A Rose by any other name

Gosh … has it really been five years since Pets Unlimited decided to stop selling puppies in Atlantic Canada?   Remember how excited everyone was?    Has it already been a couple of years since Kijiji started charging a credit card fee for all puppies and dogs listed for sale?

Yet here we are in 2016 and still seeing puppy mills in the Canadian news.    Hot on the heels of the 66 dogs seized in BC was the closer to home news last week about the puppy mill seizure in Annapolis County of twenty-eight animals.    

Has it been helpful that the pet stores and Kijiji have been trying to do their bit to stem the tide of puppy mills?   Of course it has, even if it has not turned off the tap.

As a sidebar note to that, it has always amazed me that the CKC have never required more of their breeders than an application and a fee.     To the best of my knowledge, as of this writing there is no in house inspection process prior to listing a CKC Breeder.   Nor .. I suspect .. will we ever see such measures as long as the Canadian Kennel Club is so closely allied with PIJAC, the self proclaimed “voice of the Canadian Pet Industry”

Before the keyboards catch on fire, yes I know that there are many well respected CKC breeders who tirelessly toil to maintain and improve the standard of their particular beloved breed.   It is just a mystery to me that these reputable breeders are willing to risk being lumped in the same category as the recent BC puppy mill bust.   At the risk of sounding like a stuck rcord, somethings simply defy explanation.

But I am … as I am often wont to do … wandering afield in my meandering way.   The point I want to make today is that, like anything else in life, legislation is the most effective way to shut down puppy mills.     Here in Nova Scotia, legislation that affects the animals can be found at several different levels.

At the foot of the legislative food chain are the municipal bylaws that deal with the nuts and bolts of everyday life in our municipalities.    That is where animal control bylaws and some kennel licensing bylaws are created.

Next up the ladder are our provincial Houses of Assembly where our MLA’s write laws specific to our individual province.  That is where our Animal Cruelty Act was submitted, for instance.    The regulations that get down to the nitty gritty of specifics are written by, in this case, by the Department of Agriculture civil servants on behalf of the Minister.

At the top of the pinnacle is the Federal Level, where our national Criminal Code resides.   Changes and amendments to the Code can be introduced by our MP’s and sometimes by our Senators.

Why is all this dry dusty stuff important?    Well, if you live in Canada, this month there is a Red Letter Campaign targeting puppy mills.   It is called  Ruby’s Red Letter Legacy and was created by author Mary Guiffre as a tribute to her dog Ruby who was a puppy mill survivor.

Really it is a brilliant and simple concept.     Print off a couple of copies of the  letter on the site.   Buy a couple of red envelopes.   Mail one to your MP and one to the Prime Minister.   What could be easier than that?   How about the fun fact that there is NO COST for Canadian citizens to mail a letter to their MP’s and Prime Minister?

The Ruby’s Red Letter Legacy Page has all the information one needs.   Click on Files to find the letters, in both English and French.   It even includes letters one can send to one’s own MLA!

I will be paying close attention to the new bill that FEDERAL MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith will soon be introducing in the House of Commons.   As a Liberal, it is to be hoped that he will the support of the majority govenment in the House.

What time is it?   It is always, always time to remember that the best bit of living in a democracy is that it is our right .. and our obligation … to let our elected officials know when issues are important to us.