The Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS) says it’s a step in the right direction to hear the issue of puppy mills and animal abuse being raised at the federal level.
Federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole made headlines Monday by pledging to ban puppy mills if elected — something WHS CEO Jessica Miller said many Canadians don’t realize is still an issue.
“There are a lot of backyard breeders — and our definition of that would be someone who is not registered as breeding under the canine kennel clubs, they’re doing whatever they want with multiple litters.
“They’re really tough to catch, because this is largely unregulated, which I’m sure is why it’s coming forward now.”
Part of the problem, Miller told 680 CJOB, is that there are multiple laws from all three levels of government aimed at preventing this type of cruelty, but they all tend to be reactive and complaint-based, largely due to a lack of resources.
“Through our partnership with the province’s Chief Veterinary Office, we do investigations with them and do investigations of our own through the humane society,” Miller said, “and it’s on a weekly basis that we’re seeing large seizures of hoardings, of people that call themselves breeders.
“We have animal protection officers, and they are going all day long to emergency calls to different hoarding situations … and also the province is doing this throughout Manitoba. They’re always on the road going to different situations, and they’re doing this based on public complaints.”
Also, animals in Canada in general are considered property, so if someone is accused of hurting or killing and animal on purpose, they can be criminally charged — but it’s a different situation than if someone was charged for hurting another human being, she said.
“It’s exciting that parties are considering (preventing animal cruelty) as a platform.”
O’Toole said Monday that the demand for pets during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in unethical breeders and pet dealers, something he intends to crack down on if elected.
“Tragically, we’ve also seen an increase in animal abuse and violence — closely tied to the increase in domestic violence,” he said.