June 29, 2019 2:59 pm

Humane Society London and Middlesex launches new animal protection division

Human Society London and Middlesex will be temporarily responding to animal cruelty complaints in the area.

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The Humane Society London and Middlesex (HSLM) has launched a new division in response to changes from the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA).

In March, the OSPCA informed the Ontario government it would no longer investigate and enforce animal cruelty laws. The province was also given a three-month transition phase, with the OSPCA relinquishing its duties as of June 28.

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READ MORE: OSPCA informs Ontario government it will no longer enforce animal cruelty laws

The HSLM animal protection division has now taken over from the OSPCA and will continue investigation and enforcement duties for London and Middlesex County as well as Elgin and Oxford counties.

HSLM executive director Steve Ryall says the temporary division will last for six months while the Ontario government develops a new animal welfare act.

“We’ll continue to provide the amazing service that our officers always had… but with this change, we have the ability now to add more officers to our team,” Ryall said.

“We’ll be able to get to more calls faster and quicker.”

READ MORE: Ontario government takes steps to allow humane societies to enforce animal cruelty laws

Ryall added that the new division comes at no cost for the HSLM.

“The government is actually directly funding the project. That is something that will actually alleviate the strain on the Humane Society,” he said.

On Friday, Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones named a new chief inspector to oversee the provincewide temporary anti-cruelty enforcement regime.

Jones also announced the launch of a new 24-hour animal-cruelty hotline.

Residents can call 1-833-9ANIMAL with cruelty concerns.

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