Government to adopt regulation to protect cats and dogs - BC SPCA
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Government to adopt regulation to protect cats and dogs

February 22, 2016

The B.C. government is taking another step towards enhancing protection of animals by targeting irresponsible commercial breeders of dogs and cats.

The B.C. government will adopt a regulation under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Actrecognizing the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s Codes of Practice for both kennel and cattery operations as generally accepted management practices for cat and dog breeders in British Columbia. The codes provide clear direction to breeders, and sets clear expectations for breeders to respect the practices considered acceptable by government.

The Codes of Practice includes areas such as housing, ventilation, food and water, care and supervision, record-keeping, behavioural needs, socialization and transportation, and specifically notes:

  • If a dog is sick, injured, in pain, or suffering, prompt and adequate veterinary care must be provided; and for cats, veterinary care is provided at the first indication that the animal is not well
  • Cleaning and sanitizing should be carried out daily
  • Minimal spacing for dogs and cats (1.1 to 2.2 square metres depending on the dog’s size, and 1.5 square metres for cats)
  • Written procedures for care should be posted so that they are available to personnel at all times.

The B.C. government has also begun consultations with the SPCA and other key stakeholders to develop new laws that will assist the SPCA monitor and take action against irresponsible breeders of dogs and cats.

The consultation will contribute ideas on:

  • Required licensing and or registration to operate as a breeder
  • Possible proactive monitoring and enforcement of commercial cat and dog breeders
  • Finding sources that could be used to support enhanced and more proactive enforcement by the SPCA

The consultations will take place over spring 2016 with legislation anticipated in 2017.



Premier Christy Clark – “Animal cruelty is unacceptable. Today we’re taking another step towards stopping those cat and dog breeders who don’t provide adequate care. Together with the SPCA and key stakeholders, we will develop a system that supports responsible pet breeders in B.C., and targets the ones that aren’t.”

Jane Thornthwaite, MLA for North Vancouver-Seymour – “British Columbians deserve the certainty that companion animals sold in our province are born and raised in a secure, caring environment, and we will be bringing in changes to help ensure it. B.C. has the toughest provincial animal cruelty penalties in Canada and we’ll be working with the SPCA, veterinarians, reputable breeders, and other stakeholders to see how we can best target those commercial dog and cat breeders who do not provide appropriate care to animals in B.C.”

Craig Daniell, chief executive officer, BC SPCA – “British Columbians are passionate about animal welfare. Recent events have reinforced the public’s desire for regulation of breeders to prevent animal suffering. We commend the government’s decision to adopt the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association codes into law and to consult on breeder licensing and inspection regulations. We look forward to participating and providing government with our recommendations.”

Catherine King, breeder and owner, Splendent Standard Poodles – “The B.C. government’s recognition of the Codes of Practice and the upcoming consultation are both important pieces in supporting the reputable breeders in B.C. The public can also make a real difference by only purchasing from recognized breeders who treat their animals with the love, care and respect they deserve.”


Quick Facts

  • B.C.’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act has the toughest provincial penalties in Canada.
  • Under B.C.’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, charges can be laid against anyone who causes suffering or distress to an animal in British Columbia.
  • The maximum penalties that can be levied under provincial legislation against a person who is convicted of causing distress to an animal is $75,000 and up to 24 months imprisonment.
  • The B.C. government encourages the reporting of any events which may be incontravention of those laws and regulations so they can be fully investigated.

Learn more:

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s Code of Practice for kennel operations (PDF)

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s Code of Practice for cattery operations (PDF)



The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.

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