MPP JOURNAL for the week of December 3, 2021


Proliferation of Puppy Mills in Ontario

The proliferation of puppy mills has been an ongoing problem in Ontario and particularly in the riding of Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey, as unscrupulous dog breeders continue to ignore current legislation aimed at protecting animals and purchasers. The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) estimate that there are 400 puppy mills in operation in Ontario. As you probably know, we have had a number of local charges laid as a result of animal abuse and neglect.

The OSPCA has been working hard to find, charge and eliminate abusers. To that end in August of this year, the OSPCA undertook the largest puppy mill rescue in its history. Approximately 180 dogs and puppies were rescued from a puppy mill in neighboring Vaughan. This is just one of a number of rescue operations that have taken place in the past year.

However, finding and charging abusers is only the first step in the process. We must have strong legislation in effect to discourage puppy mills from setting up in the first place, and then follow through with tougher penalties when abusers are caught.

Under current legislation, the Criminal Code states it is an offence to cause or permit unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to animals. Convictions have been difficult to obtain because there is a great deal of burden on OSPCA officers to prove who caused the abuse and how.

The current OSPCA Act has no offence or penalty section. Inspectors and agents may issue orders or conditions under which breeders must operate, and eventually remove animals if orders are not met.

A colleague of mine, Julia Munro who represents York North, recently introduced a private members' bill, which would amend the Ontario Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. This bill was debated on November 22 and successfully received 2nd reading at that time. Her amendments, if passed, mean that individuals, groups or corporations which breed and keep puppies, dogs, kittens and cats for the purpose of sale must comply with a set of specific standards. Penalties for failure to comply include a fine of up to $60,000 and/or a prison term up of to five years. It also provides the judicial power to impose a lifetime ban for anyone convicted under this act from breeding or selling puppies or kittens.

I was pleased to support this private members bill and hope that all members of the Ontario Legislature support these worthwhile changes to the current Act. If you would like further details on the current act, or the changes as brought forward by my colleague, Julia Munro, please do not hesitate to contact me at my Community Office, 1-800-265-1603. As an owner of two beautiful dogs and one headstrong cat, I would appreciate receiving your comments and suggestions on how we can further protect 'man's best friend'.




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