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ST. MARGARET'S BAY, N.S. — A “backyard breeder” from St. Margaret’s Bay could face up to five years in prison after the SPCA charged her for docking puppies’ tails.
Docking is the practice of removing a puppy’s tail, either by cutting it off with scissors or by putting a special band on the tail.
In this case, the SPCA says 35-year-old Candice Burneau, described as an unregistered “backyard breeder,” used rubber bands to remove the boxer puppies’ tails on Dec. 29, 2016.
“When bands are placed on puppies’ tails, basically what happens is the blood supply is cut off, and the tail becomes necrotic, and it falls off,” Nova Scotia SPCA chief inspector Jo-Anne Landsburg said in an interview.
“So you can imagine even placing a rubber band on the end of your finger, and waiting for the end of it to fall off. It would be quite a painful thing to happen.”
The practice, even if performed by a veterinarian, was banned in Nova Scotia in 2010. Landsburg said the SPCA receives between six and 10 complaints every year about puppies whose tails have been docked – most commonly boxers and smaller dogs like terriers and spaniels. Because veterinarians are no longer allowed to dock puppies’ tails, people running backyard kennels, and some real kennels, do it themselves.
“The issue is when somebody is doing it themselves, at home or wherever, they’re not providing any analgesics, any pain medication, they’re not using any anesthetic for the process, so it can be quite painful for the puppy,” Landsburg said.
Landsburg hopes the charges against Burneau will deter other backyard breeders from docking puppies.Burneau is charged with wilfully causing unnecessary suffering and injury to puppies under the Criminal Code, which carries stiffer penalties than the Animal Protection Act. If convicted, she could be jailed for up to five years, fined up to $10,000, or fined and jailed. She’s due in Halifax provincial court in March.