The current animal cruelty sections of the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC) are shockingly out of date. The wording of the CCC is largely unchanged since it was written in 1892 and enacted by Queen Victoria. The CCC affords greater protection for cattle and other working animals “kept for a lawful purpose” and as such provides almost no protection for wild or stray animals. It is extremely difficult to prosecute cases of neglect, such as puppy mills because of paradoxical wording in which the prosecution must prove “willful neglect”.
If nothing is done to enhance the current provision in the Criminal Code, dogs across Canada will continue to be exploited for profit with little to no protection under the law.
As the foundation for future advocacy activities to enhance the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC), the CFHS will create a ‘snapshot’ report on the Canadian puppy mill industry to help Canadians (public and politicians) better understand the scope and scale of this deplorable problem. As the basis of the CFHS Puppy Mill Report the CFHS will quantify the number of puppy mill dogs that are being sold on-line, identify where there are bans on the selling of dogs in pet stores, provide an overview of existing online restrictions and present a collection of case studies on what is currently being done to combat puppy mills across the country.
The policy research presented through the CFHS Puppy Mill Report will be used to advocate for the modernization of the current animal cruelty provisions of the CCC so that enforcement officers and prosecutors have the laws they need to convict puppy mill operators of cruelty and put them out of business.
The CFHS Puppy Mill Report will protect dogs at risk (in puppy mills) by helping us enhance the CCC, closing loopholes that let abuses at puppy mills to continue. Every year breeding dogs and their puppies suffer at the hands of puppy mill operators.
Example: a 2011 puppy mill raid resulted in the rescue of 500+ dogs from a Quebec breeding facility. The owners pleaded guilty to just 17 charges of animal cruelty and were subjected to a court ordered ban on operating a kennel for 2-years. It’s likely that they will be back in business shortly.
The CFHS Puppy Mill Report will be the first of its kind in Canada to quantify the scope and impact of Canada’s puppy mill industry. Therefore, it will be the ‘go-to’ research document for animal welfare organizations and government to rely on when making decisions about policy and legislation. Enhanced protection through the CCC will result in more puppy mill seizures and convictions under the CCC.
This report will impact the lives of all vulnerable dogs stuck in Canadian puppy mills while making Canada a more humane place to live for all Canadians.