December 20, 2002, TORONTO - The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) is furious over a new Ontario law, Bill 129, which the charity believes doesn’t go far enough to regulate dog and cat breeders, and they are asking the public to hit them where it hurts - in their pocket book.
"We can either complain about this travesty of justice, or we can do something about it. We are not aware that this law received any support from animal breeding or pet industry organisations, and we are asking the public to never buy any animals from breeders, pet shops or flea markets. Instead people should go to their local animal shelters where there are thousands of animals waiting to be adopted into permanent loving homes," said HSC Executive Director Michael O’Sullivan
O’Sullivan and his family have a houseful of dogs and cats all rescued from animal shelters. All of them are spayed or neutered because he believes that every pet owner needs to help save lives by doing their part to fight pet overpopulation which every year results in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of animals across Canada because there simply aren’t enough loving homes for them.
"The new law offers little protection to dogs and cats and no protection to other animals," says HSC Western Regional Director, Al Hickey. "Unfortunately, the maximum penalty of $60,000 and a 2-year prison term will fool some people into thinking that this legislation actually offers animals adequate protection - it doesn’t. Our experience has been that judges rarely assign high fines or jail terms".
The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) also says that it is abundantly clear the Eves Government doesn’t care about animals or nature. "The contempt for Ontarians and the way in which elected officials and civil servants use our tax dollars is best demonstrated by their track record. The Eves Government is working against the safety and security of Ontarians by opposing the Kyoto climate change accord. They have supported the slaughter of wildlife when less than 5% of Ontarians hunt. The Minister of Natural Resources has appeared in a guest spot in an infomercial for the US based National Rifle Association (NRA). So it’s hardly surprising they won’t take any meaningful action to shut the cruelty associated with puppy and kitten mills," said an angry O’Sullivan.
Liberal MPP Mike Colle first introduced his private member’s bill earlier this year in an effort to crackdown on puppy and kitten mills, which inflict tremendous cruelty and suffering. But the bill was replaced by one put forth by Conservative MPP Mrs. Julia Munro, who reportedly is a dog breeder. "In our view, asking a dog breeder to write legislation to regulate this industry is like asking the fox to guard the henhouse. In a perfect world everything would be voluntary. But that is not the world in which we live," he said.
Dog breeder MPP Munro’s amendments did not include the provisions in MPP Colle’s bill that would have would have required a comprehensive licensing system to monitor and regulate dog and cat breeders. "If dog and cat breeders and pet shops have nothing to hide, they should have welcomed this licensing system with open arms," said O’Sullivan.
"Any civilized society would want to ensure that animals are protected and that anyone who abuses them would receive appropriate punishments that also serve as effective deterrents. The will of the majority of Ontario taxpayers should not be frustrated by a group of elected officials and civil servants pandering to special interest groups," says O’Sullivan.
"Unfortunately the vast majority of cruelty cases involving animals end up with those convicted of these serious crimes receiving little more than a slap on the wrist. Animals are not people, but they are not property either. They are valued members of our family and they deserve a special place of their own in law as well," he said.
"The way we treat animals is a reflection of the way in which we treat each other. Cruelty to animals leads to violence against people. The cycle of violence, it seems, is continuous," said O’Sullivan.
CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280
[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.
A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]
The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.
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A registered charity, The Humane Society of Canada depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. If you would like to support our campaign to protect animals and the earth, please make a donation at www.humanesociety.com. Because when it comes to fighting cruelty, we don’t give up. Ever.
1. Bill 129 did not contain the comprehensive licensing provisions for dog and cat breeders that had been the primary focus of Bill 100 that was proposed in light of a series of raids on puppy mills. This licensing system would have required breeders to apply for a license and permit routine inspections and more specifically read:
20 (2) A licence is subject to the conditions that the holder of the licence,
(a) Treat the animals that are being bred and all other animals on the premises where the business of breeding the animals is being carried out in a humane way, without cruelty or abuse, in accordance with the regulations;
(b) Maintain in good sanitary condition all premises, building, equipment and other things used in the business of breeding animals;
(c) Give in accordance with subsection 12 (2.1), an inspector or agent of the Society access to premises where the business of breeding animals is being carried on, for the purposes of ensuring that this Act and the regulations are being complied with; and
(d) Comply with this Act and the regulations and any other conditions that are imposed by the regulations.
No animal breeder should have had any problems with such provisions and yet Conservative MPP Munroe who is a dog breeder, specifically removed them from her Bill 129 which passed easily because of the Conservative majority.
For more than 30 years, animal shelters, including those operated by humane societies are required by law (as they should be) to receive permission from the Province of Ontario to operate shelters and submit to routine inspections of their premises and their records. Violations are punished by fines, imprisonment and/or prohibition from operation and/or working with animals. We support this kind of independent watchdog and have done for over 30 years -- why shouldn't animal breeders?
2. Each year animal shelters are forced to kill thousands of animals across Canada because there are simply not enough good homes. These shelters are carrying out a charitable mission to try and stop and the killing. People, who breed animals are in a commercial business, and in our view, contribute to the pet overpopulation problem.
Animal shelters and rescue groups have many dogs and cats waiting for good homes. We believe that those animals already alive and in need should be given a priority and that we should not encourage the production of more dogs and cats. We need to move ever closer to the day when such pointless abuse of animals is no longer tolerated by society. The killing has to stop.