Too Hard to Regulate Dog Breeders? Just Forget It, Then!

It’s just come out that Manitoba has dropped its licensing requirements for breeding dogs. CBC reports that the office of the chief veterinarian officer is too busy to take on licensing, and since there have been issues with contracting the work out, the requirement was quietly dropped last year. This is despite, or perhaps because of amendments to the Animal Care Act, intended to get tougher on backyard breeders applying inhumane living standards for the breeding dogs and their puppies. More oversight means more work which means, apparently, it’s easier just to throw the whole thing out without telling anyone.

Although the suspension of the requirement of a license to breed is supposed to be temporary, no word yet on exactly how long this temporary field day for unscrupulous breeders is going to last. Bad breeders are one half of an equation that leads to mistreated and homeless dogs, and shelters have evinced reasonable concern. Frankly, it seems to me that if the province wants to take an extreme solution to a logistical and bureaucratic problem by allowing all breeders, they might have done better by the animals they’re supposed to protect and gone entirely the opposite way: refuse to allow any breeders whatsoever. Anyone who makes money producing animals when an overpopulated animal population is already responsible for widespread homelessness is hardly in the corner of animal welfare.

That’s not very likely, however, and I recognize that, at least until everyone internalizes the message to adopt instead of buying, eliminating the worst of the breeders and maintaining minimal standards for the rest is a minimal stopgap. One of my dogs was rescued from a puppy mill bad enough to have been shut down, and he still bears the psychological scars of his mistreatment.

What can we do? Well, the most effective way to shut down puppy mills for good is to refuse to buy from breeders — period. That’s a long-term battle, however, and won’t be enough until an overwhelming majority of dog owners are on board. Keep spreading the word, but we can’t call it a day with that. We can put pressure on the provincial government to get their act together and get back on those licensing requirements, for those who will not adopt. Contact information for the office of the chief veterinarian can be found here, and a few thousand emails might go a long way (Dr. Wayne Lees is the one you want). You can also sign the petition at the bottom of this article.

Also, recognize that just because the licensing requirement has been dropped doesn’t mean animal welfare laws no longer apply. It means if you hear about a place where animals are being mistreated, you need to be even more vigilant about reporting it, since no one from the government is actively checking up on them, or even knows that a given breeding operation exists. With any luck, we’ll see the provincial government back to regulating these operations as intended by the Animal Care Act, and sooner rather than later, but until then, mistreated dogs (not to mention any other animal) will be particularly relying on vigilant neighbours, customers, delivery people, et cetera.

And, oh, yes. We’re probably looking at a surge in the population of homeless dogs in the near future. So consider becoming a monthly donor to the Winnipeg Humane Society and other Manitoba shelters. They could always use more help covering medical treatments, kibble and all the other things they provide for the abandoned dogs we can thank these breeders for.

Related stories:

The Westminster Dog Show is Hurting Dogs

New Hampshire is a Zero Kill State. Will Your State be Next?

5 Reasons Not to Buy a Puppy for Christmas

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Tammy Baxter
Tammy B5 years ago

signed and shared

Carrie-Anne Brown

signed, thanks for sharing :)

Diane L.
Diane L5 years ago

Carla, I know you are asking a question of Barbara, but I am very passionate about this topic. Responsible breeders do not do the atrocious things you are referring to, and by "culling", that means not selling such puppies to anyone except as "pets" and requiring them to be spayed/neutered, and often papers will not be given.

Carla van der Meer

@Barbra M, you state that breeders are ' a wholesome, caring, important part of our society'. Are you aware of the fact that these 'wholesome' people purposely breed mutants who are often riddled with chronic health issues? Puppies not up to breed standards are usually 'culled' so as not to dilute the breed. There are dogs which can barely walk, barley breath and will almost certainly require constant veterinary intervention during their painful lives. I have had several purebred dogs and they can be heartbreaking, I see little that is wholesome in twisting a dogs natural tendencies to the point where it is constantly in pain.

Diane L.
Diane L5 years ago

Jeanne C., some of your "advice" is good and sound. Yes, by all means, adopt and few are sorry (some are and the animals end up right back there). However, to say "Don't buy from breeders" is as irresponsible as saying we shouldn't buy high quality food, or buy American-made products if we can. The point I'm trying to make is that we have choices and always have had and always SHOULD have. It depends on what someone wants a pet FOR.

Yes, regulating all who breed will be very difficult, and responsible breeders would never object, pretty much already DO regulate themselves. It's the irresponsible ones who NEED regulating and they would be the last ones to comply.

Jeanne C.
Jeanne Crabb5 years ago

Even though it may be difficult to regulate breeders in some areas, we cannot just let this go. Breeders should be regulated and licensed in order to keep them as responsible as possible. Too many breeders are arrogant, feel themselves to be of superior importance and are only out to make as much money as possible without having the best interests of the animals at heart. You think you will never see pure bred dogs in the local shelters? Think again. Many times, when breeders don't turn out the "cream of the crop" those dogs end up in the local animal shelters. Breeders need to be licensed and regulated. They always should be licensed and regulated. Don't buy from breeders. Adopt from your local shelters. You'll never be sorry. Always spay and neuter. Apay and neuter.

Barbara M.
Barbara McNeil5 years ago

Breeders of purebred dogs have been held in high esteem for a hundred years. A wholesome caring important part of our society. Now these shelter people have become huge bullies, bullying people who prefer purebreds through lies and manipulation of their emotions to buy from shelters. Breeders are the experts when it comes to raising dogs. Most shelter dogs are from irresponsible dog owners who use the shelters to dump dogs. The shelters should be promoting breeders to stop this cycle of shelter dumping of mixed breeds. They won't though because shelters have become BIG business in the world of selling dogs.

Kristen Lowry
Kristen Lowry5 years ago

Not enough profit in it for all the work they would have to do. Shameful, I'm once again embarassed to be Canadian.

Fiona T.
Past Member 5 years ago

Though hard it is, there should still be something to do

Melissa L.
Melissa L5 years ago

Very informative, thank you for sharing!