Featured Campaign: PUPS Act

Ontario SPCA Government Advocacy Update – June, 2024

PUPS act

Exciting news! The Preventing Unethical Puppy Sales Act (PUPS Act) has passed its final vote at Queen’s Park! This new law is an important step towards protecting dogs and the public from unscrupulous breeders operating puppy mills. The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society has been pushing to make sure it passed before the summer recess.

Last month, the Ontario SPCA’s Director of Government Relations had the opportunity to appear at the provincial Justice Committee to talk about the Act and the additional protections we want to see. Many of our concerns were incorporated into the final version of the Act. We will continue working with the Solicitor General’s office as they draft the detailed regulations that will accompany the new law to ensure that the remainder of our concerns are addressed.

As the Solicitor General develops these regulations, we will be pushing for detailed standards that provide concrete, enforceable requirements for animal care, sales requirements and recording keeping. We are also calling on the Solicitor General to start this process immediately, and to bring together experts from the animal welfare sector to create strong regulations that provide the best possible protection for dogs and the public.

Thank you to everyone who supported the Ontario SPCA, and the many organizations across the province advocating to make this legislation a reality!


Ontario SPCA and Humane Society Position Statements

Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)
The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society does not support laws that target specific breeds as a means of controlling aggressive animal behaviour. Legal requirements must focus on the actions of individual dogs and the responsibilities of dog owners.
Cosmetic Surgeries
The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society opposes non-therapeutic veterinary procedures for cosmetic, aesthetic, behavioural, or competitive purposes. Surgical procedures such as tail docking, ear cropping, devocalization and declawing impact, with varying severity and duration, an animal’s ability to experience the Five Freedoms.
Exotic Animals

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society strongly support the elimination of keeping exotic and wild animals as pets and the banning of the sale, breeding, or importation of any exotic creature or wild animal for use as entertainment, display or companionship purposes.

We will continue to advocate for the highest welfare standards possible for all animals kept as pets, regardless of species. As many exotic animals have complex and highly specific husbandry needs, we encourage prospective owners to seek companionship from animals who have proven to thrive when under human care. We will assist in finding the best possible home for exotic or wild animals that may come into our care.

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society urges the provincial and federal governments to develop legislation banning the importation, breeding, and sale of wild and exotic animals.

Puppy Mills / Irresponsible breeding

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society strongly condemns the existence of irresponsible breeding including “breeding mills” where animals live in poor living conditions and female animals are continuously bred to produce the greatest number of offspring. When bringing an animal into your home, the Society encourages making adoption your first option.

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society advocates for government action to address irresponsible breeding, including “puppy mills”.

Euthanasia

Euthanasia should be performed only by skilled professionals who have been trained and certified in the most humane methods, and the method used must be the most appropriate for the species to minimize fear, pain and distress.

The Ontario SPCA and Humane society believes every community should have access to adequate veterinary care and advocates for the expansion of veterinary services.

Animals for Entertainment and Recreation
Ontario SPCA and Humane Society agrees with the OVMA and accepts the use of animals in entertainment and recreation only when the animals’ physical, social, and behavioural needs are being met. We oppose activities, contests, or events that have a high probability of causing death, injury, distress, or illness as these activities do not enable the animal’s ability to achieve the Five Freedoms.
Trial and Train

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society oppose the use of animals in activities, contests, or events that have a high probability of causing death, injury, distress, or illness as these activities do not enable the animal’s ability to achieve the Five Freedoms.

The proposed regulation, to allow for the transfer of existing train and trial licenses and a 90-day window to purchase new licenses, is highly problematic.

The Ontario SPCA has specific concerns with both the overall purpose of existing licenses and the specific animal welfare implications these regulations might allow, including:

  • Activities carried out in licensed facilities by their nature provided the opportunity for “canned hunts” of wildlife under the guise of a trial and train license;
  • keeping wild animals in an enclosed area, for the purpose of being prey in competitions and “canned hunts” crosses a line from genuine hunting practices to a form of entertainment that results in the significant increase risks of injury or death of animals due to their confinement. This is unacceptable and should not be allowed, much less expanded;
  • that a 90-day licensing window will eventually be extended or replaced with a permanent availability for new licenses.

For these reasons, the Ontario SPCA opposes the continued operation of these facilities, the ability to transfer licenses, and the issuance of new licenses by the province due to the significant animal welfare implications.

Animals and Transport
Ontario SPCA and Humane Society strongly recommends that when animals are being transported, all government regulations be followed and the animals’ safety, security, health and welfare are ensured at all times.

Key Issues


Taking action against train and trial practices

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society was recently alerted to a proposal to allow licences to be issued for new dog “train and trial areas,” and for the transfer of licences. We recognize the dangers this proposal brings, and we acted. The statement below was sent to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry voicing our concerns.

You can take action, too. Click this link and share your voice for the animals.

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The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society oppose the use of animals in activities, contests, or events that have a high probability of causing death, injury, distress, or illness, as these activities do not enable the animal’s ability to achieve the Five Freedoms.

The proposed regulation, to allow for the transfer of existing train and trial licenses, and a 90-day window to purchase new licenses, is highly problematic.

The Ontario SPCA has specific concerns with both the overall purpose of existing licenses and the specific animal welfare implications these regulations might allow, including:

  • activities carried out in licensed facilities, by their nature, provide the opportunity for “canned hunts” of wildlife under the guise of a train and trial license;
  • keeping wild animals in an enclosed area, for the purpose of being prey in competitions and “canned hunts” crosses a line from genuine hunting practices to a form of entertainment. It results in a significantly increased risk of injury or death of animals due to their confinement. This is unacceptable and should not be allowed, much less expanded;
  • that a 90-day licensing window will eventually be extended or replaced with a permanent availability for new licenses.

For these reasons, the Ontario SPCA opposes the continued operation of these facilities, the ability to transfer licenses, and the issuance of new licenses by the province due to the significant animal welfare implications.

New standards of care for outdoor dogs

Thanks to your support and your unwavering commitment to animal welfare, there have been amendments to Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act O. Reg 444/19. This is the provincial legislation, which is enforced by the Government of Ontario, that addresses all dogs kept outdoors and includes working dogs and livestock guardians.

Bolstered by our animal advocacy champions who stand behind us, the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society was invited to share input on these updates. We are pleased to tell you that many of our recommendations were accepted in this update to the Act.

City of London votes down exception for exotic animals

We have helped secure another win for animals! The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society spoke out against a recent proposal that, if passed, would have made an exemption to the City of London’s exotic animal bylaw to allow an entertainment facility that contains exotic reptiles.

ZooCheck Canada took the lead on this advocacy initiative, and we added our support in the form of a letter filed to the City of London. As a result of this opposition, council voted against making amendments to their animal control bylaw and business licensing bylaw to accommodate this proposed exotic animal establishment.

Exotic animals don’t belong in captivity for entertainment purposes. Animal welfare and public health and safety are at risk and we applaud the City of London for recognizing the risks.

WIN! Canada Cosmetic Testing Ban

In last month’s federal budget, the Government of Canada announced plans to ban the testing of cosmetics on animals. This change is a huge win for the protection of animals and is long overdue!

Not only will testing on animals be banned, but new products will also need to show they are safe without testing on animals. In addition, all products will need to be accurate and honest about any claims that they weren’t tested on animals. The proposal is expected to be voted on in the coming weeks.

WIN! More Funding To Support Access To Veterinary Medicine

We recently asked you to help us address the veterinary shortage in Ontario.

Communities throughout Ontario are experiencing shortages and delays in accessing veterinary care, putting the health and well-being of animals throughout the province at risk.

The University of Guelph and Lakehead University are working to expand the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program in Ontario, which will increase the number of veterinarians practicing in the province, particularly in the North.

To support their efforts, we asked you to join us by sharing a letter with the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Colleges and Universities, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of the Treasury Board, calling for the funding of this program expansion.

We are pleased to share that the Provincial government has announced in this year’s budget their support to expand veterinary training, increasing the number of veterinarian graduates in Ontario by 20 per cent per year. In addition, they have announced an incentive program to expand the number of large animal veterinarians practicing in under-serviced communities.

This funding is a wonderful step forward to help give all animal caregivers access to veterinary medicine. These successful advocacy initiatives prove that together we can make positive changes for animals.


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