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Vernon  

Who protects puppies?

It was a year ago today, when then Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country, held a Yorkshire Terrier named Dijon and announced to the province that new changes to animal welfare legislation were on the way.

The new laws were designed to create regulations for dog and cat breeders. 

It was believed the new tighter regulations on dog and cat breeders would result in better treatment of animals and fewer deaths.

Those laws have not been enacted yet. It is getting closer, but it is not known when exactly they will come into play.

Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer with the BC SPCA is headed to Victoria this week.

"In the near future, anybody wanting to breed to sell dogs and cats in B.C. will have to be registered."

While the system has not been fully worked out, it will essentially mean that any breeder will have to be registered with a number and would be subject to inspections, like any business.

"The regulations will focus on standards of care, the environment, the health conditions in which animals are being bred," explains Moriarty.

In theory, it would make it harder for 'bad breeders' to sell animals.
 
This system is not infallible, but Moriarty says it is the first step.

"This would be a public awareness campaign," explains Moriarty.  "Market is driven by the public. The public refusing to buy animals that aren't from registered breeders, that is the only way a system like this can really work and be robust."

Once the regulations are put in place, Moriarty says that there will be a public campaign educating the public on identifying good breeders.

"I think any piece of legislation will only go so far, and it is not going to be the gold standard," she said. "We would absolutely be encouraging breeders to go farther like many good breeders do. Like requiring in purchase contracts that the animal must be fixed." 

Last week Castanet ran a story on an alleged 'bad breeder' selling sick puppies, in deplorable conditions out of a van. 

That story created mass concern for the puppies involved and condemnation for the alleged breeder.

Another person contacted Castanet with a similar story with similar details.

The proper authorities have been informed of the situation and are investigating. 



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