Nova Scotia is vowing to crack down on animal cruelty.

The province is promising new laws and tougher penalties, but isn’t saying exactly what they will be.

“One of the most noticeable gaps is a lack of regulations, so, for instance, our legislation shows you what is incorrect, what is wrong, but it doesn’t show you how to be compliant,” says Kristin Williams, director of the Nova Scotia SPCA.

The NDP says updated laws will better protect animals and stiffen penalties for abusers.

“We’ve heard from different advocacy groups,” says NDP MLA Mat Whynott. “We’ve heard from everyday Nova Scotians and we’re going to move forward on this.”

Many pet owners say it’s time for change, as Nova Scotia’s fines for animal cruelty don’t stand up to the rest of the country.

“It’s like, no big deal. A slap on the wrist,” says one pet owner. “No matter how cruel you are, it seems it is not going to be a big deal in regards to punishment.”

“I think it’s a great idea. I don’t think there is enough going on to make a difference,” says another.

The Department of Agriculture hasn’t released any details on how Nova Scotia’s animal cruelty laws will change, but the government says tougher penalties will be introduced this spring.

“Pets in general, and dogs in particular, give so much to their owners and ask so little so they deserve to be treated with kindness,” says dog owner Christine Lemieux.

Williams says the SPCA is working with the government to develop what will soon become law.

“I think it’s a bold commitment. I am excited government is making this move. I think it’s needed.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl