Energy, Mines and Resources


Comment on proposed changes to the Pounds Act

The Pounds Act needs to be updated to harmonize with other legislation, and to meet current livestock control program requirements. The proposed amendments include:

  • a new definition of “animal;”
  • who can capture and contain animals and enforce the Pounds Act;
  • eliminating Yukon pounds districts and boundaries;
  • updating penalty options; and,
  • new methods for identifying impounded animals.

Please note that the Pounds Act does not include the care of domestic animals such as cats and dogs.

Public consultation

Public consultation on the amendments to the Pounds Act ended on August 11, 2017. Comments received are being compiled and will be considered prior to amending the Act. Thank you to those who submitted comments, a summary will be posted online once comments are compiled. 

Supporting documents:

Next steps:
General findings will be shared in a summary report and your comments will be considered in finalizing the amendments.

Privacy: Individual responses will only be used internally and will be combined anonymously with others in all public reports.

A new definition of “animal”

The current situation:
The current definition of animal in the amended Highways Act has species not included under the Pounds Act. It also doesn’t allow for new species to Yukon that might need to be included in the future.

In the Highways Act, “animal” means

  1. alpacas, cattle, donkeys, geese, goats, horses, llamas, mules, sheep, and swine,
  2. game farm animals as defined in the Game Farm Regulations made under the Wildlife Act, and
  3. any other animal set out in the regulations."

Proposed changes:

  • A single definition of “animal.” This will remove potential gaps in service when an authority under the Highways Act wants to contain a species that is not allowed to be accepted by the pounds keeper under the Pounds Act.
  • The Minister will have the ability to amend the definition of “animal” to add new species to the list. Officials will be able to impound any kind of livestock that could be causing a nuisance to property owners or are a hazard on Yukon highways.

Who can capture and contain animals and enforce the Pounds Act

The current situation:
Roles for capturing and containing animals and roles for enforcing the Pounds Act are outdated.

Proposed changes: 

  • The Department of Energy, Mines and Resources would appoint livestock control officers who would enforce the Pounds Act.
  • Pound keepers currently have the ability to issue tickets. They are not Government of Yukon employees and have no ticketing or enforcement training so it is proposed that other enforcement officers or livestock control officers take on this role.

Eliminating Yukon pounds districts and boundaries

The current situation:
We can only respond to reports of stray or feral livestock within districts and boundaries. This can create hazards on Yukon highways as government can’t always take action when animals are reported outside of these boundaries. This will also improve the government’s ability to reunite livestock with owners.

Proposed changes:

  • Establish the Pounds Act as applying throughout Yukon.
  • One pound facility will be maintained near Whitehorse.
  • Keep the authority to create other pounds as needed.

Updating penalty options

The current situation:

Many livestock owners have chosen jail over paying fines. Fines are currently $100 for the first offense, $300 for a second offence within 3 years and $500 for each subsequent offense within 3 years. This is a severe outcome for the owner, is onerous for the government and it can result in further livestock care issues.

Proposed changes:
We want to establish other penalty options that will help owners keep their livestock safe. These could include: community service, an investment in fencing, posting a bond to ensure compliance, agreeing to inspection, prohibition on ownership or a single fine not exceeding $1,000. The outcomes from these penalties would be more appropriate for offenders, animals and government.

New methods for identifying impounded animals

The current situation:

Pounds keepers have the authority to mark impounded animals with tattoos or tags. This way of identifying animals is outdated and can be dangerous for the animal and pound keeper.

Proposed change:
We would like to change the language so animals can be identified and documented by methods like photography.

About the Pounds Act

The practice of free-ranging livestock no longer occurs in Yukon. Livestock control has consisted of removing stray and feral animals from highway corridors. Under the Pounds Act, the Government of Yukon appoints a pounds keeper to operate a pound to contain stray or feral animals.

There have been a number of changes within government that have affected the application and administration of the Act since 1987. These include:

  • Updating the Highways Act and the Animal Protection Act
  • Creating the Animal Health Unit in 2010
  • Creating an Animal Protection Officer position in 2015.

The proposed amendments to the Pounds Act will clarify administration of the act and reflect changes to government department roles with respect to livestock control.

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