‘Backyard breeders’ accused of dumping puppies in Brampton amid calls for licensing in Ontario

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Published May 10, 2024 at 2:36 pm

puppies abandoned in brampton adoption

Animal rights activists are calling for an end to the “wild west” of dog breeding in Ontario after two litters of newborn puppies were allegedly abandoned by breeders in Brampton.

The province is looking to beef up regulations for breeders with the Preventing Unethical Puppy Sales or PUPS Act, which would introduce more protections for breeding mothers and limit how soon a puppy can be separated from its mother.

But one thing animal advocacy group Animal Justice says is missing from the act is a licensing program to hold unethical breeders to account for dangerous living conditions or when abandoning puppies, like two litters found abandoned by what the city called “unethical breeders” in Brampton.

On Wednesday, lawmakers heard feedback from stakeholders about the proposed changes, including Brampton Animal Services manager Mike Mulick who highlighted two litters of puppies abandoned by what he described to Insauga.com as “backyard breeders” in Brampton.

The first discovery happened on April 3 when an abandoned Bulldog puppy was found by a resident near Kennedy Road and Orenda Court. Brampton Animal Services searched the area and found three puppies in total.

Then just two days later a mother and four more Boxer puppies were found abandoned near Mississauga Road and Sandalwood Parkway.

Brampton Animal Services manager Mike Mulick said some of the abandoned puppies had been posted online by “backyard breeders” for sale just days before they were found.

Mulick said the city was able to issue penalty notices to breeders under Brampton’s pet licensing bylaw, however, enforcement of the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act comes down to the province. And with no licensing regime for dog breeders in Ontario, Mulick said there are few options available when dealing with breeders who “are in it more for the money than the care for the dogs.”

One of the abandoned puppies named Oscar, described as “a bundle of energy and affection.”

With fewer people buying or adopting dogs due to a number of factors including the rising cost of living, Mulick said shelters are filling up while some breeders “leaving (dogs) to die once they’re no longer of value to them.”

In the cases of the Boxer and Bulldog pups found last month in Brampton, Mulick said animal services staff were able to intervene before the animals came to too much harm. But in many cases, workers have recovered deceased dogs that were posted on online classified ads just days prior.

Camille Labchuk, executive director of animal advocacy group Animal Justice, says puppy mills in Ontario can range from 200-plus dog operations to “mom-and-pop” breeders like those in Brampton. Labchuk said that while the proposed changes are a good first step, Animal Justice is disappointed the PUPS Act includes no licensing requirements, or limits on the minimum space a dog can live in or the number of dogs a breeder can have.

She called Ontario’s lack of regulations a “hands off, wild west approach” to animal care that’s led to more puppies than the population can handle while leaving dogs to languish “on death’s door.”

“If (breeders) can’t sell them they regularly just abandon them to places like Brampton animals services or other shelters, or just dump them on the street,” she told Insauga.com

Animal Justice is calling for the province to introduce a licensing program for dog breeders in Ontario that includes an in-person pre-licensing screening visit. Without registration and more ways to enforce regulations, Labchuk said more bad breeders will be allowed to put more dogs at risk.

“They operate in people’s barns and basements, they’re in outbuildings and rural properties – they’re not places the public has access to, and people don’t see the conditions inside puppy mills,” she said.

The five rescued puppies were put up for adoption or foster through Brampton Animal Services and have since been rehomed.

Pet owners who find themselves unable to properly care for their dog have options available through Brampton Animal Services, like the Helping Orphaned Pets in Emergencies (HOPE) Fund which helps sick and injured animals get adopted into loving homes, or the Home to Home Animal Adoption service which can help you find a new home for your pet.

The city has passed the discovery of the abandoned puppies on to the province’s Animal Welfare Service department. Anyone with information on the abandoned animals is asked to contact Brampton Animal Services at ​905-458-5800.

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