Dog Mutilation Case Dismissed Due To Legislation ‘Loophole’

A local animal welfare charity was 'concerned' by the case
'Tail docking' is usually performed for cosmetic reasons 

A Canadian dog breeder has been found 'not guilty' of a practice called 'tail docking' in a case an animal welfare charity described as 'very disappointing'.

Debbie Baggs, 44, from Nova Scotia, was charged was charged by the NS SPCA for causing distress to puppies after she placed rubber bands on their tails until they lost circulation and eventually fell off.

'Generally accepted practice'

'Tail docking' is no longer practiced by veterinarians in the province. 

The 'procedure' - usually only performed for cosmetic reasons - was banned in 2010 by the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association.

But despite the consensus among veterinarians, the judge argued that tail docking could be categorized as a 'generally accepted practice in animal management'.

Local veterinarians officially stopped 'tail docking' in 2010


Consequently, under the terms of the existing legislation, the charges against the defendant were dropped.

While Section 21 of the province's Animal Protection Act explicitly states that 'no person shall cause an animal to be in distress', one subsection states that this 'does not apply if the procedure is carried on in the accordance with reasonable and generally accepted practices of animal management, husbandry or slaughter or an activity exempted by the regulations'.

SPCA 'concerned'

Since Baggs was acquitted, the Nova Scotia SPCA has called the province’s Animal Protection Act into question.

Jo-Anne Lansburg, Chief Provincial Inspector of the organization, expressed concerns that more pet owners will attempt 'tail docking' at home, and is lobbying for change in the legislation.

She said: "I’m confident that the minister of agriculture will see this for the loophole it is and make the appropriate changes in the legislation to prevent this from happening in the future."

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself. 

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PBN Contributor:

Emily Court is a passionate ethical vegan from Eastern Canada. She is a Challenge 22 Mentor, Digital Writer, and experienced animal advocate driven by issues of animal liberation and social justice. She studied at Dalhousie University, where her thesis highlighted intercultural and gender relations. She is an established public speaker, writer, and world traveller with a drive to provide a voice to those who might not otherwise have one. You can follow her on Instagram @emily.j.court or on Twitter @_EmilyJCourt_.

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