Ban sought on puppy mills

Unclear if City of Vernon can put a leash on so-called puppy mills

It’s unclear if the City of Vernon can put a leash on so-called puppy mills.

City council was asked Monday by Lumby resident Gina Son to ban the retail sale of dogs, cat and rabbits from backyard breeders.

“We will look at municipal authority and our ability (to do something) if we have the authority,” said Will Pearce, chief administrative officer.

Coun. Juliette Cunningham insists something must be done but is also questioning jurisdiction.

“I am confused as to why this hasn’t been a federal or provincial issue,” she said.

“I am trying to wrap my head around the issue and where the focus should be.”

Council will discuss the matter further Jan. 28, but there are already signs of support.

“I’m all for shutting down puppy mills,” said Coun. Brian Quiring when asked by the media.

“If we have the ability to stop what I consider an illegal industry, we should.”

During her presentation, Son stated that animals raised in some breeding operations are kept in small cages, are underfed and are exposed to disease.

“Millions of dogs are suffering in the assembly line of puppy mills,” she said.

“They receive no exercise. They rarely receive veterinary care.”

According to Son, there are bylaws banning large-scale breeding operations in Richmond, Toronto, Austin, Texas and Los Angeles.

Officials with the Okanagan Small Dog Rescue Society believe breeding pets is a significant local problem.

“From Vernon to Salmon Arm to Chase, it is rampant with puppy mills,” Wendy McIntyre, society president, told council.

“All they are is a commodity to breeders.”