Media Releases

Animal Justice Hopes PUPS Act Will Be First Step in Protecting Dogs

TORONTO—Animal Justice is welcoming the passage of the Preventing Unethical Puppy Sales Act (PUPS Act), but is calling on the Ontario government to consult on taking more meaningful action to address the crisis of puppy mills in Ontario.

This legislation, introduced by Solicitor General Michael Kerzner, amends the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act (PAWS Act) to prohibit dog breeders from engaging in a small number of harmful commercial breeding practices, like breeding female dogs under a year old, separating puppies from their mothers before they are eight weeks old, and failing to isolate dogs with contagious diseases.

But the bill will have little impact on puppy mills and backyard breeders in Ontario, because the PUPS Act did not provide detailed standards of care for adequate housing, food, exercise, socialization and vet care; did not limit the number of dogs who can be bred; and did not require licensing for dog breeders so they can be inspected and the laws can be enforced. Currently, authorities have no way of knowing where puppy mills and other unethical breeders are operating and cannot inspect them.

“We are pleased the government recognized that puppy mills are a problem in Ontario and took a small first step toward prohibiting them,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director at Animal Justice. “However, the absence of a licensing regime is still a pressing issue—if authorities don’t know where breeders are located, it is difficult for authorities to identify and shut down unregulated puppy mills and irresponsible backyard breeders. There is still much work to be done, and we are calling on the province to create regulations under the PAWS Act to ensure breeders are licensed, and provide robust standards of care to protect dogs and puppies.”

Multiple witnesses from animal protection groups, rescues, and shelters appeared at the Justice Policy Committee, which studied the PUPS Act, to advocate for a licensing regime.

Animal Justice remains committed to working with lawmakers to build on the progress made by the PUPS Act and looks forward to future advancements that will help ensure all dogs in Ontario are treated with the care and respect they deserve.


Josh Lynn
Public Relations Manager
[email protected]

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
[email protected]