More than 1000 puppy ‘’mills’’ in operation
Working outside the law
Almost two years after the adoption of a rule obliging dog breeders to have a permit, more than 1000 puppy ‘’mill’’ owners continue to operate outside of all control.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishing and Food (MAPAQ)’s data obtained by the QMI Agency, 363 permits for dog or cat owners or caretakers have been issued since the enactment of this law, in November 2013, while 103 requests are still being treated.
The MAPAQ ignores how many puppy ‘’mills’’ are currently operating in Quebec, however, if we are to take the estimates of the Society for the protection of animals (SPA) Canada, there are between 1500 and 1800 of them.By taking the more conservative number of 1500 and by subtracting the number of owners or caretakers having gotten or asked for a permit (363+103 = 466), this means that there are more 1000 breeders remaining in anonymity.
At the MAPAQ, there have been no comments on the gap between the number of issued or pending permits and the number of alleged puppy ‘’mills’’, since the estimates of animal defense groups may include different types of breeding activities.
‘’Our permits are for those who have more than 15 cats and dogs, so we cannot comment on the numbers since we do not know if they encompass owners and caretakers who own less than 15 cats and dogs, who are not required to have a permit.’’ Yohan Dallaire-Boily explained, public relations officer at the Ministry of Agriculture. Even though it is not possible to know the proportion of breeders complying to the law, the MAPAQ is satisfied with the number of permits issued since the enactment of the law.
The Ministry expects this number to rise since the implementation of the 1-844-ANIMAUX call line and the eventual adoption of Bill 54, which includes jail time and steeper fines for people going against animal security or welfare.
According to the SPA
If the MAPAQ wishes to exert better control over puppy ‘’mills’’ in operation in Quebec, it will have to employ more inspectors, believes the SPA Canada.
The organisation’s spokesperson, Katherine MacDonald, says that the 200 inspectors from the Ministry are not sufficient for the task, even if they are helped by about 50 additional colleagues from partner shelters. She raises the issue of the 103 permit requests still pending as proof.
‘’They already have 100 permits on hold because they don’t have the time to address them, how can they say they have the time and resources for the task if they are 150 to conduct inspections for the permits, do the follow-up and answer cruelty complaints?’’ Ms. MacDonald asks .
Be more ‘’proactive’’
According to her, the many tasks that fall on inspectors make it so that they do not have time to search for delinquent breeders, by visiting classified ads on the internet for example.
‘’It’s easy to go on Kijiji to see if there are people selling animals, if they have a permit,’’ says the spokesperson.’’We need to be more proactive in our search if we really want to close down all puppy «mills»’’.
To curb the ever-growing problem of non-compliant breeders who sell their animals on the internet, SPA Canada proposes to make mandatory that listings include the permit number in the ad.
FEES FOR THE ISSUANCE OF A PERMIT
Application fee: $125
Permit for owner or caretaker of 15 to 49 cats or dogs: 107$
Permit for owner or caretaker of 50+ cats or dogs: 241$
FINES UNDER THE ANIMAL HEALTH PROTECTION ACT
From 600$ to 12 000$
In case of recidivism
From 1800$ to 36 000$