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Canada OSPCA search and seizure powers being challenged in court today

12:56  16 may  2018
12:56  16 may  2018 Source:   cbc.ca

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An eastern Ontario man is going to court today , alleging the search and seizure powers granted to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ( OSPCA ) violate the Charter rights of Ontarians. Jeffrey Bogaerts — a paralegal and member of the Ontario Landowners Association — is

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a person holding a bag: Officers of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) are granted police powers to enforce animal cruelty laws, but an eastern Ontario man is going to court to argue that it's unconstitutional.© Ontario SPCA Officers of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) are granted police powers to enforce animal cruelty laws, but an eastern Ontario man is going to court to argue that it's unconstitutional.

An eastern Ontario man is going to court today, alleging the search and seizure powers granted to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) violate the Charter rights of Ontarians.

Jeffrey Bogaerts — a paralegal and member of the Ontario Landowners Association — is scheduled to appear in a Perth, Ont., courtroom Wednesday to challenge the powers of OSPCA officers, who can enter a private residence without a warrant and seize an animal.

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OSPCA search and seizure powers being challenged in court today | CBC News. An eastern Ontario man is set to appear in court today to argue the charter rights of people in the province are being violated by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ( OSPCA ), and that the

OSPCA search and seizure powers being challenged in … An eastern Ontario man is set to appear in court today to argue the charter rights of people in the province are being violated by the Ontario Society for the

In his application, Bogaerts alleges the powers the private charity is granted under Ontario's OSPCA Act violate the right to life, liberty and security of the person, and that the OSPCA should be subject to provincial scrutiny.

And in what might at first appear to be incongruous, the national animal rights group Animal Justice — an intervener in the court case — agrees with Bogaerts that the OSPCA needs oversight.

a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Lawyer Kurtis Andrews (pictured) is representing Jeffrey Bogaerts, who argues the Charter rights of animal owners in Ontario are being violated by the sweeping enforcement powers granted to the OSPCA.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Lawyer Kurtis Andrews (pictured) is representing Jeffrey Bogaerts, who argues the Charter rights of animal owners in Ontario are being violated by the sweeping enforcement powers granted to the OSPCA.

'The law should be overseen by the government'

Bogaerts declined an interview with CBC News and referred all questions to his lawyer, Kurtis Andrews.

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Search and Seizure is a procedure used in many civil law and common law legal systems by which police or other authorities and their agents, who, suspecting that a crime has been committed, commence a search of a person's property and confiscate any relevant evidence found in connection

“ Search and seizure ,” that which is defined as the examination and investigation of material assets of a person in order to garner causes for illegality, takes its origins from the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

"The enforcement of animal welfare laws should not be delegated to a private organization," Andrews said. "The law should be overseen by the government, so we need to have accountability and transparency in the enforcement of animal welfare laws, like we have for every other law in the province."

OSPCA investigators have police-like powers but aren't subject to Ontario's Police Services Act, which governs police conduct. And since it's not a government agency, the OSPCA is also not subject to freedom-of-information laws and can't be investigated by Ontario's ombudsman.

"That's a problem and we feel that's wrong," Andrews said. "The organization is so insulated from all these safeguards, and that can mean anybody that's affected by them can feel very, very powerless."

Bogaerts not personally involved with OSPCA

Bogaerts has never personally been inspected or investigated by the OSPCA, but two years ago a judge granted him standing to proceed with his case in the public interest despite the Attorney General's attempt to have it dismissed.

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OSPCA search and seizure powers being challenged in court today | CBC News. An eastern Ontario man is set to appear in court today to argue the charter rights of people in the province are being violated by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ( OSPCA ), and that the

There are many search and seizure cases that shaped the process concerning schools. The Supreme Court applied the “special needs” exception to a The court also concluded in that ruling that a school has the power to implement a certain amount of control and supervision over students that would be

Andrews pointed to other people who have come up against OSPCA officers, including Jessica Johnson, a retired postal worker from a small community near Brockville called Lyndhurst.

In 2011, OSPCA agents entered the then-64-year-old part-time dog breeder's home through a bedroom window after she was accused of failing to comply with a court order to fix the teeth of one of her dogs.

Johnson, who was on a fixed income, said she couldn't afford to see dentist herself, let alone one for her pet.

The case garnered widespread attention when high-profile Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby took on her case, and she eventually lost.

"The court now will decide if the current search and seizure powers are in accordance with the Charter," Andrews said.

a person posing for the camera: Lawyer and Animal Justice executive director Camille Labchuk says the Ontario government, not a private charity, should enforce Ontario animal rights laws.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Lawyer and Animal Justice executive director Camille Labchuk says the Ontario government, not a private charity, should enforce Ontario animal rights laws.

Animal Justice 'neutral' on Charter argument

Last month, a judge granted Animal Justice intervener status in Bogaerts's case to provide context on animal welfare laws.

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Search and seizure law today is built around three key questions. All police searches and seizures are subject to legal challenge , but the challenge ordinarily comes after the fact. The basic structure of search and seizure law seems fairly stable; large changes are unlikely, at least in the near future.

The law of search and seizure in Pennsylvania is controlled by both the United States Constitution and the broader protections of the Pennsylvania Constitution. This article is concerned only with the protections provided by the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice, said the group is "neutral" on the Charter argument and will ensure the perspective of animals is represented in court.

"In this day and age, when all other public laws are enforced by public bodies, [the fact] that we still leave animal offences to be enforced by a private charity is an anachronism," Labchuk said.

She added it's difficult to say whether OSPCA agents are doing a good job because "there is a vacuum of information."

But while Bogaerts and Andrews say the enforcement of animal cruelty laws is heavy-handed, Labchuk feels enforcement should be strengthened.

"Animals are members of our society and they are not simply objects but thinking and feeling individuals," she said. "It's very critically important for the OSPCA to have broad powers to do searches of people's property due to the unique concept of animals as victims of crime, because they are kept and live their lives typically behind closed doors."

Labchuk doesn't think her group and Bogaerts's case make an odd pairing, considering they agree that public laws should be enforced by the province and not a private charity.

"To me it's very interesting that we see two sides on the opposite end of the spectrum agreeing on this one issue," she said. "It says there is a consensus developing in Ontario that our system needs to change, and we need to bring in, perhaps, an animal police force that is government-run and is accountable and transparent."

The Ontario Superior Court hearing in Perth is scheduled for one day and it's expected the judge will make a final decision at a later date.

Andrews said he hopes the judge will rule that some sections of the OSPCA Act should have "no force or effect," and that if that happens, the government would be given time to rewrite the legislation.

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