Our hearts ache for the dogs who lost their lives at the Saskatoon boarding kennel, and for their owners.
Currently, Saskatchewan pet care services are not regulated. Anyone can open a boarding, grooming, training, home-sitting, shelter,rescue or other pet-related business. CVMA suggested codes of practice exist, however, they are old, inadequate and little known within the industry.
Loving pets is essential, but it is not enough. Every pet-care service should operate with the highest of standards to do everything possible to ensure that people and animals are safe.
The provincial government is currently developing a new animal welfare strategy, and as part of their consultative process, we have asked them to regulate all pet care services. Similar to existing livestock codes and rather than creating a labour-intensive and expensive inspection process, smaller countries such as New Zealand adopted voluntary codes of welfare (See: Temporary housing of companion animals) for companion animals (dogs and cats) and boarding facilities. And other countries such as the United Kingdom have had laws in place since 1963!
It is our hope that Saskatchewan will lead the way in developing a similar model for our province.
Since every business operates very differently - different qualifications of the people, very different facilities, different approaches and investments in safety, guest care and customer service, until regulations are in place, it is important that pet owners who use pet-related service ask questions and tour facilities to ensure that what is being offered is acceptable.
Here is a guide to help pet owners know what to look for when selecting a kennel:
As well, here is our commitment to Health and Safety: