Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
MLA wants rules to curb puppy mills
April 23, 2012 BC Local News
North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Jane Thornthwaite (right) is joined by dog owners at the B.C. legislature Monday to unveil her proposed legislation regulating pet breeders. Tom Fletcher/Black Press
VICTORIA – North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Jane Thornthwaite has proposed new legislation to regulate commercial dog and cat breeding.
Thornthwaite introduced a private members' bill Monday that would set standards of care for breeders with three or more female dogs or cats of reproductive age. The bill specifies daily feedings, as well as minimum standards for sanitation, shelter, and transportation.
The bill sets a maximum of three litters in three years for each mother animal, and a lifetime maximum of six litters. Breeders would be required to wean puppies or kittens onto solid food by seven weeks of age before they can be sold or "rehomed."
Thornthwaite said B.C.'s current Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act isn't specific enough to deal with unscrupulous operators of "puppy mills" who abuse breeding animals for profit. The current legislation prohibits owners from causing animals "to be in distress" and empowers the SPCA to inspect and enforce the law.
The new regulations will give the SPCA more authority to regulate or shut down breeding operations that don't meet the standards, she said. "What happens now is that a lot of these dogs and cats are just bred over and over again," Thornthwaite said. "The animals are taken away from their parents much too soon."
The proposed changes are supported by the pet industry's national association and B.C. Environment Minister Terry Lake, a veterinarian. But Thornthwaite isn't assured of government support, since hers is one of several private members' bills that compete for attention in the legislature.
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