In the wake of two high-profile animal abuse cases, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark has revealed a new set of laws for animal breeders that Clark hopes will be in place in British Columbia by 2017.
Clark hopes that these new laws will effectively put animal abusers, such as those who run puppy mills, out of business. She added that starting this spring, the government will begin consulting with the British Columbia branch of the SPCA to figure out ways to take action against “irresponsible breeders.” The new laws will include requiring breeders within British Columbia to be registered and licensed with the province.
“With licensing comes inspection and with inspection comes high standards. Cruelty to animals in this province will not be tolerated. We love our pets. We love our animals in [British Columbia] and they are the most vulnerable members of this society.”
These new regulations come on the heels of two incredibly high-profile animal abuse cases found within the province.
On February 4, the British Columbia SPCA raided a puppy mill in Langley, British Columbia, and seized a total of 66 dogs — one of the largest puppy mill busts in the province, reports CBC News. According to Marcie Moriarty, the British Columbia SPCA’s chief enforcement officer, the raid resulted in a seizure of 34 puppies and 32 adult dogs that were found living in small crates, stacked one on top of another, in a small, unheated building. Dangerous levels of ammonia, resulting from an enormous build-up of dog urine, were also detected in he small building, says Craig Daniell of the British Columbia SPCA. Many of the malnourished dogs were found to have been abused, with broken legs, and missing ears and eyes.
“Many of the dogs were kept in small cramped and cracked crates and cages in dark unheated buildings with dangerously high ammonia levels.”
Last Tuesday, the SPCA seized a total of 84 animals, both cats and dogs, from a Surrey, British Columbia breeding and boarding facility. Two of the animals rescued, an adult cat and a kitten, had to be humanely euthanized mere hours after they were rescued, because they were in such serious condition.
In addition to the new laws that Clark hopes to put in place, she says British Columbia will also adopt a new regulation under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act for all breeding, kennel, and cattery operations, which include specific rules for housing, ventilation, sanitation, food and water, record keeping, and animal care. The regulation states that all animals held in breeding facilities or kennels in British Columbia receive prompt veterinary care at the first sign of sickness, that kennels and cages be cleaned on a daily basis, and that there be a minimum amount of space provided for each animal.
“If your desire to make money comes at the expense of animal welfare we don’t want you doing business here. You are not welcome in British Columbia.”
Clark says these new rules are not intended to cause harm to or problems for reputable breeders. Instead, they will actually help to protect their reputation. Currently, breeders do not need to be licensed in order to operate in British Columbia.
According to Metro News, Moriarty says the British Columbia SPCA investigates roughly 10,000 animal welfare and abuse complaints annually, and they serve around 150 warrants to disreputable breeders every single year.
Currently, the Canadian government does not regulate commercial breeders — reputable breeders will be registered with the Canadian Kennel Club — making British Columbia the first province in the country to hope to pass the need for a breeding license into law.
[Photo by Jason E. Miczek/AP Images for The Humane Society of the United States]