A recent series of Emails among group of Mush with P.R.I.D.E. officers and members prompted some research on my part, and the discovery of what I consider to be a very interesting document. The Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association (CVMA) Code of Practice for Kennel Operators. The version I found is the second edition and shows a release date of May, 2007. The code is available in .pdf format and can be downloaded here.
The Canadian Kennel Code is described as “an educational tool by dog breeders, members of the general public acquiring dogs, animal welfare groups, and as a standard by those interested in the promotion of quality care, management, and welfare practices.” There are a lot of things I really like about it.
One of the things I like is that they try to define the term “humane care” in a way that makes the term more than just another animals rights fanataic catch-phrase. According to the Canadian Kennel Code, “Humane care is an all-inclusive term and does not simply rmbody the principle that one does not cause pain to an animal deliberately. Instead, one must strive to ensure that all avoidable pain, distress, discomfort and factors causing anxiety and suffering are eliminated from the conditions under which dogs are housed, bred and raised.”
Before going into detail, the code provides a short list of responsibilities common to everyone who has accepted responsibility for dogs. The statement is “Those who have accepted responsibility for any dog(s), regardless of their area of involvement, must provide:
1) comfort, shelter and security;
2) readily accessible fresh water and a diet capable of maintaining the dog(s) in full health and vigour;
3) freedom of movement;
4) the company of other animals, which includes the human who is often the only contact that the dog(s) might have with other living creatures;
5) the opportunity to exercise most, if not all, of their normal patterns of behaviour;
6) an environment and housing that neither harms the animal nor causes any undue strain or stress;
7) the ability to recognize and prevent abnormal behavioural patterns, injury, and parasitic infections and disease, including rapid diagnosis and treatment when indicated; and
8) appropriate health care.”
The Canadian Kennel code is organized in 8 sections covering selection of dog(s), housing and accommodate, food and water, care and supervision, transportation, euthanisia, education and emergencies and unforeseen problems. It is succinctly written yet provides enough information that a person new to dog care can use it as basic foundation on which to establish a healthy and happy kennel.
All in all, the CVMA Code of Practice for Kennel Operators is a pretty decent document and since it is free for downloading, the price is right as well.