On July 24, 2015, the Justice for Animals in Service Act, or Quanto’s Law, was enacted as part of the federal animal cruelty provisions in the Criminal Code of Canada, making the harming or killing of police, military or other service animals a special offence.
The law's more common name is a memorial to Police Dog Quanto, a German shepherd with four years of service and more than 100 arrests to his name, who was killed on the job in Edmonton in 2013.
Paul Vukmanich, who killed Police Dog Quanto, was sentenced to 26 months in prison after pleading guilty to six charges in court, including one charge for killing the dog. But the short prison sentence was controversial and sparked a nationwide conversation about the need for specific laws to address service animal cruelty.
Humane Canada was proud to take a lead role in advocating for this law, and we’ve already seen charges being brought forward to discourage the assault and murder of service animals in Canada. The specifics of the law can be found below, including minimum/maximum sentences and applicable fines.
An Act to amend the Criminal Code (law enforcement animals, military animals and service animals)
This enactment amends the Criminal Code of Canada to better protect law enforcement animals, military animals and service animals and to ensure that offenders who harm those animals or assault peace officers are held fully accountable.
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
This Act may be cited as the Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto’s Law).
R.S., c. C-46 CRIMINAL CODE
The Criminal Code is amended by adding the following after section 270.02:
Marginal note: Sentences to be served consecutively
270.03 A sentence imposed on a person for an offence under subsection 270(1) or 270.01(1) or section 270.02 committed against a law enforcement officer, as defined in subsection 445.01(4), shall be served consecutively to any other punishment imposed on the person for an offence arising out of the same event or series of events.
The Act is amended by adding the following after section 445:
Marginal note: Killing or injuring certain animals
445.01 (1) Every one commits an offence who, wilfully and without lawful excuse, kills, maims, wounds, poisons or injures a law enforcement animal while it is aiding a law enforcement officer in carrying out that officer’s duties, a military animal while it is aiding a member of the Canadian Forces in carrying out that member’s duties or a service animal.
Marginal note: Punishment
(2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years and, if a law enforcement animal is killed in the commission of the offence, to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months or to both.
Marginal note:Sentences to be served consecutively
(3) A sentence imposed on a person for an offence under subsection (1) committed against a law enforcement animal shall be served consecutively to any other punishment imposed on the person for an offence arising out of the same event or series of events.
(4) The following definitions apply in this section.
"law enforcement animal"
« animal d’assistance policière »
"law enforcement animal" means a dog or horse that is trained to aid a law enforcement officer in carrying out that officer’s duties.
"law enforcement officer"
« agent de contrôle d’application de la loi »
"law enforcement officer" means a police officer, a police constable or any person referred to in paragraph (b), (c.1), (d), (d.1), (e) or (g) of the definition "peace officer" in section 2.
« animal d’assistance militaire »
"military animal" means an animal that is trained to aid a member of the Canadian Forces in carrying out that member’s duties.
« animal d’assistance »
"service animal" means an animal that is required by a person with a disability for assistance and is certified, in writing, as having been trained by a professional service animal institution to assist a person with a disability.
The Act is amended by adding the following after section 718.02:
Marginal note: Objectives — offence against certain animals
718.03 When a court imposes a sentence for an offence under subsection 445.01(1), the court shall give primary consideration to the objectives of denunciation and deterrence of the conduct that forms the basis of the offence.