03/06/2012 05:52 EST | Updated 05/06/2012 05:12 EDT

SPCA to face greater scrutiny under B.C. bill that includes new appeal process

VICTORIA - The SPCA will face greater scrutiny in B.C. and animal owners will have a new way to appeal its actions under legislation introduced Tuesday.

Agriculture Minister Don McRae says he brought in the amendments to animal cruelty legislation to meet concerns raised by the public.

The legislation will allow animal owners to appeal an SPCA animal seizure to an independent tribunal instead of having to go to court.

The bill designates the B.C. Farm Industry Review Board as the appeal agency, and McRae says the board should be ready to hear appeals later this year.

He says the changes will result in a quicker and more cost-effective dispute-resolution process for animal owners and the SPCA.

The legislation will also require the SPCA to provide the government with statistics related to its enforcement of animal cruelty laws.