I am a former animal control officer. After doing care and counseling, I did 6 years in the law field. Until my non-profit shelter decided to let go 15 of us, very important and qualified personnel for, apparently, money reasons. But that’s another rant.
The province of Quebec has now adopted stronger laws when it comes to animal abuse. This law only applicable by MAPAQ accredited inspectors. I was. I have to say that this is good news. At some extent. Basically the law is the same, but the fines are higher and they can face jail time. The P42 is way better than it was a few years ago, but sadly, all this won’t make a big difference at this moment.
When I went to my training to be an inspector (training as explaining the new law and the paperwork), my team was the only team of actual well organized animal control officers, with experience on the field, laws, justice and intervention in all situations. Other SPCAs/SPAs have sent groomers, receptionists, a director. They absolutely have no clue what they are going to encounter on the field and what are citizens that you approach to apply a law.
When we got back at the shelter and got our files, I was sure it would be a piece of cake dealing with our municipal duties and the P42. We were 6 and at all time you just have to send a team west, a team east and a team on a P42 case (Puppy Mills) and do rotations. I was worried about the others that were with us in the class, but we were going to rock it. Oh! Was I in an illusion. Of course, the province asks for way more bizarre, repetitive paperwork than municipal charges. And of course, I was the one selected to do other’s paperwork. It was okay with me since I prefered applying municipal by-laws as we can apply them without hesitation. The province is more “scared”, for example, they wanted me to advise the owner that I was going to seize his 21 emaciated Huskies, on this date. I gave them the big “fuck you” and we went and seized them with a SQ backup. Advising the defendant is like the police calling a drug dealer to advise him they gonna do an operation tomorrow! The defendant is not stupid, he will disappear with all the proof. Quebec’s pencil pushers doesn’t get that. My operation was still a success.
But the general work we needed to do, the files that needed an update urgent or not, slept on the desk most of the time. My lazy coworkers and supervisor stating that they didn’t have the time, mostly because of the municipal contracts. LOADS OF BULLSHIT. I would have a lot to say about their laziness and lack of work etiquette, efforts and so on, but this is enough to say that probably many dogs are now dead or extremely in distress because of them. And then I think about that groomer and director that most, for real, not have much time to get through files. For me, the MAPAQ’s project was a disaster despite the good intentions. So for years, this was going forward as slow as a snail. And defendant that received accusations won’t pass in court until maybe 2 years and meanwhile, they can continue their activities. Everything and everyone is lacking in something. The last that I’ve known, my team is not better if not worst and the MAPAQ got for themselves inspectors that will be only doing this. The second one is good news.
Having a by-law like the P42 is not enough though. I’ve always that, for once, we should take example on some of our American neighbors to give some good hits to puppy mills and closet breeders. To start, a law should be adopted so that ALL petshop can only get their cats and dogs from shelters and rescues. Also, unless you are a Reg’ or PermReg’ in either The AKC or CKC and inspected, ALL dogs should be spayed/neutered. Same with cats. This would not only prevent backyard breeding, but accident breeding, behavior problems, health, etc.
But now, these measures doesn’t stop bad ownership. (Oh! And now pets are now considered as living being toward the law and not an object anymore! YAY!) Bad breeding is a part of bad irresponsible ownership, of course. But most people that gets a dog, have no clue how to educate one. First timers should be obligated with an ownership class and a puppy class. Not all dogs are for everyone and everyone is not for all dogs. Whether they are mixed or purebred, all breeds have their own character, level of energy, grooming needs, etc. But sadly, 98% of the population will get a dog for their looks or because they feel badass with this breed. These poor choices ends up with aggression, abandonment, and even cruelty due to lack of patience. The first mistake when a human brings home a dog, is to think that the dog is “human” and therefore, they will treat him like a baby human. Canines have their own way, their own hierarchy, their own view on life. To have the summum relationship with your dog, you have to think like a dog, you have to realize they need exercise and structure. Losing patience and use violence will only aggravate things. Massive seances of information should rain down the population to prevent all that we see and hear about biting, bad care, and mistreatment.
Dog trainers, the majority of them, never had any experiences in canine behavior. Worst, when I tried to find a “school” to become a dog handler, to perfect my experience, and I was baffled to learn that there is NO program, school or whatever (QC). This means that just anyone can claim to be a dog handler and make money on your back. So how can I prove my worth? I have been helping former neighbors with their dogs issues, and now, it goes smoothly, they told me how happy they were and thank me. So should I start my own dog information, behaviour help “company”? It would be a sideline most probably but… I don’t want to be labeled as a fraud, despite my officer, care and so on, experience. Who could counsel me on this project?… Oh! dear.
Meanwhile, inform yourselves if the breed(s) fits you, get counseling on raising a dog, spay-neuter the dog, give them GOOD food, exercise, grooming, and enjoy the cuddles!