10/22/2013 03:53 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

New puppy mill rules not firm enough, Quebec advocates say

Some animal rights' advocates are concerned that Quebec’s new measures will not prevent puppy mills from operating in the shadows.

The province has announced that anyone owning 15 or more cats or dogs will have to have a licence.

Those owners would also be subject to inspection under the new rules.

Agriculture Minister François Gendron said the aim is to ensure that cats and dogs are bred and sold humanely.

However, the director of animal advocacy for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Alanna Devine, said the rules don’t go far enough.

"I do think it's going to help. Will it solve the problem entirely? No."

She said there are still ways to work around the permit system; for instance, a person with 13 female animals and one male could still run a puppy mill.

Devine said she's concerned inspections will take place only if there is a complaint.

She says that will allow puppy mills to continue to operate in the shadows and will do little to diminish Quebec's reputation as the puppy mill capital of Canada.