Image: Province of British Columbia

Premier Christy Clark announced yesterday that the province and the BC SPCA will work together to develop new rules to license and regulate dog and cat breeders in the province.

The B.C. government will adopt guidelines written out by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s Codes of Practice for cat and dog breeders in British Columbia.

Animal cruelty is unacceptable. Today we’re taking another step towards stopping those cat and dog breeders who don’t provide adequate care. Together with the BC SPCA and key stakeholders, we will develop a system that supports responsible pet breeders in B.C., and targets the ones that aren’t,” Clark said in a statement.

The Codes of Practice covers areas such as housing, ventilation, food and water, care and supervision, record-keeping, behavioural needs, socialization and transportation, and specifically notes:

  • If a dog is sick, injured, in pain, or suffering, prompt and adequate veterinary care must be provided; and for cats, veterinary care is provided at the first indication that the animal is not well.
  • Cleaning and sanitizing should be carried out daily.
  • Minimal spacing for dogs and cats (1.1 to 2.2 square metres depending on the dog’s size, and 1.5 square metres for cats).
  • Written procedures for care should be posted so that they are available to personnel at all times.

The B.C. government is consulting with the BC SPCA to develop new laws that will assist the BC SPCA monitor and take action against irresponsible breeders of dogs and cats. Some ideas include:

  • Required licensing and or registration to operate as a breeder.
  • Possible proactive monitoring and enforcement of commercial cat and dog breeders.
  • Finding sources that could be used to support enhanced and more proactive enforcement by the BC SPCA.

The consultations will take place over spring 2016 with legislation anticipated in 2017.

The new laws come in the wake of two high-profile puppy mill busts in Langley and Surrey in the past two weeks. A total of 148 animals in ill health were seized from both operations, and two animals – an adult cat and a kitten – had to be euthanized from the Surrey operation.