[MEDIA RELEASE] Legislation needed to ensure responsible pet ownership in B.C.

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.”

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Media contact
Mat Wright, Press Secretary
Office of Andrew Weaver, MLA
1 250 216 3382
mat.wright@greenparty.bc.ca

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