Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

July 22, 2015 13:09 ET

New Law Enhances Protection for Law Enforcement, Service and Military Animals

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) Now in Force

RICHMOND HILL, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 22, 2015) - Department of Justice Canada

Today, Member of Parliament for Richmond Hill Costas Menegakis met with members of the York Regional Police Canine Unit, St. John's Ambulance, and the CNIB to celebrate a new law aimed at denouncing and deterring the wilful harming of animals trained and being used to help police protect public safety and keep communities safe. The Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) received Royal Assent and came into force on June 23, 2015.

Quanto was an Edmonton Police Service dog that was stabbed to death while helping to apprehend a fleeing suspect in October 2013. Quanto had four years of decorated service and had participated in more than 100 arrests. The enactment of this legislation fulfills a commitment made by the Government in the October 2013 Speech from the Throne to enact legislation in honour of the daily risks taken by police officers and their service animals.

The legislation also enhances protection for specially trained service animals that assist persons with disabilities, such as guide dogs for the blind, as well as those that aid members of the Canadian Armed Forces in carrying out their duties.

Quick Facts

  • This legislation has created a new Criminal Code offence specifically prohibiting the wilful injuring or killing of animals that are trained to aid law enforcement officers, persons with disabilities or the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • The maximum penalty for this new offence is five years' imprisonment.
  • Those who wilfully kill a law enforcement animal while the animal is aiding a law enforcement officer in carrying out that officer's duties now face a mandatory minimum sentence of six months' imprisonment in cases where the offence is prosecuted by indictment.
  • If a law enforcement officer is assaulted or a law enforcement animal is injured or killed while on duty, the sentence for that offence must be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed on the offender arising out of the same event.

Quotes

"Quanto's Law may have been named in honour of a police service dog in Edmonton, but it recognizes the important risks that all law enforcement animals face daily as they help police keep our communities safe - including animals like a Toronto police horse named Brigadier, who had to be put down in 2006 after being deliberately struck and seriously injured in a hit-and-run incident. This law will help to denounce and deter such incidents in the future by imposing serious penalties on people who wilfully harm a law enforcement animal."

Costas Menegakis, MP for Richmond Hill

"Law enforcement animals risk their lives to help police enforce the law and keep our communities safe on a daily basis. Service animals are also often at risk as they help persons with disabilities such as blindness and post-traumatic stress disorder lead fulfilling, independent lives. I am pleased that Quanto's Law is now in force and will enhance protection for these important service animals, as well as for animals that aid members of the Canadian Armed Forces in carrying out their duties. This new legislation will help to ensure that those who wilfully harm such an animal face serious consequences."

Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Related Products

Backgrounder: Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law)

Associated Links

- Speech from the Throne

- RCMP Police Dog Service Training Centre

- Valour Row - Canadian Police Canine Association

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Backgrounder

JUSTICE FOR ANIMALS IN SERVICE ACT (QUANTO'S LAW)

In October, 2013, a German shepherd dog named Quanto was stabbed to death in Edmonton as he and his handler, a constable with Edmonton Police Services, tried to apprehend a man who had fled in a car with stolen plates.

Later that month, the Government made a commitment in the Speech from the Throne to introduce a law to honour Quanto and to recognize risks taken by police officers and their service animals daily.

The Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) was introduced in Parliament as Bill C-35 on May 12, 2014. After being passed by both Houses of Parliament, it received Royal Assent and came into force on June 23, 2015.

In addition to recognizing the risks taken by police officers and their service animals, this legislation extends specific protection to animals trained to help persons with disabilities (for example, guide dogs that assist persons with visual impairments), as well as military animals that aid members of the Canadian Armed Forces in carrying out their duties.

Law Enforcement and Service Animals

Dogs are the animals most often trained and used to assist law enforcement officers and persons with disabilities. However, other kinds of animals can also be trained and used as law enforcement animals or service animals to assist people with disabilities. For example, several police forces use horses. These are all protected under Quanto's Law.

Canine units support frontline officers and investigative units in several ways, including tracking suspects who have fled on foot, apprehending criminals, and searching for missing persons, evidence or dangerous materials such as explosives.

Within the federal government, law enforcement animals are primarily used by the RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency and Correctional Services Canada.

  • The RCMP currently has 168 police service dogs allocated across Canada: 145 are general duty profile dogs and 21 are detection profile dogs. They are used to help find lost persons, track criminals, and search for items such as narcotics, explosives and crime scene evidence. Police Dog Service teams are situated in strategic locations across Canada to provide services to communities. In addition to the RCMP, provincial and municipal police services across Canada have integrated police service dogs into their everyday service delivery in our communities.
  • Canada Border Services Agency generally has about 50 dog-and-handler teams that help to detect contraband drugs and firearms, undeclared currency, and food, plant and animal products.
  • Correctional Services Canada uses dogs to help stop the flow of illicit drugs and contraband into federal correctional institutions. They currently have 99 dog-and-handler teams across Canada.

Offence provisions

Quanto's Law created a new offence in section 445.1 of the Criminal Code, specifically prohibiting the killing or wounding of animals that have been trained and are being used to help law enforcement officers, persons with disabilities or the Canadian Armed Forces.

It is a "hybrid" offence because it provides the options of prosecuting the offence by indictment, or by summary conviction.

The maximum sentence upon indictment is five years in prison. Where a law enforcement animal is wilfully killed and the offence is prosecuted by indictment, there is a mandatory minimum penalty of six months in prison. The mandatory sentence would not apply if it can be shown, for example, that the killing of the animal was accidental rather than intentional.

If a law enforcement officer is assaulted or a law enforcement animal is injured or killed while on duty, the sentence for that offence would be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed on the offender arising out of the same event.

Contact Information

  • Clarissa Lamb
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Justice
    613-992-4621

    Media Relations Office
    Department of Justice
    613-957-4207