The pets owned by British Columbians are usually well cared for.
Whether they have pampered indoor animals or muddy-pawed working dogs and barn cats, people generally take their health and well being seriously.
When there are incidents of animal abuse and neglect, the general population is shocked.
The death of six dogs in a dog walker’s truck in the Fraser Valley a couple of years ago caused an uproar.
More recently, an alleged puppy mill was busted in Langley’s Glen Valley, and a large number of cats and more than a dozen dogs were seized from a breeder and kennel operator in Surrey.
This week, the B.C. government announced changes to the code of practices for kennel operators and cat and dog breeders.
The new rules will provide for minimum space for animals, a duty to provide immediate veterinary care, and may include proactive monitoring and enforcement for breeders. That last sounds like a good idea – a few random inspections could go a long way to clean out the dark corners of the industry.
More than a third of Canadians own a cat or a dog, according to a survey last year by the Canadian Animal Health Institute.
We owe it to our pets to take good care of them, and to ensure that the industries that supply us with pets are being watched.
Animals come into our lives from reputable breeders, from friends with litters, and from animal shelters.
They become parts of our families, providing companionship. All they ask is food and shelter and care, and sometimes a tossed ball or a warm lap on which to sleep.
People sometime question why the public seems to get angrier about crimes against animals than about violent crimes involving adult humans.
The simple reason is that, like children, animals didn’t make any choices to be where they are. They are entirely at the mercy of their owners.
We owe it to them to ensure that their owners do not fail them.