One of the neglected dogs seized from a Langley dog breeder Feb. 4.

New standards coming for pet breeders

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick says puppy mill operators should be subject to Canada's strictest animal abuse penalties

The B.C. government was working on new standards for commercial animal breeders before 66 neglected dogs were seized from a puppy mill in Langley.

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick said ministry staff began consultations with the B.C. SPCA, veterinarians and commercial breeders in January, and that will continue this month.

North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Jane Thornthwaite has proposed legislation that would set a maximum of three litters in three years for each mother animal, a lifetime maximum of six litters and a requirement to wean puppies or kittens onto solid food by seven weeks of age before they can be sold.

Letnick said he was shocked as were many others at the conditions of the Langley kennel, where 32 adult dogs and 34 puppies were seized on Feb. 4. Some had broken bones, missing ears or eyes infections, dental disease, severe matting, burns from urine exposure and overgrown nails.

“There is no place in British Columbia for treatment like that to our animals, and that’s why in 2011 we adopted the toughest penalties in the country, [up to] two years in jail and a $75,000 fine if you’re found guilty of mistreating any animal under any conditions,” Letnick said.