Posts tagged animal overpopulation

It finally happend in LA: Dog, cat and rabbit sales banned at pet stores

Great! Fantastic! That’s amazing! Imagine all the animals saved! Those were the responses I’ve heard as I spread the word that LA  banned the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in retail outlets today (ref: Los Angeles Times).

And, naturally, I agree.

You don’t have to wait for election day to make progress, and that’s what they did in LA.  Now, only animals for adoption can be provided through retail outlets.  This is a move to start solving the pet homelessness problem at the source!

Overflow of kittens at a Pacific NW shelterLA is a huge market for pets stores who frequently sell dogs that are trending as popular, such as Chihuahuas after the release of Legally Blonde.   There are so many animals homeless in LA that rescue groups all over the country actually export dogs out of LA to find them homes elsewhere.

And the relief that shelter workers will get is just one more reason that banning the retail sale of animals is so important.  Imagine each day you are faced with hundreds and even thousands of homeless animals, many who will be euthanized. This is a quote from one LA newspaper article earlier this month:

“In the 2011-12 fiscal year, city animal shelters took in more than 57,000 animals — 35,405 dogs and 21,883 cats — and euthanized 25 percent of the dogs and 57 percent of cats.” — ref: Daily News LA

Congratulations to Councilman Paul Koretz, Los Angeles Department of Animal Services and all the animal advocates and organizations who pressed for this ban.

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New Westminster council considering a ban on retail pet sales thanks to…

Kathy Powelson and the Paws for Hope Animal Foundation (ref: Royal City Record).

It’s amazing what can happen when we let our elected leaders know exactly what our communities need (especially when it doesn’t cost the city to make these changes).  With courage and tenacity, Powelson and her fellow advocates are speaking up for what many people believe is a good step to help end the euthanasia of 3-4 million cats and dogs that end up in North American animal shelters every year (ref:  HSUS, American Humane Association).

Whenever I have spoken to representatives or leaders of the cities where we live and suggest that we ban the sale of animals, the most common response I’ve gotten is “Well, I’ve never thought about it” or “No one has ever suggested it.”

So thank you Kathy for not only suggesting it, but advocating for significant change to help animals.

Check out Paws for Hope Animal Foundation at pawsforhope.org.

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Mississauga and the political fight to end puppy mills

Scruff at a Richmond, BC shelter

The city council of Mississauga, ON (a close neighbor to Toronto, ON) banned the retail sale of dogs and cats in order to fight against pet overpopulation and protect the public from buying unhealthy dogs shipped from puppy mills (Mississauga Star).  (Thanks to my friend Helen Savkovic for this link!)

But just like in Richmond, BC, it seems the biggest opposition to pet store bans and the fight against puppy mills is not the pet industry, puppy mills themselves or even pet store owners!  It’s the media’s strange lack of research on these issues before they go to press — a phenomenon so eloquently addressed by Jennifer Kaiser of Actions Speak Louder Calgary in her article entitled The Number Twenty.

It should also be noted the British Columbia Supreme Court made a ruling on the appropriateness or the degree to which it was reasonable for municipalities to ban the sale of dogs in pets stores (see International Bio Research v. Richmond (City)). The Honourable Mr. Justice Savage ruled in the following statement.

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 rational connection between the Bylaw [Richmond retail puppy sale ban] and its objective. (ref)

Helen Savkovic also reminded me that road blocks to legislative bans, such as in Toronto, Richmond and now Mississauga, result from incomplete research by city staff as shown in this quote:

[Pet store owners] said all levels of government should go after the animal mills, not just store owners; that they only buy from reputable breeders; and that most mill animals are sold online, not at stores. No statistics are available to verify that, city staff said. (ref)

Considering the municipal oversight that cities have over homeless dogs and cats in their city, it’s amazing that more data isn’t mined by city staff on the source of animals in their city.  That may not be due to staff intent, but just lack of money to put towards addressing the issues at hand.

But as advocates in Richmond, BC, we did address the issue of online sales through the website Kijiji to determine if our ban on the sale of dogs in pet stores would pale in comparison to online sales — as so many nay-sayers suggested.  It turned out that in Richmond, which was the only domain we could address, Kijiji was simply an advertising avenue to direct people to pet stores.  Here is my testimony to city council addressing online pet sales in Richmond.

Nov. 8, 2010

Dear Honorable Councillors and Mayor Brodie:
I am grateful that you have taken such humane and responsible steps to improve the lives of our animals in our city.
In the past year and especially the past month, we have heard many arguments against banning the sale of dogs in pet stores. While we are all aware that banning the sale of dogs in pet stores will not totally solve the puppy mill problem in Canada, it will help to alleviate the issue of homeless animals here in Richmond, BC. Nevertheless, I would like to address two recurring issues regarding this ban.
The first issue tabled several times is the suggestion that this ban is unfair because it does not influence the online sale of dogs, specifically on the Kijiji website, which allows dog sales. While there are hundreds of people selling dogs in British Columbia on Kijiji, a search limited to Richmond revealed just six  advertisements. Four of the Kijiji ads were for dogs at the Pets Wonderland [retail] store and one was for a dog purchased at Pet Habitat in Richmond Centre that someone was trying to sell off. The last ad was for a single puppy being re-homed. It doesn’t appear that Richmond puppy mills are using Kijiji to advertise their dogs. However, pet stores are.
Second, there has been the outstanding question, both in Council’s discussions as well as in the media, that banning or regulating the sale of dogs in pet stores should not be dealt with on the municipal level, and that regulation should come from the Province. I would argue that this issue was, in fact, appropriate to be dealt with at the municipal level because it is the responsibility of the city to allocate money for our local animal shelter and to regulate pet stores via the business licensing bylaws.

In the future, I am hopeful that the Province of British Columbia will take action to regulate the breeding and sale of all animals, but currently the municipal government has the power to improve the state of animal welfare in Richmond through modification of business practices.
Furthermore, the Humane Society International has formally recommended that city councils take this same bold step at the local level. Your actions here today are a perfect example of the adage, “Think globally, act  locally”, and I thank you for that.
Your careful and thoughtful administration of this proposal and amendment to ban the sale of dogs in pet stores has resonated around the world. Thank you again.
With my respect,

Christie D. Lagally
Animal Welfare Advocacy Coalition (AWAC)

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Approaching 75,000 cats fixed in Lynnwood!

T-shirt at the FCSNP in Lynnwood, Wash.

The Feral Cat Spay Neuter Project (FCSNP) in Lynnwood, Wash. is approaching a phenomenal event.  This June they are passing a benchmark of spaying or neutering 75,000 cats!  Here is a brief interview with Executive Director, Lauren Glickman.

Q: An exciting milestone for the Feral Cat Spay Neuter Project (FCSNP) is coming up as you approach fixing the 75,000th cat.  Did this milestone come sooner than you expected?

A:  The milestone seems right on time. We’ve been altering between 7500 and 9500 cats per year for the past 5 years now, so we’ve been able to predict with some accuracy when these milestones will occur.

Q:  How many years has FCSNP been in operation? Has your rate of cat surgeries increased over the years to reach this milestone?  Is there a maximum capacity for the Lynnwood clinic? 

A: In operation, since 1997 and rate statistics are shown below.    Capacity is 50 cats/day.

Cats altered per year at FCSNP

Q:  How far do people drive to bring cats to the clinic?   What is the overall region you serve?  

A:  People have come all the way from Forks, WA and also from Gray’s Harbor, Tri Cities, Yakima and Lewis County.  Most of our cats are from Pierce, Snohomish, King, and Grays Harbor counties.

Q:  I understand you are implementing a campaign in Everett to let people know about your services.  Who are you hoping to reach with this campaign? 

A:  We are hoping to reach out to people who live in areas where there are free-roaming cats as well as low-income folks who want to do the right thing but can’t always afford it.

Q:  How do you plan to celebrate this milestone?  Do you have any other milestones on the horizon?    

A:  On August 18th we are going to host an Open House at the Clinic in Lynnwood.  We will have drinks and snacks and will chat and enjoy each other’s company.  We have a big Sexless Soiree Auction with a Twist coming up on September 15th.  That’s our big fundraiser for the year and it’s super playful and fun!

Volunteers at the FCSNP

Q:  How can people help out at FCSNP?

A:  People can help FCSNP in many ways.  Monthly donations are probably one of the best ways… a small recurring monthly donation makes a huge difference in what we’re able to accomplish.  Donations of towels, auction items, carriers, bleach, garbage bags and Costco gift cards are always welcome.  People can volunteer in a variety of ways.  Our website www.feralcatproject.org describes the many volunteer positions available.

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CBC’s Doc Zone Features Richmond’s Cat Sanctuary (Jan. 6th!)

Richmond’s own cat sanctuary founded and operated by the Richmond Animal Protection Society will be featured in CBC’s documentary Cat Crazed.

Check out Bountiful Films.

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