Posts tagged advocacy against animal sales

Suffolk County (NY) has the makings of a better law for puppies

This quote made my day!  It’s from the North Shore News in Suffolk County NY.

“It’s time Suffolk County joins a national trend and bans these businesses that support the puppy mill industry.”

I’m sure glad to hear this called a ‘national trend’.   Suffolk County legislator Jon Cooper has proposed a law to ban the retail sale of dog in pet stores.  See article here.  The proposed law will take some time for consideration, and the public is asked to participate.   Here is a web comment from that same article inviting input.   Three cheers for Suffolk Co. and Jon Cooper!

Comment from Jon Cooper (reprinted):

Thank you for posting this story about yesterday’s public hearing on my “puppy mill” bill. If any of your readers would like to testify in support of this bill at the next public hearing, they can call my district office for full details at (631) 854-4500. They can also email me at The hearing will take place at the next General Meeting of the County Legislature in Hauppauge and is scheduled for 6:30 PM on Tuesday, August 2nd.

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Retail pet sale bans are spreading … to Los Angeles!

While the rise of puppy mills and retail pet sales in the decades after WWII was a set back for animal welfare progress, the tide has shifted in the last few years.  In general, puppy mills and pet stores selling animals have been unwilling to act ethically and humanely and to stop the ripple of problems and cruelty they cause by indiscriminately breeding and selling dogs, cats, rabbits and other pet store animals.

It’s very sad that cities, like Richmond, BC in Canada or West Hollywood in the US, must actually ban such blatantly cruel practices in order to stop the activities of Hunte Corporation and other such puppy mills and puppy distributors.  Meanwhile, you would think that people who work with dogs in these pet stores  would see the harm they are causing, and make changes to stop retail sales.  But change is not coming from within the pet stores or the animals mills.

And so it goes, on Tuesday, June 7th, the Los Angeles City Council voted to draft a bylaw to ban the sale of dogs, cats, rabbits and chickens.   Los Angeles’ department of animal services has been directed to draft the law, which would affect around 100 pet stores selling animals according to  Councilman Paul Koretz proposed initiative, and the decision to draft the bylaw was unanimously voted in by his fellow council members.   Yippee!   I can’t wait to see the bylaw!!!  See one article here.

Back in October 2010, a reporter for CTV asked me (after the vote  for Richmond to ban the sale of dogs in pet stores), “Who are the winners from tonight’s vote?”   After a 3-hour of city council meeting, I simply answered that the dogs who were saved were the real winners.  But as I’ve thought about that question these last few months, I’ve come up with some very different answers.  The real winners from banning the sale of animals in retail outlets are the pet store owners and puppy mills themselves.  Because while most of us want to do ‘what’s right’, apparently for some people it’s easier to be blinded by greed  while staring directly at animal cruelty.    The real winners were the pet store owners and the puppy mills who, when being unwilling to make the ethical choice to stop their practices, are having that choice made for them — just like in Los Angeles, Richmond, BC, South Lake Tahoe, Albuquerque, Hermosa Beach, CA, Lake Worth, FL, and the list will get longer… thankfully.

Today we celebrate those people who are fighting the good fight to progress the state of animal welfare.  Thank you!

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Why stop at dogs, bunnies when banning pet sales?

Christie and Eric's cat Buca

Original article in the Richmond News.

By Christie Lagally, Richmond News

March 4, 2011 6:02 AM

Just like in Richmond, Austin, Texas, recently banned the sale of dogs in pet stores. But it didn’t stop at just dogs. Austin city councillors implemented a new law to ban the sale of cats, too, and to require private breeders to spay or neuter their animals before sale.

The councillors had a goal in mind: to reduce the euthanasia rate of animals in its local shelter and run the facility as no-kill.

It’s working. According to the Austin Public Information Office, its animal shelter had a live outcome rate of 75 per cent prior to the implementation of the new law. One month later and after the closing of a large pet store, the live outcome rate at the city shelter soared to 88 per cent. That’s a huge impact for one bylaw to make, and the live outcome rate includes all animals in the shelter – not just dogs and cats.

On April 30, Richmond’s bylaw banning dog sales in pet stores comes into effect.

While the Richmond Animal Protection Society already runs our local shelter as no-kill, the pressure to stop retail puppy sales was also spurred by the large number of surrendered pet store dogs.

Reptile at the Richmond Reptile, Education & Adoption Society

The problem is Richmond’s ban only applies to the sale of bunnies and dogs. Kittens and cats, the most abundant pet for adoption in Richmond, will still be sold in pet stores. (See cats for adoption here in Richmond here.)

Furthermore, rescue groups such as Greyhaven Exotic Bird Sanctuary and Richmond Reptile Education and Adoption Society are taking in record numbers of birds and reptiles – most of which were originally bought at pet stores.

Why are sales of kittens, birds and reptiles any different than dogs and bunnies? Fundamentally, the same problems of impulse pet buying and animal abandonment or surrender exists.

Macaw at Greyhaven's Sanctuary

Because RAPS takes in nearly every homeless cat and provides a cat sanctuary (on No. 6 Road) for unadoptable cats, while Greyhaven and Richmond Reptile care for every bird and reptile in their care, the political pressure to stop the sale of these animals isn’t heard as loudly.

But it should be. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the figurative ‘rally’ for birds, reptiles and cats in Richmond.

Next week my husband, two dogs and cat will be packing up and resettling in Seattle. Sadly, I will have to say goodbye to writing my Richmond News pet column.

In the meantime, I want to say how proud I am that Richmond residents have made this city the most humane city in Canada.

Toby and

Toby and Duchess ready to head south to Seattle

Your efforts to ban the retail sale of dogs and bunnies, require cage-free eggs in city facilities and support a no-kill city animal shelter are what makes Richmond a true gem of a place to live for animal lovers.

And until birds, reptiles and cats have the same protection from our bylaws as dogs and bunnies, please support and advocate for those groups dearest to my heart – RAPS, Greyhaven Exotic Bird Sanctuary and the Richmond Reptile Rescue and Adoption Society. Like many other wonderful rescue groups in B.C., they are the ones fighting on the front lines against animal homelessness, neglect, abuse and indiscriminate sales in Richmond.

Christie Lagally is a volunteer pet columnist and founder of the Animal Welfare Advocacy Coalition. She will continue to write her blog ( from her new home in Seattle.

© Copyright (c) Richmond News
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Winnipeg looking to right some wrongs for pets

The City of Winnipeg, Manitoba is considering a ban on the sale of dogs in pet stores to stop the financial support of puppy-mills by local retail outlets. Check out this CTV article. (A special thanks to my friend Helen for sending me this information!)

Winnipeg has quite a few stores that sell animals, including puppies, so this law would go a long way to stopping the range of problems caused by retail sales of puppies and other animals.  Amongst many pet stores, a Petland chain store is also located in Winnipeg.  Petland is notorious for their sale of puppy-mill bred dogs (see: US Humane Society) and their connection with Hunte Corporation.  Furthermore, in 2008, the US Humane Society sued Petland and the Hunte Corporation for racketeering and misleading customers.  A quote from the lawsuit is below:

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Phoenix, alleges that Petland violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and numerous state consumer protection laws by misleading thousands of consumers across the country into believing that the puppies sold in Petland stores are healthy and come from high-quality breeders.  Read more…

In 2008, two former Petland franchisees sued Petland and the Hunte Corporation for their horrific business practices (see:  Animal Law Coalition).

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Phoenix, alleges that Petland violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and numerous state consumer protection laws by misleading thousands of consumers across the country into believing that the puppies sold in Petland stores are healthy and come from high-quality breeders.

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Lake Worth, Florida bans the retail sale of dogs and cats! Yippee!!!

Buster Brown at Palm Beach Animal Care and Control

A town in Florida, Lake Worth, has become one of a growing number of US and Canadian cities to ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores thereby stopping the flow of animals from puppy and kitten mills to retail outlets.


Find all the details in the Palm Beach Post News.  However, here are a few quotes from that article.

It prohibits the sale of dogs or cats in Lake Worth unless the animal has been bred and reared on the property of the seller.

The ordinance also requires the posting of signs explaining where the dogs and cats were bred and reared. Buyers must be given a “certificate of source” telling where the dog or cat came from.

Goals include promoting the adoption of dogs and cats and reducing the sale of mill-bred animals that perpetuate the pet overpopulation problem, said Varela, a veterinarian.

Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control euthanized 3,686 dogs and 10,176 cats during the year that ended Sept. 30.

The ordinance does not prohibit licensed animal-rescue groups from selling or otherwise transferring ownership of dogs or cats.

Don Anthony, spokesman for the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, said Lake Worth’s pet-sale ordinance will be the first of its kind in Florida and one of a handful of similar ordinances nationwide.

“We’re encouraging them to take the step and become a shining example,” Anthony said.

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COLORADO! Fort Collins geared up to ban retail sales of ALL animals


Well, I couldn’t be more proud of being from Colorado, because a student at CSU and animal advocate, Laure Molitor, has passed the first test to get a petition to ban the sale of animals in pet stores in Fort Collins, CO.

Check out this wonderful article!  The Coloradoan

Way to go!

Petitions for proposed ban on pet sales filed

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Victoria Times columnist calls for pet-store puppy sale ban

Well, here we go! Richmond’s decision to ban the sale of dogs from retail outlets is starting to spread throughout BC, and the latest call comes from Times columnist, Virginia Bennett.  See her simple and clearly stated article here.

For resources on banning the sale of dogs in your city, click here.

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Ban on the sale of dogs in Richmond’s pet stores adopted! Rejoice!

The amendment to Richmond’s business licensing bylaw to ban the sale of dogs in pet stores has officially been adopted!  Beginning April 2011, retail outlets cannot sell dogs in Richmond, BC.

It’s a historic moment in animal welfare history!   Rejoice!

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City Council’s support of puppy sale ban backed by community members!

Thanks to your support and the work of many animal welfare organizations, the Richmond City Council will be holding a final vote on the Amendment to Ban the Sale of Dogs in Richmond’s Storefronts.  The final vote will be held on this Monday, Nov. 8th at 7 PM in Richmond City Council chambers.  You are cordially invited to attend!

Upon adoption of this amendment, Richmond will become the first city in Canada to outlaw the sale of dogs in pet stores, and hold a place in Canadian, as well as worldwide, animal welfare history.  See the agenda.

Furthermore, during the public consultation on this bylaw amendment, supporters sent in 217 pages of comments, and only two pages represent individuals opposed the amendment adoptions.   See those public comments here.

It seems that Richmond City Council has truly represented the Richmond community by proposing and supporting this amendment.  Thank you!

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Puppy mixes it up with reptiles

"Puppy" the African Spurred Tortoise

By Christie Lagally, Special to the Richmond News November 3, 2010.  See original Richmond News article.

Puppy is not your typical household pet.

He lives at the Reptile Rescue, Adoption and Education Society in Richmond where he frequently has the run of the place.

While Puppy saunters past ball pythons, bearded dragons, red-eared turtles and iguanas — all of which have been surrendered to the rescue society by their past owners — Puppy doesn’t appear to alarm any of them.

All the reptile residents seem to know Puppy is one of their own, because Puppy is a large African Spurred tortoise.

The Reptile Rescue, Adoption and Education Society was founded by Val Lofvendahl in 2003. She was the proud owner of an iguana many years ago, when she found that the advice from the pet store about caring for her iguana was just wrong, and the iguana suffered as a result.

She vowed then that she would work to help homeless and sick reptile pets recover from poor conditions and find them new homes.

I visited the society’s rescue facility this summer with absolutely no knowledge of reptiles, and I was shocked to see how many homeless reptiles there are in Richmond alone.

“Very few were purchased from breeders; most were impulse buys from pet stores where the customers were poorly educated,” says Lofvendahl.

In fact, the Reptile Rescue is the only such rescue in Richmond, and one of only a handful of such rescues in the Lower Mainland.

corn snake

Most abandoned or surrendered pet iguanas, geckos, corn snakes, slider turtles, pythons and lizards will typically end up at this rescue facility because most shelters don’t have the expertise to care for these unique creatures.

Since 2003, more than 400 reptiles and amphibians have been taken in by the society, and there are usually about 50 in care at all times. 2010 has been a record year of intakes.

Lofvendahl introduced me to the animals that she cares for daily.

As I walked in the door, a very friendly iguana named George greeted me with dignified attention and regard.

I felt honoured to be in his presence. As Lofvendahl showed me into George’s living area, she quickly stroked his back and he closed his eyes in what appeared to be utter contentment.

George the Iguana

I got the feeling that if George had been a cat, he would have been purring. I was also introduced to some snakes that were abandoned in a drug house after the police had raided the home.

While red-eared turtles were banned from sale in Richmond’s pet stores a few years ago, a few still show up in rescues when people tire of them.

According to Lofvendahl, ball pythons are the most common snake being given up, and iguanas and bearded dragons are the most popular lizards being neglected.

I was also stunned to learn that some of the turtles, like Puppy, live up to 100 years and are sold to people who think a tortoise will be easier to care for than a dog.

While Puppy is a spritely seven year old tortoise, I met one of Puppy’s younger counterparts, Chuckles, who was just 1-1/2 years old.

Chuckles was sold to someone who had no idea that the tortoise would outlive his caretaker and end up in a shelter eventually. While Lofvendahl works diligently to find permanent homes for all the reptiles, tortoises like Puppy and Chuckles are better suited for life in an appropriate sanctuary.

The adoptable reptiles are listed on the society’s website at Like any rescue group, you fill out an application to ensure that you can offer a safe and permanent home for these creatures.

Donations are always needed to help care for these precious reptiles, and you can save your Canadian Tire money to help the Society purchase light bulbs and supplies as well as a generator. They also welcome gift cards to Superstore to buy vegetables for the lizards — one of the largest expenses at about $70 per week.

But most of all, you can pledge to never buy an animal from a pet store. There are so many homeless reptiles right here in Richmond that it will be decades before responsible reptile-loving residents have any trouble finding just the right new family member.

Christie Lagally is a volunteer pet columnist. View her blog at
© Copyright (c) Richmond News

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