The BC SPCA is seeking the public’s support for a bill that would help stop animal fighting and expand the definition of bestiality to better protect animals from abuse.

Bill C-84, introduced by former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould in October, would amend sections 445.1(1)(b) and 447 of the Criminal Code.

These amendments would cover promoting, arranging and profiting off animal fighting, as well as breeding, training, or transporting an animal to fight.

It would criminalize owning an arena for the purpose of animal fighting, and close a loophole that prohibits but does not adequately define bestiality.

“One of the greatest challenges with Canada’s current law is that there are loopholes that, for instance, don’t adequately address brutal or heinous acts committed against an animal or consider instances of gross neglect,” says Marcie Moriarty, BC SPCA’s chief prevention and enforcement officer.

“Many are found not guilty, or are not charged or sentenced for what their crime truly deserves. There are more than 100,000 animal cruelty complaints every year across the country, and a small percentage of those lead to successful prosecutions.”

Bill C-84 will amend the definition of bestiality in section 160 of the Criminal Code to clarify that it involves any contact for a sexual purpose between a person and an animal. Once passed, it would allow judges to prohibit anyone convicted of bestiality from having animals in their custody.

The bill is in its third reading before the House of Commons, and the SPCA asks all Canadians to express their support for its passing by signing their petition and sending a letter to their MP.

Animal cruelty provisions in Canada’s criminal code have not been updated or revised since 1892.

Click here to sign the petition.