© Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News
Eight-year-old Kathleen Sproul, who is from Maccan, took time out to hug some cats and kittens Monday at the L.A. Animal Shelter. Kathleen, who often volunteers at the shelter, was there to visit her new kitten, Moe, which she will get to take home any day now.
AMHERST - The government of Nova Scotia recently introduced amendments to the Animal Protection Act that could be some of the toughest in Canada.
The new amendments provide guidelines as to what constitutes abuse and stress for an animal.
"The message we want to get out there is that abusing animals is wrong and it will not be tolerated," said agriculture minister John MacDonell. "This government started making changes to the Animal Protection Act in 2009 and...we are taking further steps that will strengthen penalties for animal abusers, making them among the stiffest in the country."
The amendments also make it an offence to commercially sell a dog whose health has not been certified by a veterinarian.
"This step, the first of its kind in the country, is an additional tool that will help address the issue of puppy mills and focuses on sellers that are not ensuring the health and protection of their dogs," added MacDonell.
The amendments expand the definition of distress for an animal, making it easier for SPCA investigators to do their job.
Tanya Sparling, who owns and operates the Amherst Veterinary Hospital welcomes the amendments but also has concerns.
"Any change to the animal protection act that involves more monitoring and stiffer penalties is an improvement," said Sparling. "Any change that moves towards us giving further acknowledgment to animals as thinking and feeling creatures is a good move.
"I do, however, have concerns that the SPCA will not have the infrastructure and resources available to enforce these changes if they do come about."