OSPCA To End Enforcement Services

The OSPCA’s role in animal cruelty calls will soon be changing.  

The agency has told the provincial government it will no longer provide enforcement services after March 31st, instead leaving front-line enforcement to police and having OSPCA officers play a supporting role. 

OSPCA spokesperson Allison Cross tells Star 96.7 this is based on a recent Supreme Court ruling which indicated that the charity should not be focusing on law enforcement work.

However, she says they also need to take safety into account.

“The Ontario SPCA officers aren’t connected with the police services’ information, so we get called to a cruelty investigation concern and we don’t know what’s behind that door”, Cross told Star 96.7. 

“There could be somebody that could cause serious harm”.

Future Focus

Going forward, OSPCA officers will focus on and expand their role in supporting cruelty investigations, such as gathering forensics, providing care, helping with re-homing services and providing rescue support during disasters or emergencies. 

"We're actually going to be expanding more resources within the organization", Cross said, noting that enforcement is only about 20% of what the OSPCA offers.

"One area we're expanding is called SPCA Animal Rescue.  That's where we'd send a team to provide urgent animal care resources when there's been a natural disaster, or a community crisis that might require support for the animals", Cross said.

"This could include a hurricane, a fire, maybe a hoarding situation in a community where municipal animal control needs support, or housing for a large number of animals", she added.

The agency does not foresee any job losses because of this.

More "Mission Focused" For Rural Areas

In rural areas such as Renfrew County, Cross says police are often the first ones to respond to an animal cruelty call, so there are instances where the OSPCA has already played a supporting role.

"We want to serve the animals more; we're more mission-focused, and this allows us to do that", Cross said.

She says the bottom line is that in all instances going forward, they need to focus on their area of expertise right across the province.

“We can't put our officers into those situations for fear that they might get killed”, Cross said.

"We want to leave that, enforcement services, to the police who have those resources, who have the protection to protect themselves".