PROVINCE INTRODUCES NEW LEGISLATION THAT WOULD PROHIBIT USING ANIMALS TO SHIELD UNLAWFUL ACTIVITY
– – – Offenders Will Face Fines, Possible Jail Time: Swan
Manitoba has introduced new legislation that would prohibit using animals to protect property where unlawful activity is occurring, Justice Minister Andrew Swan announced today.
“Animals that pose a safety risk to people entering a property can be used to guard illegal drug operations, properties where stolen or illegal items are stored and other places where people are carrying on unlawful activities,” said Swan. “Animals should not be used as barriers to prevent detection and suppression of unlawful activity and we must not allow offenders to hide behind them.”
Existing legislation such as the Fortified Buildings Act already allows orders forcing the removal of barricades and other obstacles that could pose a risk to public safety by interfering with an emergency responder or law enforcement official’s ability to access a building. This new legislation would target people using animals to guard or block access by law enforcement or emergency responders to property where illegal activity is taking place.
Under proposals introduced today, it would be an offence for a person who is committing an unlawful act on a property to use an animal to protect that property. The proposed legislation would not apply to every animal, but is targeted to animals that pose a threat to people who enter the property, based upon the species or breed of the animal, its size and temperament, its location on or within the property and whether it is confined or restrained in some way.
People who would be convicted of the new offence would face a fine of up to $5,000, a jail sentence of up to three months or both a fine and jail time.