“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.