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Law Maven
Law Maven, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
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Experience:  Lawyer & Instructor at Algonquin Careers Academy
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Within the Livestock Act of Ontario does a caretaker of

Customer Question

within the Livestock Act of Ontario does a caretaker of horses have the legal right to ascertain veterinary services Without Consent of the owner as acting agent on behalf of the owner?
Can you provide specific law regarding this issue?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Law Maven replied 1 year ago.

Hello – my name is***** am a lawyer in Ontario, and I’ll be happy to help with your question today.

Unfortunately the simple answer, which is that the Livestock acts do not deal with horses at all, is not particularly helpful. The five current Livestock acts are listed here, and they define livestock as cattle, sometimes including sheep or pigs, but not horses.

I am assuming that you are more concerned with finding a law that does apply, than with what the name of the law might be, and so I will do some research to see what I can find. There may well be something in terms of legislation specific to stables or boarding facilities, or something more general with respect to cruelty to animals and withholding treatment. Either way, I will get back to you within an hour or two.

Expert:  Law Maven replied 1 year ago.

Okay, it's a bit more complicated than I expected, because SOME of the livestock acts do include horses, but not in any useful way. The Act that gives a right to call a veterinarian for a horse that is under care (but not owned by the person making the call), is the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, RSO 1990, c O.36, <>.

The OSPCA Act says that there are:

Standards of care and administrative requirements for animals

11.1 (1) Every person who owns or has custody or care of an animal shall comply with the prescribed standards of care, and the prescribed administrative requirements, with respect to every animal that the person owns or has custody or care of. 2015, c. 10, s. 2.

  • Exception
  • (2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of,
  • (a) an activity carried on in accordance with reasonable and generally accepted practices of agricultural animal care, management or husbandry;

So a caretaker is obliged to follow the standards. In a very few cases it could be argued that there are generally accepted practices for the caretaker's agricultural business that would require something different. I don't think that would be a particularly good argument in most cases, since the generally accepted agricultural practices they're talking about are for animals being raised for food... and I'm assuming no one plans to eat the horse.

The next question is what are those "Basic standards of care for all animals" and the answer is found in Standards of Care, O Reg 60/09, <> which states:

  • 2. (1) Every animal must be provided with adequate and appropriate food and water.
  • (2) Every animal must be provided with adequate and appropriate medical attention.
  • (3) Every animal must be provided with the care necessary for its general welfare.

So if you take the two bits I've underlined, a caretaker of horses (or any other animal) does have the legal right to get veterinary services for that animal without the consent of the owner.

The only thing that would supplement the above, is if there is some form of contract between the owner and the caretaker that requires the caretaker to give notice to the owner before calling the vet. But at that point it would be more about giving the owner a choice of what vet to have come see the horse, rather than having no vet see the horse.

I hope I have fully answered your question, but please do not hesitate to ask for more information if needed. When you are satisfied with the answer, kindly provide me a positive rating so I can receive credit for my answer.

My answer here contains only general legal information and not legal advice. No solicitor/client relationship has been created by this communication.