Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


MLA wants law to target puppy mills

January 13, 2012 Times Colonist

Provincial legislation is needed to regulate dog breeders and control puppy mills, says North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Jane Thornthwaite, who will submit a private member's bill to the legislature this spring.

"I would like to have some sort of regulatory standard for breeders so puppy mills or unscrupulous breeders, who are not treating their animals humanely, are put out of business," Thornthwaite said. Private members' bills are a longshot, admitted Thornthwaite, the owner of an extra-large Labradoodle named Maximus.

However, with similar legislation in place in Manitoba and New Brunswick, she hopes the time is right to put teeth into rules governing breeders. "We do know this is a problem and we hear some really sad stories about dogs that are bred over and over again in inhumane conditions," Thornthwaite said.

The B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is investigating reports that underage and sickly puppies are being shipped out of northern B.C. communities to Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. Marcie Moriarty, SPCA general manager of cruelty investigations, said lack of legislation covering breeders makes investigations more of a challenge.

Thornthwaite, whose bill is still in the consultation stage, said some municipalities are trying to deal with the problem, but a provincial umbrella is needed. In areas such as Richmond, which does not allow puppies to be sold in pet stores, the problem has moved to adjacent communities, she said.

Louis McCann, executive director of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada, a not-for-profit group that advocates on behalf of the pet industry, said it would very much like to see such legislation in B.C.

Regulations requiring pet stores, shelters, breeders and kennels to be licensed were introduced in Manitoba and New Brunswick in 2010 and, by holding all pet establishments to the same standard, the legislation has improved animal care, McCann said. "The principle is that they issue licences on an annual basis and they are subject to inspections, so they have to meet the criteria," he said.

New Brunswick also catches online and classified sales by demanding that advertisements include a licence number, McCann said.

One holdup in B.C. is that the SPCA is not supportive of the sale of animals in pet stores, although, in other parts of Canada, some humane societies do support animal sales in reputable stores, McCann said. "Our position is that a good pet store is a good place to get an animal," he said. "But in all areas you find some facilities that are below par."

Anyone buying a puppy from a store or breeder should be given a health certificate signed by a veterinarian, and records should clearly show where the animal came from and include specifics about the parents, including health information, McCann said.

Buyers should also assess the cleanliness of the store or kennel, general health of animals and whether there are any indications the dogs are from a puppy mill, according to a checklist put together by the pet advisory council and other organizations.

"A puppy mill is defined as a high-volume, sub-standard dog breeding operation which sells purebred or mixed breed dogs to unsuspecting buyers," it says.

Comment: Carmina Gooch has been meeting with Jane and giving input that would also see rabbits included in the legislation. Cats will also be added. The public overwhelmingly supports her efforts. Please join the Coalition to Stop Companion Animal Sales in Pet Stores. Canadian rescue groups and shelters work tirelessly to help find homes for all the animals that arrive daily, a daunting task. Additionally, the sad stories that we hear from people who have bought sick cats, dogs, rabbits, and other critters from breeders, either directly or indirectly, is huge. Online sales have increased dramatically.

Animal advocates have tracked and reported breeders to the Canada Revenue Agency and other government agencies for years.  We’ve seen the considerable costs to society, both ethically and financially, by letting this issue slide. No more. Currently, Adopt BC is collecting as many stories as possible from people who have bought pets from one of the many Pet Habitats in BC. We want accountability.

Read more: BC pet stores receive complaints; Doggie World, Puppy Paradise under fire, new BC Bill M214 hits roadblock, reintroduced 2016; update 2017, 2019 system not set up

Pet Habitat, District of North Vancouver, new rabbit bylaws, come on Burnaby!  

Governments and SPCA failing all animals; Fraser Valley Auction violations; rampant abuses; taking action; letters