(Montreal) The pandemic has boosted the number of pets in Quebec homes. To ensure their well-being, Quebec will invest $8 million to hire at least 20 inspectors who will respond to complaints of abuse. A consultation tour on the well-being of cats and dogs will also be conducted over the next few months across the province.

In Quebec, one out of two households owns a pet. According to a survey by the Association of Veterinary Physicians of Quebec, there are 2.1 million cats and 1.1 million dogs in the province.

“The place occupied by pets in people’s lives is quite exceptional”, declared in a press briefing in Quebec the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Quebec (MAPAQ), André Lamontagne. , whose ministry is responsible for animal welfare.

“One thing that’s quite peculiar is that during the pandemic, we had a one-third increase: there were 33% more households that decided to bring a pet into their lives and we know that once we do that, we’re friends for a long time,” he added.

In 2022-2023, MAPAQ received more than 4,000 complaints under the Animal Welfare and Safety Act. Its inspectors carried out 6732 inspections. MAPAQ has 23 inspectors and seven veterinarians dedicated to animal welfare and collaborates with 34 “resources” within partner organizations.

With the increase in the number of pets, Minister Lamontagne also asked the Member of Parliament for Iberville and government assistant for animal welfare, Audrey Bogemans, to tour Quebec to consult with various stakeholders. Seven meetings will take place with around thirty organizations.

From May to September, she will meet with groups such as the SPCA and the Order of Veterinarians, as well as cat and dog breeders, sled dog owners and municipal representatives.

“We meet the people who are on the front lines, who act on the ground, because I am convinced that by being directly linked to reality, they have the solutions to move the animal welfare file forward” , she pointed out.

The meetings will focus on permits, the process of inspecting places of care and the notion of responsibility for animal welfare. “We want to broaden the reflection and we want to engage the groups that are involved in this file every day,” added Minister Lamontagne.

The Animal Welfare Act was passed in 2015. Previously, pets were considered “movable property”, he recalled.

“Quebecers show great sensitivity towards animal welfare and mentalities have evolved over the years,” said the Minister. “The law [recognizes] that animals are sentient and have biological imperatives and that the welfare and safety of animals is an individual and collective responsibility. »