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.
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.
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.”