property of the keeper.
s 8. Animal may be destroyed
If an animal has been delivered into the custody of an official animal keeper pursuant to this Act and, after the expiry of the periods prescribed under section 7, the keeper is unable to sell or give the animal away, the keeper may cause the animal to be destroyed.
If an animal is given to an official animal keeper and the keeper is unable to sell or give the animal away, the keeper may cause the animal to be destroyed.
s 9. Approval of humane society
The Commissioner in Executive Council
(a) may approve as a humane society for the purposes of this Act any organization having as a principal object the prevention of cruelty to animals; and
(b) may suspend or revoke the approval.
The Commissioner in Executive Council may appoint any officer or employee of a humane society as a special officer with authority to exercise the powers of a peace officer for the purposes of this Act.
s 10. Inspection of animal exhibitions, sales
If authorized by or under the regulations, and subject thereto, a peace officer,
(a) without a warrant and in ordinary business hours; and
(b) for the purpose of enforcing this Act and the regulations,
may enter and inspect any premises other than a dwelling place where animals are kept for sale, hire or exhibition.
s 11. Regulations
The Commissioner in Executive Council may make regulations
(a) governing the approval and the suspension and revocation of approval of organizations as humane societies;
(b) prescribing the qualifications required or persons to be appointed special officers for the purposes of this Act;
(c) respecting the manner of taking an animal into custody;
(d) defining what constitutes taking reasonable steps to find the owner of an animal in distress;
(e) prescribing a tariff of expenses which may be charged to the owner of an animal taken into custody under this Act for transportation, food, care, shelter and medical treatment of the animal;
(f) prescribing, with respect to animals kept for sale, hire or exhibition, the standard of care with which the animals shall be maintained;
(g) respecting the authorization of peace officers, in general or, in particular, to exercise the powers specified in section 10 subject to those conditions and restrictions that are considered desirable in the public interest;
(h) respecting any other matter necessary or desirable to give effect to the intent of this Act.
s 12. Offence and penalty
Any person who contravenes this Act or the regulations thereunder is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $500 and in default of payment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both fine and imprisonment.
A judge of the Territorial Court or a justice may, when sentencing a person convicted of an offence contrary to section 3, order that the person be prohibited from owning an animal or from having charge of an animal for any time the judge or justice considers advisable.
s 13. Immunity of officers and official animal keepers from prosecution
No action lies against a peace officer or an official animal keeper or any officer or employee of an official animal keeper for any thing done in good faith and purporting to be done under this Act or the regulations thereunder.
s 14. Other Acts prevail
Nothing in this Act shall be construed as affecting any right, power, duty or prohibition relating to animals conferred or imposed by or under any other Act and if any conflict exists between the provisions of this Act or the regulations thereunder and that other Act or the regulations thereunder, the provisions of that other Act or the regulations thereunder shall prevail.