British Columbia adopts codes of practice for dog and cat breeders following abuse cases

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VICTORIA – British Columbia has adopted codes of practice for commercial dog and cat breeders, as the province moves towards regulating the controversial and unauthorized industry.

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Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick announced on Sunday that the Animal Cruelty Prevention Act now recognizes the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s codes of practice for kennels and catteries as generally accepted practices for kennels and catteries. dog and cat breeders.

Codes of practice set out minimum standards for housing, ventilation, food and water, care and supervision, and record keeping.

“This gives breeders the benchmark by which they should review all of their practices if they are going to breed in British Columbia,” Letnick said in an interview. “It also provides SPCA enforcement officers with clear standards that they can refer to when visiting ranchers. “

Premier Christy Clark announced plans to adopt the codes in February, weeks after the SPCA revealed two massive seizures of sick and neglected animals in suspected animal cruelty cases. She also promised at the time to work on developing regulations to allow breeders.

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Letnick said a consultation document will be available on his ministry’s website from Monday to allow stakeholders to comment on possible licensing or registration requirements by May 20. The general public can also email him their comments, he added.

“We take the health of our animals very seriously,” he said, adding that regulations should be put in place in 2017.

Craig Daniell, CEO of the BC SPCA, said his organization already uses the codes of practice as guidelines when investigating ranchers, but passing the codes into law will help officers bring cases to the fore. Crown attorney.

“Courts are now essentially forced to view codes of practice as a guide to determining what is generally accepted animal management practice. In terms of prosecution, that will be the real big advantage that we will see, ”he said.

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Daniell applauded the government’s plans to regulate the industry and urged it to demand regular inspection of commercial ranchers. The province said on Sunday it was considering proactive monitoring and enforcement.

“The challenge we have right now is that everything is complaints-driven,” Daniell said. “For people who run puppy mills, they’re usually very careful that no one ever enters their property.

“Having the mechanism to go for regular inspections, whether there is a complaint or not, is really the only way to ensure that we ultimately eradicate puppy mills. “

February 4, 66 dogs and Langley’s puppies were cared for in what the SPCA claims to be one of the largest puppy mills in British Columbia history. Some animals suffered from infections, broken limbs, and missing eyes or ears.

On February 16, officers seized 82 cats and dogs from a breeding and boarding school in Surrey. Two ailing cats had to be euthanized.

– By Laura Kane in Vancouver

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