Today in the legislature I had the great pleasure of introducing Denis Canuel. Denis runs a professional gardening business here on southern Vancouver Island. He was the recent victim of a vicious dog attack featured in the Saanich News.
Later in the afternoon I introduced my private member’s Bill M212 — Animal Liability Act, 2016. Based on similar legislation in Manitoba, this Bill will ensure that owners of animals are held liable for the actions of their animals. Below I reproduce the text and video of my introduction of the Bill. I append our media release at the end.
A. Weaver: I move introduction of the Animal Liability Act, 2016.
A. Weaver: I’m pleased to be introducing a bill intituled the Animal Liability Act. Earlier this year a number of vicious dog attacks occurred in the Lower Mainland. Over the years, British Columbians have called on B.C. legislators to act.
According to the Canada Safety Council, more than 460,000 dog bites occur in Canada each year. Just last week, there was a case of unprovoked dog attack reported in Saanich, an attack that nearly left an individual without his employment for years to come. In this case, the dog was a repeat offender.
Here in B.C., we do not have adequate laws that ensure owners are liable for the actions of their animals. Indeed, we only have liability being imposed on the basis of scienter doctrine, negligence or, in some cases, the occupier’s liability act.
This bill would ensure that owners are liable for any damages resulting from harm that the animals cause to a person or property. This bill, based on similar legislation that exists in Manitoba, is designed to ensure that owners of animals take their ownership seriously and are held responsible for the actions of their pets.
I move that the bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
Bill M212, Animal Liability Act, 2016 introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
Media Release: April 6, 2016
Andrew Weaver – Legislation needed to ensure responsible pet ownership in B.C.
For Immediate Release
Victoria B.C. – Today Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, tabled legislation that would ensure pet owners are held responsible for the actions of their animals.
“Thousands of people are bitten by dogs in B.C. each year,” says Weaver. “While provinces like Ontario and Manitoba have enacted legislation to ensure that public safety is put first, BC is falling behind. We need appropriate measures in place to hold the owners of dangerous pets to account.”
Weaver introduced the Animal Liability Act, 2016, which is modeled on Manitoba’s legislation, to make owners directly liable for any damages caused by their pets. The Bill would not apply to damages caused by livestock.
“As it currently stands, when someone gets bitten by a dog the options available for legal recourse hinge on the dog having a previous history of violence. That’s simply not enough,” says Weaver. “This legislation does not affect the vast majority of caring, responsible pet owners. It targets negligent pet owners who are not appropriately socializing, training, or restraining their animals in public places.”
“In most instances I would expect this legislation to be used in situations where an irresponsible owner fails to take appropriate precautions and their violent dog attacks someone. If someone happened to have a particularly aggressive cougar, llama or emu and they let it run around biting people, however, it would certainly apply,” Weaver added. “We need clear liability legislation so that owners are required to ensure their pets behave safely and are held to account if their pet does behave in a dangerous manner.”
Mat Wright – Press Secretary Andrew Weaver MLA
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