Surprise inspections on Minto dog kennels find no concerns

MINTO – The Town of Minto has found no differences between scheduled inspections and unannounced visits to the licensed kennels in their town.

A report from bylaw officer Cam Forbes was presented to Minto council at an Oct. 20 meeting.

Minto councillors had received an influx of concerned letters from locals and beyond about the number of kennels in the town with allegations of puppy mills and selling to disreputable dog brokers.

As a response, Forbes said they made unscheduled inspections of the 15 licensed kennels in Minto.

“I did the inspections unannounced and there’s no change in these kennels whatsoever,” Forbes said to council.

He noted that not all 15 were breeding operations. One is a dog boarding house and another is a resident who has lots of dogs and is licensed because of bylaw.

Most are licensed for up to 15 dogs, which doesn’t include puppies under 12 weeks old, and one is grandfathered in with up to 39 dogs.

However, Forbes explained that most kennels have fewer than what they are licensed for.

His report to council included pictures showing no obvious problems or concerns.

He stressed that all kennels were clean, spacious, heated and offered free outside access for the dogs. All necessary records were also available for inspection.

“All our kennels have been able to show they have their vaccinations, all the veterinarian records up to date, the breeding records and where the puppies go,” Forbes said.

Councillor Jean Anderson brought up the concern about unlicensed operations in town and wondered where the reports were coming from in the letters council received.

Forbes said he has not heard about any unlicensed operations and thought that the emails seemed to be a form letter from those who haven’t seen a kennel in Minto.

Deputy mayor David Turton questioned the facility that had a license for 39 dogs saying there could potentially be a “whack of dogs” when the puppies are included and asked how a puppy mill differs from that facility.

“You look at a puppy mill a lot of times you have too many dogs in a small space, they don’t have access to the outside and they’re just not in good shape,” Forbes said.

When Turton asked if the town should consider a cap on kennels, with three more coming soon, Forbes replied that this could push some breeders to become unlicensed as there is a lot of money to be made in this business.

“Right now dogs are selling at a high-price because everyone wants a dog,” Forbes said. “The demand is there so the supply is there.”

Mayor George Bridge agreed with this concern.

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“Sure we can cap it but then what happens … then we have no control,” Bridge said, referring to the fact that an unlicensed kennel would not be subject to an annual inspection.

Overall, the mayor said he was happy to see this report.

“It helped me sleep better at night knowing that these were well run operations,” Bridge said.

TORONTO STAR