Stronger Legislation Against Puppy Mills – A Great Step Forward

| December 6, 2023

Earlier this week, the Ontario government introduced legislation aimed to stop unethical dog breeding operations commonly referred to as puppy mills. The proposed Preventing Unethical Puppy Sales Act (PUPS Act) seeks to amend the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act (PAWS Act). Toronto Humane Society applauds legislation that advances animal welfare and views this as a step in the right direction. 

If passed, the legislation will effectively put an end to detrimental dog breeding practices, establish penalties for offenders, and ensure that dogs throughout Ontario receive the compassionate care they rightfully deserve.  

“We commend the introduction of the Preventing Unethical Puppy Sales Act (PUPS Act) by the Ontario government. We wholeheartedly support legislation that works to eliminate puppy mills, a critical step towards ending the suffering of countless dogs. While we await the passage of this vital legislation, individuals can make a meaningful difference by choosing to adopt animals and actively supporting their local animal shelters. Together, we can create a future where every animal is treated with the care and respect they deserve,” stated Phil Nichols, CEO, Toronto Humane Society. 

The changes proposed in the PUPS Act will prohibit the harmful dog-breeding practices most often associated with puppy mills and the reckless sale of dogs, such as: 

  • Breeding a female dog more than three times in a two-year period, or breeding more than two litters from a female dog’s consecutive heat cycles 
  • Breeding a female dog that is less than a year old 
  • Failing to keep a dog with a contagious disease away from other dogs or animals 
  • Failing to ensure a dog’s environment is sanitary and free from accumulation of waste 
  • Separating a puppy from its mother before the age of eight weeks 

According to the new legislation, the province is set to implement minimum penalties of $10,000 for individuals involved in operating a puppy mill and $25,000 if these infractions lead to the death of a dog. Additionally, the changes empower the province to collaborate on crafting regulations that define the conditions to be met when selling or transferring a dog. The legislation also paves the way for establishing regulations regarding record-keeping in this context. 

As an organization dedicated to improving the lives of animals, we applaud this push for stronger legislation against puppy mills. We will continue to follow this piece of legislation as it moves its way through the provincial government and share any updates.