WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Humane Society wants more teeth put in city bylaws that regulate pet ownership.

It’s calling for changes targeting pet owners and breeders to curb an overpopulation of animals, and it appears the city may look at making those changes.

Winnipeg Humane Society Chair Dr. Jonas Watson made a presentation to city hall’s protection committee Monday.

“The Winnipeg Humane Society and Winnipeg Animal Services and other groups are left to clean up the mess," said Watson. "It’s enough already."

Watson told the city committee thousands of cats and dogs are without homes and backyard breeders go unchecked.

“Consequently, anyone inclined can breed their animals for any number of bad reasons.”

He says a spay and neuter law for cats and dogs older than six months is required.

Watson is also lobbying for a pet licence regime allowing dogs or cats to be bred according to guidelines.

“Pet owners would earn such a licence by demonstrating a history of responsible pet ownership and by providing a reference from a veterinarian,” said Watson.

Carole Baldwin runs Boldwind Border Terriers. The hobby breeder said a crackdown is needed.

“I do believe something has to be done with backyard breeders and with puppy mills,” said Baldwin.

She worries a licensing program would unfairly punish responsible people like her who already pay for an excess animal permit and she is inspected annually.

“It’s always the ethical good breeders that get stomped on and then the rest get away with it,” said Baldwin

The committee voted to have the city’s animal services department look at the recommendations.

They also include a limit on exotic animals to prevent pet hoarding.

The committee heard 150 macaws were removed from a home in St. James in 2019.

“That’s both animal welfare issues, that’s way too many birds for a small space,” said Protection Committee Chair Councillor Sherri Rollins.

The councillors also voted to explore a prohibition of some traps and a ban on guard dogs.