Archive for September, 2010

Puppy-mill issue is in center court

The BC SPCA has seized 14 dogs from a suspected puppy-mill in Abbotsford. See article on CTV.

Marcie Moriarty, Director of Cruelty Investigations for the BC SPCA, has highlighted the need for municipalities to ban the sale of dogs in pet stores.  CTV has published Oct. 4th as the date for Richmond City Council to discuss this issue.

This comes right as we are all preparing to speak to council on Oct. 4th for the General Purposes Committee meeting, albeit the agenda item is still tentative until we hear from City Hall.

If you haven’t already sent a letter to the Mayor and Councillors regarding your support of the Ban on the Sale of Dogs in Storefronts, please email today to:


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Animal welfare history in the making

This morning I got an email from a Richmond resident regarding the process by which council is considering the proposal to Ban the Sale of Dogs in Storefronts.  This is an excellent query, so here’s a little history and some information on current events.

Richmond’s petition to stop the sale of animals in pet stores was started during a RAPS board meeting, and was based on the need to stop the steady stream of dogs, cats, rabbits, guineas pigs and birds that were purchased at local pet stores and quickly surrendered to the Richmond Animal Shelter.  A new balance between incoming animals and re-homed animals had to be established.  Hence, the need to stop retail sales of animals.  The petition has been circulated by volunteers and by the BC SPCA.

In 2009, Councilmen Ken Johnston brought forth a proposal to Richmond’s council to Ban the Sale of Dogs in Storefronts.    That proposal was considered during the March 2 General Purposes Committee meeting.  See minutes here.

During that meeting, committee members asked staff to research items further, but as of Sept. 1, this issue has not been put on the General Purpose Committee agenda. We are encouraging council to put this issue on the Oct. 4th General Purposes Committee agenda.

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American Dogs just a little better off…now.

The Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS), performed its own investigation of the sales techniques and supply of puppy-mill bred dogs to West Hollywood pet stores.  Their work resulted in the West Hollywood city council banning the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores.  Here is a list of articles by the CAPS West Coast Director, Carole Davis, documenting the struggle and the success.  See these articles in The America Dog.

West Hollywood Bans Puppy-mill Sales

Spay and Neuter Laws

March for Free Speech for Those who have no Speech

Virtual Pet Stores

Pets, Lies and Legislation

Inside the Rescue Revolution

Undercover Investigation at a Pet Shop

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Animal Welfare Advocacy Coalition now on Facebook!

You can now join forces with the Animal Welfare Advocacy Coalition (AWAC) via Facebook.  Search for “Animal Welfare Advocacy Coalition”  (location: Richmond, BC).  Request to join!

See you on Facebook!


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Converting a pet store to a humane and profitable business

Kudos to my friend Helen for sending this wonderful story about a pet store that made the change to stop selling dogs.

This pet store owner used to sell dogs from Hunte Corporation, a well-known broker and distributor of puppy-mill animals, and came to see how Hunte was lying to him about their cruel business.  Pet stores in Canada, including Pet Habitat, PJ’s Pets and Petland all sell puppies from the Hunte Corporation.

This article from Best Friends shows how a pet store owner came to see the truth.  Click here.

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CBC’s Marketplace exposes Canada’s PJ Pets and Pet Habitat

Who do you trust when it comes to investigative research on puppy mills?  On March 2, Richmond’s Pet Habitat and PJ’s Pets owners spoke to city council saying that this CBC report was one-sided and had been removed by CBC.  That, of  course, was a lie, and CBC’s research stands.  PJ’s Pets and Pet Habitat are purchasing their animals from Hunte Corporation that sources puppies from known puppy mills in the States. If these stores won’t admit to, let alone take responsibility for, their sales of abused and neglected animals, than we must instead.  Check out this documentary on CBC:

How not to buy a puppy! on CBC’s Marketplace

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West Hollywood’s landmark decision to ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores

A special thanks to Helen for sending me this video.  Watch the whole thing, and see how it really can be done!

“What you are doing is attempting to harmonize the situation.”  Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the US regarding his support on the ban of the sale of dogs and cats in retail stores in West Hollywood.

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“Yeah, you’re a rabbit.”

This is my favorite quote from the press coverage on the UVic Rabbits.  It’s from Laura-leah Shaw on her experience driving the UVic rabbits across the US/Canadian border.

“They go through customs, it’s really not a problem — the border’s fine,” she said. “We have a permit to take them through. The inspection is basically someone looking into the van and saying ‘Yeah, you’re a rabbit.'” Read more.
(Photo left:  Rabbit Haven in Gig Harbor, right across from the Canadian border.)

R.A.F. men with their pet rabbits at a Squadron near the lines

RAF men showing off their pet rabbits, France, during World War I. Lying underneath the fuselage of an aeroplane, these three RAF men parade their pet rabbits for the cameras inspection. Well known for their fondness of animals, British soldiers were keenly aware that keeping pets was an excellent way of maintaining a regiment’s morale – hence the large number of regimental mascots adopted by British troops.

Rabbits were not the only animals kept by soldiers during the Great War. Despite the shellfire, cats co-existed with soldiers in the trenches, where they killed rats and mice and thus helped to fight disease and protect food supplies. In addition to using pigeons to carry messages, soldiers sent canaries and mice into the mining tunnels being dug underneath enemy lines as a means of checking for poisonous gases.

[Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. R.A.F. men with their pet rabbits at a Squadron near the lines.’]

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700 UVic rabbits take road trip to Texas (Richmond News)

by Christie Lagally

(Photo left: TRACS for Texas-bound Bunnies)

See original article in the Richmond News

The University of Victoria bunny rescue effort is almost ubiquitous.

This issue has received a lot of press for a number of reasons: the damage caused by the rabbits, the inhumane treatment caused by trapping during breeding season, and the amount of resources spent by the university while making no progress in dealing with the animals.

However, following a court decision to allow the trapping and relocation of thousands of rabbits from the UVic campus, rescuers are scrambling to find a way to make that happen and solve UVic’s rabbit problem.

So, in the spirit of back-to-school, here is a word problem for those new freshmen at UVic; Say you have 700 bunnies living on campus that are the offspring of abandoned pets, and say they are eating all your landscaping and digging holes in the lawns.

One day, you decide they must be shipped off somewhere else, and a sanctuary in Texas offers to take some of them (others will stay on Vancouver Island.)

If you can trap approximately 30 rabbits per trip, make a stop in Richmond to have them spayed and neutered and head down south to Texas, how long will it take for all the rabbits to reach the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch and how much will it cost?”

If I were faced with this question on an exam, I would fail Rabbit Rescue 101, which is hopefully a required course at UVic by now.

As with so many real-world problems, we need a little more information.

First, it takes a few days for UVic staff to trap the rabbits and three or four days for the little guys to get fixed by the veterinary in Richmond.

The rabbits are then transported across the border to Washington so they are out of the country within the seven-day time period set by the Ministry of the Environment who apparently “digs” getting into the nitty-gritty of abandoned pet-bunny management.

The drive to Wild Rose Rescue Ranch is 3,869 km, and the truck from Washington State to Texas comes up infrequently. The answer: it will take about five to six months to move the rabbits (if all goes well), but the Ministry has given TRACS for Texas-bound Bunnies until roughly the end of November to get the job done or the rabbits will be killed by the university.

TRACS for Texas-bound Bunnies is an ad hoc organization which includes The Responsible Animal Care Society (TRACS) in Westbank, B.C.

They are one of many organizations working on the UVic rabbit rescue, but TRACS is transporting and spaying/neutering the 700 Texas-bound rabbits.

And with only three months, instead of six months to implement this bunny road trip, TRACS needs our help to speed things along.

While a generous donation from FurBearer Defenders is paying for some of the costs, volunteers are needed to help drive the bunnies across the border and assist with the post spay/neuter surgery recovery of the rabbits.

Moreover, TRACS is in need of donations of rabbit pellets, bales of hay, fresh produce, animal carriers, water bottles and gas cards to pay for the transportation costs.

TRACS has also made a special plea to residents of local farms to provide a temporary resting area where the rabbits can safely await transport to the States.

Furthermore, volunteers are needed to hold fundraisers for this three-month rescue effort, and this is a great opportunity to get involved in helping animals for a short period of time.

With your help, the UVic rabbits will be speaking with a Texas accent by Christmas time – a much better future than their impending doom at UVic.

To help the Texas-bound bunnies call TRACS (Vancouver) at (604) 551-9297 or donate online at

Christie Lagally is a pet columnist. View her blog at

© Copyright (c) Richmond News

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Rescue Group Swap Zone! launched on “Sniffing Out Home” blog

I learn a lot writing about rescue groups in the Vancouver/Richmond area, and I am consistently amazed how many resources are available if only we could get those specific resources to the right groups.  General organization of supplies is an ongoing problem for many rescue efforts, so I thought I’d help (a little!)  by gathering some links to a few ‘wish lists’ from rescue groups in our area.  Check out the Rescue Group Swap Zone! on this blog; you might just have some items that these groups need.

Also, if you know of a rescue group with a wish list that should be added to the list, please email me or comment on this post.

(Photo left:  Rita enjoying one of her first chew toys at the RAPS City Shelter).

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