Canada: a haven for puppy mills
Canada’s crisis of puppy mills began in earnest in 1995. Although there were puppy mills before then, they only really began to multiply in the late 1990’s.
Before then, most puppies in Canadian pet stores were imported from the U.S. (where puppy mills are widespread.)
As a result of pressure from the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) and other organizations, a regulation was introduced by the federal government in 1995 to regulate the import of puppies from the U.S. This regulation required puppies being imported into Canada to be at least 8 weeks old, microchipped, vaccinated and health checked by a vet.
Because many importers did not meet these new standards, the number of puppies being shipped across the border decreased. (Though many puppies from U.S. mills are still imported into Canada). This decrease created a demand that was met by an increase in Canadian mills.
No one knows for sure how many puppy mills there are in this country because, unlike in the U.S., breeders are not obligated by law to register. However, even a conservative estimate would put the number in the thousands.
That’s hundreds of thousands of dogs suffering every year.
What’s wrong with our laws?
Currently, Canada’s animal cruelty law is almost useless for preventing and shutting down puppy mills. The animal cruelty section of the Criminal Code is written in such a way that it is nearly impossible to hold a puppy mill owner criminally responsible for neglecting their animals — even if they starve the dogs to death.
The CFHS is pushing for changes to this archaic law so cruelty against animals can be rightfully punished and prevented in the future. Please add your voice to our campaign!
In addition to the federal Criminal Code, each of the provinces has its own animal protection legislation. While these provincial laws tend to be much better than the Criminal Code, some are still quite weak. Quebec, for example, is widely recognized as the puppy mill capital of Canada, and its animal protection act is one of the weakest.
And since most puppy mills are in rural areas where their facilities are rarely seen, many are simply never discovered and never have to answer to any law, provincial or federal.
Until breeders in every province and territory are required to become registered, licensed, and undergo regular inspections of their facilities, puppy mills will continue to be a big problem in Canada.