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Quebec Is All Bark And No Bite

March 27th, 2007, 08:51 AM

Quebec is all bark and no bite
The Gazette
Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2007

On paper, Quebec has one of the toughest animal-welfare-protection laws in the country. The Animal Health Protection Act of 2004 allows inspectors to investigate a breeding operation without a warrant, provides for fines of up to $15,000, and allows courts to bar individuals and companies found guilty of sub-standard care of animals from owning pets for up to two years.

The law was passed to bring Quebec, long considered one of the worst places in the country for so-called puppy mills, into line with the rest of the country. The province is home to an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 large-scale breeding operations, in some of which animals are bred and kept in unsanitary, abusive, pitiful conditions.

It's a good law. But as so often happens in Quebec, the resources failed to follow the good intentions. To enforce the new, improved law across this big province, exactly four inspectors were hired.

Anima-Quebec, a not-for-profit agency, was given the contract in 2004 to apply the new law. Quebec gave the agency an initial annual subsidy of $150,000 with the proviso that Anima-Quebec raise $1 in donations for every $1 of subsidy. When that target proved too difficult, the government said it would provide $2 for every $1 raised, but still to a maximum total budget of $150,000 a year. Four inspectors is all that the agency can afford.

"We would like to have an inspector in each of Quebec's 17 districts," said Vivianne Payant, assistant director for inspections. Not only are there too few inspectors to meet its caseload of 650 separate complaints, the cost of keeping even two inspectors on the road is huge, she said.

To try to prod the Quebec government into living up to its law, this month Nicole Joncas, founder of an animal refuge in Ontario, took the first step toward dragging the government into court. Joncas is seeking leave in Quebec Superior Court to sue Quebec's attorney-general and the province's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Anima-Quebec would not comment on the suit.

For the past 21/2 years, Joncas has been following the fate of animals at Centre d'elevage Lamarche & Pinard in Ste. Justine de Newton, about 65 kilometres west of Montreal. She and a former Lamarche & Pinard employee, Gilles Potvin, have complained to Anima-Quebec. Unhappy with what they say is its lack of response to justified complaints, they have included the agency in Joncas's lawsuit.

You don't have to be a pet owner to wince in horror at the abuses some puppy mills inflict on defenceless animals. But there is no point in Quebec passing tough legislation - on any subject - unless adequate enforcement mechanisms and manpower are provided. There is an ugly air of hypocrisy around the province's desire to appear progressive on paper and then do almost nothing to turn its good intentions into useful action.

Quebec should step up enforcement of the 2004 law. And we all need to remember that laws not enforced are merely earnest wishes, perhaps sincere but certainly useless.

The Gazette (Montreal) 2007

March 28th, 2007, 07:18 PM
:fingerscr :fingerscr :fingerscr

March 29th, 2007, 07:19 PM
Damn I'll work for free on my time off, got to get those mills out of business. How do I apply for it?

March 29th, 2007, 07:23 PM
Damn I'll work for free on my time off, got to get those mills out of business. How do I apply for it?

Good one! :evil: Count me in too! :pawprint:

March 29th, 2007, 07:50 PM
Damn I'll work for free on my time off, got to get those mills out of business. How do I apply for it?

Look at adds from people who have many different puppies (different breed) pose as a buyer and go check it out.....take pics if you can , that's if they let you see the parents...and then place complaints with spca and Anima Quebec and hope they'll do something about it.