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Quanto’s Law: Providing Stricter Sentences for Harming Service Animals

On July 22nd Quanto’s Law, a new federal law passed in Canada, offers stricter sentences to anyone found guilty of purposely killing Police Animals, Service Animals and Military Animals.

Quanto as a Puppy

Quanto the Edmonton Police Dog as a Puppy

In October 2013, an Edmonton Police Dog named Quanto, was stabbed to death while chasing down a 27 year old suspect by the name of Paul Joseph Vukmanich. The man pleaded guilty to six charges, including killing Quanto (animal cruelty), and was sentenced to 26 months in prison. At the time he was also prohibited from owning a pet for 25 years. During his time in duty, Quanto was responsible for 100 arrests.

However, following Quanto’s death, there was a lot of outcry as many did not feel that Vukmanich’s sentence was sufficient. People wanted to see stiffer laws put in place should an incident like this ever happen again. 7 months following this plea the Conservatives, lead by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, agreed to work on a law that would better protect Service Animals. This July 22nd Bill C-35, also referred to as Quanto’s Law, was officially put into effect.

Bill C-35 in the Criminal Code of Canada, titled Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto’s Law), now states, “this enactment amends the Criminal Code to better protect law enforcement animals, military animals and service animals and to ensure offenders who harm those animals or assault peace officers are held fully accountable.”

With Bill C-35 in place, there is now a minimum 6 months and maximum 5 year prison sentence, for any human convicted of killing, maiming, wounding, poisoning or injuring Police Animals, Service Animals and Military Animals. This law recognizes that any harm done to Service Animals, is not only economically costly, but also socially and emotionally pressing. Quanto’s Law recognizes, that harm done to Service Animals is similar to harming human peace officers, in the sense that Canada considers killing or assaulting these individuals a more serious offense than the same crime done to a civilian. This law will look at Service Animals in the same light and will consider crimes against them more weighty than the same acts committed to a pet.

Quanto the Edmonton Police Dog

Quanto the Edmonton Police Dog Killed on Duty

Many were extremely estastic to see this law be put into place including Tim Uppal, the Federal Minister of State for Multiculturalism in Canada who was reported as saying, “this sends a strong message to anyone that…to injure or kill a service animal in the line of duty will be met with very serious consequences. They’re there to protect us and we should be protecting them.”

 

 

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Comments

  • Cathy Spade September 16, 2015

    We also need better laws enacted and enforced to stop the out-of-control epidemic of fake and untrained or poorly trained (even dangerous) “service” dogs?

    Yet another pet has been badly mauled by a “service” dog (http://www.brunswickbeacon.com/content/service-dog-blamed-attack-outdoor-show). This incident appears to have been and attack by a real service dog, not a fake; but today anyone can claim their dog is a “service” dog. Are they really? Are they suitable, trained and SAFE dogs within the public arena? How does the general public know? How is the general public protected when they are NOT suitable, trained or safe? There is no government oversight of “service” dogs, no one the public can turn to for help. There are no regulations, no required registration or licensing, no standards for what qualifies as a disability or for necessary “tasks” required by a service dog. There are no testing requirements; there aren’t even honesty requirements. No one is even allowed to question/verify that a “service” dog is really trained and safe; or that the handler with the “service” dog really is the disabled person being served by the dog. And what qualifies a tasks as necessary for the disabled person – especially if it can easily be performed with other methods (not a dog)? I read a comment to an article recently in which a disabled man said he suffers from chronic pain and needs his “service” dog to defend him since he cannot defend himself. Is THAT really a legal ‘task’ for a “service” dog?! If so, then every woman and child in the country qualifies for toting a “service” attack dog with them everywhere they go. Are these “services” really in the interest of public safety?

    FOX ran a story a few months back about a veteran in NYC who was not permitted to get on a city bus with his Pit Bull “PTSD” dog. During his TV interview the vet claimed his dog was trained to push elevator buttons and open the refrigerator door to get him bottled water. He explained he had injured his left arm and couldn’t feel things very well with it. Yet he can use the arm and even grasp with his left hand; and during the TV interview he was vigorously petting and calming his dog with both hands/arms, and he was shown on video walking his pet while holding/controlling the leash with his injured arm/hand. Also during the TV interview he had to hold the dog in seated position between his knees to control the dog who was whining and getting anxious/impatient during the interview (the dog was not laying in a rest position or behaving as a trained/calm service dog – he required constant attention/calming by his handler).

    So, does pushing elevator buttons and getting bottles of water from the fridge really qualify as necessary tasks requiring a “service” dog; especially if the handler can still do these tasks with both their injured and their other uninjured arm? And, if a “service” dog requires strength and constant vigilance on the part of the handler to hold it back so it does not break away, or does not harm other people or pets, is that really a safe “service” dog? In fact, should any fighting type breed or guard type breed even be considered for use as “service” dogs for disabled persons in public? What if the dog “snaps” even after years of training as the Brunswick dog did; can the disabled person stop it from harming or killing someone/something? Thousands of people are suffering from trauma as a result of being attacked, or severely disfigured, or even lost a loved one who was killed by certain types of dogs – and this is not a thing of the past, it happens every year and the incidents are increasing not decreasing. Are you really being a good citizen by forcing that type of dog onto the public in the guise of “service” dog when there are hundreds of other dog breeds who are much less active/energetic, and not able or known to inflict severe carnage on people or pets if they do “snap”, and much better suited overall as service dogs?

    As a society we provide disabled persons special assistance and they absolutely deserve our compassion and help. But keep in mind that disabled persons are full members of society and like anyone else they are not excluded from being good citizens. All people must be considerate of others and we are all responsible for public safety. The general public & businesses are getting, with good reason, very suspicious and even frightened, of “service” dogs.

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