New Democrat bill would help protect animals in distress

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VICTORIA— New Democrat MLA, Selina Robinson, introduced a bill that would help prevent animals from suffering or dying in vehicles during the heat of summer.

“We cannot have another summer with animals dying while left alone in hot vehicles, it is time to act,” said Robinson. “The Christy Clark government said that they would possibly make changes this spring, but that has not happened, and that’s why I’m bringing forth this legislation myself. I sincerely hope the Christy Clark government will support this bill.”

Robinson introduced the Distressed Animals Act in the legislature on Tuesday and was joined by advocates from the BC SPCA in support of the proposed changes.

“In 2013, the BC SPCA received 850 calls regarding animals left in hot cars, and in 2014, they received well over 1,000 calls,” said Robinson. “The BC SPCA only has 26 special provincial constables working across B.C. and must liaise with the RCMP and municipal bylaw enforcement to respond to these urgent calls.”

The bill would amend the Community Charter and the Vancouver Charter permitting bylaw enforcement to seize animals in distress where there is inadequate ventilation in a vehicle and it amends the Motor Vehicle Act noting that a person commits an offence if they are transporting an animal without providing for adequate ventilation.

Robinson noted that the act has wide support at the municipal level and called on the Christy Clark government to move forward with it.

“These necessary changes would permit first responders to take immediate action and ensure more awareness and compliance so that our pets in British Columbia can be protected from the horrible death that can result from being left in a hot, unventilated vehicle,” said Robinson.