Archive for April, 2011

BC Court upholds Richmond’s ban on the sale of dogs in pet stores!

Bebe and Spider at the Richmond Animal Shelter

A new day has arrived for the ongoing fight to stop the retail sale of dogs in pet stores and reduce the number of unwanted pets in Richmond, in Canada and in North America! On April 14, Justice John Savage ruled that the  City of Richmond had good reason to enact this bylaw, and that it was a justified action to take to reduce the large number of abandoned pets in the city.   See the Richmond Review article, but it’s below as well.

Also see our updated website page:  Puppy Ban Media Coverage.

Court upholds Richmond’s ban

on retail sale of dogs

By Matthew Hoekstra – Richmond Review
Published: April 15, 2011 3:00 PM
Updated: April 15, 2011 3:43 PM

A B.C. Supreme Court has dismissed a petition launched by three Richmond pet stores seeking to quash a bylaw restricting the sale of dogs in retail outlets.

In a judgement released yesterday, Justice John Savage ruled Richmond council’s decision to ban the retail sale of dogs was a reasonable move to reduce unwanted and abandoned pets.

Last fall city council approved the bylaw, which is set to take effect later this month. That raised the ire of Pet Habitat, PJ’s Pets and Pets Wonderland, which jointly launched legal action against the city.

Pets Wonderland sells approximately 150 dogs per year, netting the store $700 to $2,500 each, while PJ’s sells approximately 50 dogs annually.

In the lead-up to the approval of the bylaw, the city received plenty of written submissions, including two petitions: a 2,160-signature petition supporting the ban, another 1,174-signature petition opposing it.

The pet stores argued the bylaw wouldn’t reduce unwanted and abandoned dogs and Richmond acted in bad faith. The judge disagreed.

“In my view Richmond had a valid municipal purpose in enacting the bylaw, reducing the number of unwanted and abandoned dogs in Richmond,” wrote Savage.

Pet stores also argued the bylaw discriminated against them because breeders, kennels and others are still able to sell through the Internet. They further stated there was no clear evidence relating to the impulse buying of pets, which the city sought to stop.

“People do most things on impulse including getting married. There is no connection established that people who do things on impulse change their minds. To the contrary decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately,” argued the petition.

But Justice Savage ruled the bylaw would only be discriminatory if the bylaw didn’t act within the public interest.

“Here council distinguished between businesses which made it relatively easy to purchase a dog and those which made it more difficult. There was some evidence

that it was easier to purchase a dog from a pet store; it was possible to buy the dog and take it home the same day with little screening. Breeders and kennels had stricter criteria and often there was a delay between choosing a dog and taking it home.”

Savage concluded the pet stores “overstated their case.”

“The decision to prohibit the sale of dogs in pet stores falls within a range of acceptable outcomes that are defensible with regard to the facts and law. There is a rational connection between the bylaw and its objective.”

The bylaw, initiated by Coun. Ken Johnston, goes into effect April 30.



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Made it to Seattle…cat and all

Seattle Space Needle circa 1960-ish

As many of you know, my husband, two dogs and cat crossed the Canadian border and returned home to Seattle at the end of March.  What we expected to be a difficult border crossing with one reactive dog in one car and a protective dog in the other, proved to be a simple border crossing except for the cat. Our cat Buca, who is not accustomed to long distance travel, was not a pleasant travel companion according to my husband, Eric, who drove her to Seattle.

Typically we let Buca roam the car rather than make her stay in her crate.  This avoids the constant meows of complaint.  But Buca took the opportunity to explore the half-pack car and found herself stuck under the driver’s seat half-way to Seattle.  My husband banned her to the crate for the rest of the trip, and another whole hour of meowing ensued.  I don’t think Eric has recovered yet.

However, we are now nicely settled in our temporary home in Edmonds, WA where Toby and Duchess (our dogs) have visited the dog friendly beach almost every day.  Duchess, our 16 yr old miracle of nature, runs up and down the beach as if she were 6 instead of 16.

Toby on the beach

Toby is fascinated by his new surroundings, having never really been outside of Richmond, BC.  Down the street from our temporary house is a cat colony at a woman’s home.  She feeds and cares for the population, and they are a constant reminder to me of all the rescue work required to take care of so many domestic animals.  Toby finds the many cats fascinating and practically holds his breath as we come around the corner and he prepares to bark at the sleeping fur balls in the driveway.  Remarkably, the cats are undisturbed by Toby’s ‘comments’.  I guess they had seen it all before.

We took Duchess and Toby for donuts and coffee  on Saturday morning to our favorite vegan donut house, Mighty O Donuts, in Tangletown.  Toby and Duchess did great with the crowds and bright happy vegan donut eaters passing by.  It was a wonderful way to have breakfast.  But the warm, fuzzy feeling we always had about going to Mighty O was enhanced even more that morning when the Seattle Humane Society adoption truck pulled up for an adoption event outside the donut shop.  Somehow, I felt we’d found some kindred souls as the volunteers walked the little dogs for adoption and answered questions from passersby.

Duchess chewing a 'stick'

Duchess chewing a "stick"

Our donut morning was concluded with a ‘power walk’ (as my friend Sonya used to call it) with the dogs in a close heal around the heavily canine trafficked Greenlake Park in Seattle.  Yes, Toby was shocked by joggers, dogs of all sizes, people on rollerblades, skateboards, mini-golf players and brave ducks that had no intention of moving out-of-the-way of foot traffic.  It was Toby’s first visit to a city park like this, so who can blame him for being a little reactive.  Also, Toby has never seen so many squirrels.  But the most notable part of our visit to Greenlake Park (that my husband and I discussed on the way home) was that each and every dog was on a leash.  Yes, there were some, like Toby and Duchess, who were not perfectly behaved, but all were on leash.  Duchess, Toby, Eric and I were all calmer to be around a universal group of responsible dog owners.

Edmonds, WA

Yes, I think we’re gonna like it here…

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