The British Columbia government’s latest action to target irresponsible dog and cat breeders in British Columbia is legislation introduced by Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick that will, if passed, provide a framework for the licensing and/or registration of commercial breeders of cats and dogs.
- an external agency, designated by future regulation, will administer the system
- the agency’s inspectors will be responsible for inspecting and enforcing relevant standards of care
- inspectors will be able to apply for a warrant to enter a residence, if the owner’s consent is not provided
- breeders found to be engaging in irresponsible practices may be subject to administrative actions, including having their license or registration suspended or cancelled
- operators will be able to request a review or reconsideration of the administrative actions taken against them.
Following the SPCA’s removal of dogs and animals from Lower Mainland breeders, the B.C. government committed to improving conditions at commercial cat and dog breeders. Other recent animal welfare action includes the 2016 adoption of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s Codes of Practice for kennel and cattery operations that provide guidance through generally accepted practices of animal management, including housing, ventilation, food and water, care and supervision, record-keeping, behavioural needs, socialization and transportation, and the provision of $10 million to the SPCA since 2015 to renovate or replace animal care facilities in communities around the province.
Norm Letnick, Minister of Agriculture –
“The partnership the B.C. government and the BC SPCA have built continues to strengthen animal welfare in British Columbia, including around the breeding of our most common family pets. The framework for the licensing and registration of commercial breeders of cats and dogs in B.C. is the latest step in our efforts to develop a system that ensures puppies and kittens in B.C. are treated with the care and respect they deserve. Our intent is clear: we want a system that is supported by the responsible breeders in B.C. and targets the ones that aren’t.”
Craig Daniell, chief executive officer, BC SPCA –
“We are thrilled to see the provincial government take this important step towards the creation of an inspection system for dog and cat breeders in B.C. We are pleased to see our input reflected in this legislation and are excited to see this new chapter open for B.C. animal welfare.”
Catherine King, Splendent Standard Poodles –
“Responsible breeders appreciate the time, thought and effort the provincial government is putting forth to eliminate puppy mills. It is a very complicated issue. The new legislation and future regulations will have to be carefully developed so that only the puppy millers are targeted – we need to ensure that we are not negatively impacting ethical and responsible breeders. I applaud the government for trying to tackle this contentious issue by involving a variety of experienced stakeholders. It will be a tough journey but such a worthwhile cause.”
- B.C.’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act has one of the toughest provincial penalties in Canada.
- Under B.C.’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, action can be taken against anyone who causes distress to an animal in British Columbia.
- The maximum penalties that can be levied under provincial legislation against a person for causing distress to an animal is $75,000 and up to 24 months imprisonment.
- The B.C. government encourages the reporting of any events which may be in contravention of those laws and regulations so they can be fully investigated.
2016 details on the adoption of code of practices for commercial cat and dog breeders: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016AGRI0007-000259
Details on funding support for the SPCA’s care facilities: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017AGRI0024-000214