Animal shelter: MAPAQ must be rigorous for all its inspections | Protecteur du Citoyen
April 26, 2021

Animal shelter: MAPAQ must be rigorous for all its inspections


Sad dog behind bars

The complaint

A citizen was convinced that his dogs had been mistreated while at an animal shelter. After investigating, the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation (MAPAQ) concluded this was false. The man complained to the Québec Ombudsman.

The context

  • A citizen put his dogs in an animal shelter temporarily.
  • When he came to get them, he saw that they had not gotten the care they needed. According to him, his dog had been mistreated, so he filed a complaint with MAPAQ.
  • A week later, a MAPAQ inspector visited the shelter and found nothing wrong.
  • The dissatisfied citizen contacted MAPAQ to criticize the sloppy inspection. However, MAPAQ rejected the grounds for the new complaint.

What the investigation showed

  • The inspector should have visited the shelter within 24 hours of receiving the citizen’s first complaint. This deadline applies when it is likely that injured or suffering animals are not getting the required care.
  • Moreover, the inspector:
    - Did not consider all the evidence;
    - Only visited the shelter once quickly;
    - Reported inaccurate information.
  • The Québec Ombudsman noted that MAPAQ carried out a spot check of the same premises after the first inspection and found various problems with how the shelter was run. These shortcomings were detrimental to the animals’ welfare and safety. As the Québec Ombudsman saw it, the first inspector should have caught these failings.

The outcome

At the Québec Ombudsman’s request, MAPAQ produced an action plan to:

  • Improve its animal-inspection procedures;
  • Standardize its practices.

MAPAQ instructed the animal shelter to remedy the situation.

This case was taken from our 2019-2020 Annual Report.