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Backyard Breeding

Who really pays the price?

From the puppies that are bred and bought to the shelter dogs that get overlooked, the cost of backyard breeding in Manitoba is high. Here’s what you can do to stop it.

“Backyard breeders” are individuals who breed animals solely for profit, with no regard for breed preservation, sound temperament, or individual animal health and well-being. The case of Leo the Beagle puppy this past summer is a stark reminder of this.

Puppies are often sold to anyone willing to pay, with no screening for the right home.

During the pandemic, backyard breeding of dogs flourished across Manitoba, with breeders offering puppies for extremely high prices online. Today, a quick search will find hundreds of “designer” mixed breeds for sale on platforms like Kijiji at any given time.

The reality is that backyard breeders continue to pump out puppies at alarming rates, all the while the province battles a dog overpopulation crisis. Shelters and rescue groups continue to operate at maximum capacity and do not currently have the resources to address the waves of animals needing shelter post-pandemic.

Manitoba’s Animal Care Act sets out clear licensing requirements for kennel operations and companion animal breeding operations. Anyone with more than four intact female adult dogs must apply for a license to breed them. Important regulatory requirements also apply to licensed operations.

However, these licensing requirements have not been enforced by the province since 2013, with the Chief Veterinary Office (CVO) citing a lack of resources hindering their ability to implement this portion of the Act. As such, the breeding of companion dogs and cats continues to go unregulated in Manitoba.

What can you do?

First, it is important to recognize the common red flags of a breeder when looking for a new puppy.

Avoid breeders that:

  • Are willing to sell a puppy to anyone who will pay
  • Offer flashy, “designer” mixed breeds
  • Have multiple litters of puppies for sale each year
  • Have multiple different breeds of dogs for sale
  • Do not allow you to view the parents of the puppies for sale
  • Ask to meet you away from their property
  • Do not provide any sort of health screening or preventative veterinary care
  • Will not take a puppy back if the adopter cannot keep them
  • Do not provide a no-breeding contract for adopters

Secondly, adopt a puppy from a shelter or a rescue here in Manitoba instead. Rescues continue to be full of puppies awaiting their forever homes. There are so many benefits to giving a shelter animal a second chance.

Third, please contact your MLA and ask Manitoba’s NDP government to address the epidemic of backyard breeders in our province.

What is the ask?

Ask that the Manitoba government strengthen and re-implement the companion animal breeding licensing program as outlined within the Animal Care Act.

Secondly, ask the province to provide more resources to the Chief Veterinary Office so they can fully investigate backyard breeding operations and penalize those violating the act.

We’ve created a helpful guide to help you email or contact a political representative.