10/09/2014 02:09 EDT | Updated 12/09/2014 05:59 EST

Nova Scotia to make it illegal to abandon pets in effort to boost protection

HALIFAX - It would be an offence to abandon pets in Nova Scotia under amendments to the province's Animal Protection Act.

A veterinarian's certificate of health would also be needed to sell cats in the province.

Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell says cats would also be specifically added to the list of animals that are protected from abuse under the act.

The act already covers non-human vertebrates.

Colwell says standards of care for cats and dogs and a definition of what constitutes abandonment have not been finalized but they will be set out in regulations under the legislation.

The legislation would also give the minister the authority to appoint organizations or interested municipalities to enforce the act.