Legislation strengthens animal welfare protection
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.
Proposed amendments to B.C.’s Prevention to Cruelty of Animals Act would enable the B.C. government to regulate commercial breeders through either a registration or licensing system that will help ensure commercial cat and dog breeders in British Columbia are treating animals with the respect and care they deserve.
“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,” said Norm Letnick, Minister of Agriculture.
“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.”
While the details of the licensing or registration system will be defined by future regulation, the proposed amendments establish:
- 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.
““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.,” said Craig Daniell, chief executive officer, BC SPCA.
“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.”
The proposed legislation follows consultation with key stakeholders, including the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Canadian Kennel Club, Canadian Cat Association, individual breeders and local governments that found broad support for the development of a registration or licensing system that would help stop irresponsible commercial breeders.
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.
- 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.