On October 5th at 6:35 p.m. 198 of Canada`s elected federal representatives voted down the first significant changes to the animal welfare laws since 1892. Bill C-246 known as the Modernizing Animal Protection would have helped bring Canada’s animal welfare laws into the 21st century and now we have to start over. It would have closed loopholes that more often than not, allow the raising and breeding of dogs in substandard breeding operations. This results in terrible suffering for dogs being bred, as well as poor health, welfare, and socialization of the puppies produced, which may lead to their relinquishment and euthanasia.
We fought hard for Bill C-246, which would have kept puppy mill owners from being convicted in one province and moving across the border to start their operations again, protected animals from sexual abuse and shut down dog fighting rings. This bill would have brought Canada’s animal cruelty laws into the 21st century but now we have to start over.
I am so disappointed. I sat in the public gallery last night and watched and I want to let you know it strengthened my resolve to be a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves and fight even harder to change these laws but I can’t do this work without you in our corner. Humane societies and SPCAs across Canada investigate an estimated 103,000 animal cruelty complaints each year and this can`t continue.
Thanks to you and your continued donations, there is a silver lining. While Bill C-246, the Modernizing Animal Protections Act, was defeated by the House in September, Canadians spoke loudly in support of improving our outdated animal protection laws and an issue that was not on our government's agenda is now front and centre, thanks to the incredible outreach efforts of compassionate Canadians of all political stripes.
I am now meeting with the Justice Minister’s office about their promise to consult the Canadian public
and review the animal cruelty provisions in Canada’s Criminal Code to make it easier to convict those who wilfully neglect animals in puppy mills and advocating for a new clause that will see dogs seized in puppy mill cases moved to their forever homes quickly. In some provinces dogs and puppies seized under the criminal code have to be kept in care until the case is resolved which means they can be kept for years in what amounts to a massive warehouse, as a case winds its way through the criminal justice system.
In this past year we have consulted with those working in the area of puppy mills and
developed a methodology and strategy for the collection of the data needed. Our strategy includes raising the profile of the issue and advocating for meaningful action on the part of all relevant authorities. Our members can use the report to approach decision-makers to advocate for stronger legislation and other solutions or tools to prevent the unethical sourcing of dogs.
Where your donation plays an important role is by providing solid data identifying the scope and scale of the problem, outlining the challenges in protecting puppy mill dogs and identifying solutions.
This report would be a comprehensive reference document about substandard breeding in Canada, including:
- the animal welfare issues and costs to society
- relevant legislation, regulations and standards
- current tools and solutions being used
- a first estimate of the scale of substandard breeding operations in Canada
- recommendations for decision-makers
Better regulation of breeding operations and practices is needed, as are resources for enforcement. Advocating for improvements to regulation and resources will require evidence and strong arguments to sway decision-makers. An investigation of the scale of online puppy sales in Canada would provide a first estimate of the number of irresponsible breeders in Canada as a step towards identifying the scale of the issue and the number of animals implicated.
Your donation today allows us to keep working towards eliminating puppy mills from Canada.