One of the four imperatives in CKC’s three-year strategic plan is “Advocating for purebred dogs, The Canadian Kennel Club and All Dogs”. This includes lobbying all levels of government and all stakeholders. So, where does one begin when there are so many challenges facing the dog fancy? Restrictions on the exportation of puppies to the US, canine and human health risks associated with the importation of rescue dogs into Canada, horrific cultural ceremonies involving dogs in foreign countries. Closer to home, we continue to debate with law makers and enforcement agencies on issues such as breed bans, breeding and selling practices and standards of care.
A CKC Task Group recently met with Policy staff at the BC Ministry of Agriculture to discuss proposed Standards of Care for Dog and Cat Breeding. This appears to be a middle step of planning after breeder registration or licensing in the province and before the plans for enforcement are considered. CKC also submitted a consultation document, which outlined our key communication points and expressed that the plan is flawed and not fully thought out.
The Canadian Kennel Club was also represented by Quebec CKC members, Ms. Lise Trottier and Mr. Serge Bilodeau during special consultations and public hearings with a Quebec Parliamentary Committee regarding Bill 128
. The Bill was first introduced in early 2017 and proposed laws that included province-wide breed-specific provisions, with the capacity to both ban dogs listed as “Potentially Dangerous” and the potential to add breeds to this list at any time—essentially threatening all dogs in Quebec.
It was important for CKC to attend the Quebec hearings (alongside many like-minded organizations), and clearly reinforce the notion that education, stronger enforcement of existing bylaws and stiffer penalties for irresponsible owners are better strategies for protecting the public. We will continue to take a firm stand against breed specific legislation in favour of well-crafted dangerous dog legislation that is reasonable, enforceable and non-discriminatory.
Common to each of these issues is that CKC supports the core objectives, which include targeting bad breeding practices, promoting animal welfare and encouraging responsible dog ownership. CKC remains cooperative in this regard. Attempts to define terms such as “Commercial Breeder” or “Pitbull” however are flawed and will not support animal welfare and well-being, nor protect consumer and public safety. CKC members are already bound by a more stringent level through the CKC Code of Practice and Code of Ethics, by-laws, policies and procedures. CKC has clear policy statements on crucial issues and our programs, such as the Canine Good Neighbour, offer solutions to educating and identifying responsible dog owners and breeding practices.
So where does all of this go from here? Consultations and hearings typically end in a “wait and see” stage and we await draft legislation from both of these provinces over the coming months. In the meantime, these efforts have improved our inventory of messaging and developed advocates within the membership as we strive to take on a more preemptive role and I remain optimisitc.