Petland, the largest pet store chain in Canada with 37 stores selling puppies and kittens, has announce that it will ‘phase out’ the sale of dogs and cats in its retail outlets. Claiming that this comes because of a supposed ‘change in the way people acquire pets through online sources, the pet store chain has already taken heavy pressure from groups like Actions Speak Louder Calgary to stop selling puppies (Source: Global TV Calgary, Actions Speak Louder Calgary, Winnipeg CTV).
In just about every public statement, Petland spokespersons say they always got their dogs from ‘respectable breeders’. While this is not only unlikely, it is also untrue. The Petland chain has frequently been identified as a retailer of puppy mill bred dogs according to investigations by the US Humane Society.
Petland follows PJ’s Pet’s (a.k.a Pets Unlimited) (the two largest chains of pet stores in Canada) who recently announced they would stop selling puppies as well. Independent pet stores selling animals and Pet Habitat now look like dinosaurs in the land of ‘enlighten pet stores’.
But while Petland claims that they never sourced from industrial breeding farms (i.e. puppy mills and kitten mills), one can’t ignore the incredible pressure that BC Supreme court-backed Richmond puppy sale ban, the proposed Winnipeg puppy sale ban and the excellent work of groups like Actions Speak Louder Calgary have had on public understanding of the shady industry of pet sales. I would suspect (tongue in cheek) that this ‘change in the way people purchase animals’ has a lot to do with people deciding not to support the pet industry at all, and choosing to adopt their pet instead.
But as my friend Helen frequently reminded me last year when we worked to prove that our local pets stores were sourcing from puppy mills, as long as the pet stores stop selling dogs and cats (and other animals too), then the positive outcome will have been achieved.
So power to the pet stores who choose the path to be a bit more humane. We don’t care how you happen to stop selling animals, … as long as it happens.