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Animal Welfare Reporting - Important Notice April 1, 2019

April 01, 2019

Every licensed veterinarian in Ontario has the important responsibility to report suspected animal abuse, suffering and/or neglect to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA).

The OSPCA, through the authority of that Act and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS), has investigated animal welfare matters related to all species until recently. This system is changing.

At this time the OSPCA will continue to take reports from veterinarians related to small animals (dogs, cats, etc.). A veterinarian concerned with the welfare of a horse or a farmed animal(s) must now report this to the police.

The government has provided notice to the police related to this change.

Large animal veterinarians should take note that they may receive a call from the police to provide expert assistance in a reported equine or farmed animal welfare case. A veterinarian is not obligated by law to assist; however, the sharing of veterinary expertise will be greatly valued and respected in these circumstances.

Police have resources, including the “Find a Veterinarian” tool at to identify a local veterinarian or contacting OMAFRA’s Office of the Chief Veterinarian for other assistance.

This is an interim solution. The entire animal welfare system is under review in Ontario and further changes are expected. The College will keep its licensed members apprised by periodic electronic notices.