A BC Liberal MLA is accusing the premier and the province of failing to enforce animal welfare legislation after 21 sick dogs were surrendered by a Vancouver Island breeder this week.

North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Jane Thornthwaite says the NDP government is dragging its feet on funding a regulatory agency to enforce animal welfare standards.

“This week the BC SPCA was again called to confiscate animals from a Vancouver Island breeder, demonstrating the immediate need for licensing or registration to be put in place to save animals from harm across the province,” Thornthwaite said.

The BC SPCA has called on the government to implement regulations and standards of care for dogs and cats in the breeding industry.

“The dogs surrendered to the BC SPCA on July 2 are in serious condition," Thornthwaite said.

"This is not the first time this breeder has been suspected of neglecting animals in their care. This situation could have been prevented if the NDP weren’t dragging their feet on yet another long consultation process.”

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham responded to the allegations Friday, telling CTV News that she is working to establish new rules around puppy mills and breeders that violate animal welfare standards.

"The B.C. NDP government will get it done, and the public can expect action before the end of the year," Popham said, adding the previous BC Liberal government "failed for 16 years to address this problem."

Popham said the action will include either registration or licensing for commercial breeders.

"We will take the time necessary to get such a system right and that’s why we have consulted with key stakeholders such as the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Canadian Kennel Club, Canadian Cat Association, individual breeders and local governments."

Discussions with those groups are ongoing and the government has yet to determine how the regulatory system will be administered.