New Quebec pet and breeding law bans declawing, tail-docking and other cosmetic surgeries

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New regulations on pet ownership and breeding in Quebec came out this week.

They include major advances for pet care and the humane treatment of horses. The new Animal Welfare and Safety Act would also ban non-therapeutic surgeries like declawing in cats, and tail-docking or ear-cropping in dogs.

The controversial procedures are ones most vets already won't perform anymore.

"We're trying to make clients understand that these are invasive procedures, not a simple procedure but an actual surgical amputation," said vet Dr. Isak Kusato

The regulations also prohibit the use of gas chambers for euthanasia and a ban on the use of prong collars for dogs. The Pierrefonds Animal Hospital won't even stock those products.

"Prong collars, people don't understand that they are a lot more harmful than they think, and it won't correct the behavioural issue," said Kusato. "There are a lot of non-aggressive other ways of managing the behaviour that you're trying to stop."

The bill also calls for a maximum of 50 cats or dogs owned by one breeder.

The Humane Society International Canada said it's a good move but not ambitious enough. Ewa Demianowicz says

"When you consider it, 50 animals in just one facility it can equal hundreds of puppies per year, and it's usually one or two people caring for them," said Humane Society senior campaign manager Ewa Demianowicz.

The rule is an effort to reduce puppy mills.

Demianowicz said the Humane Society has raided puppy mills where there were over 500 dogs that were being bred for sale.

Yet, the Humane Society said the changes have to have more teeth - the law needs to be enforced.

"It's great to have improvements legislated on paper, (but) it won't make a difference for animals concretely if we don't have inspectors," said Demianowicz.

She wants assurances that investigators will be going in and checking breeding facilities and situations of neglect.

The Montreal SPCA has been demanding these changes for years and wants even more since, the organization says, the permanent chaining of dogs and animals used in research will not be protected by the new laws. 

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