Posts tagged ban dogs and cats from pet stores

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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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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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.

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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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St. John’s Newfoundland receives retail sale ban proposal

Dean Maher, former Toronto city council candidate, has made a proposal to the city council in St. Johns Newfoundland to ban the sale of dogs and cats from pet stores.  See The St. Johns Telegram.

The disturbing part of this story is that St. John’s city Coun. Sheilagh O’Leary and chairwoman of the city’s animal care and control committee, is quoted as saying “Staff have really felt they’ve had a good relationship with the pet shops.”

This is the biggest myth about pet stores — that just since there is no outward facing problems with the pet shop, that it must be a perfectly ethical business.  This is not the case.  Just because cities don’t have visible “problems” with pet stores doesn’t mean those stores aren’t adding to animal homelessness or purchasing their dogs from puppy mills or backyard breeders in a neighboring city.  In order to sell lots of puppies you have to have lots of puppies, and lots of puppies come from puppy mills.

For resources on how to ban the sale of dogs and other animals 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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Ban on pet store puppy sales can’t come quick enough

By Christie Lagally, Richmond News September 29, 2010

When the BC SPCA wrote to Richmond city council about their support to ban the sale of dogs in storefronts last March, they included a reference to a CBC Marketplace documentary about how Canada’s pet stores, especially PJ’s Pets and Pet Habitat, were supplied by puppy-mill broker, Hunte Corporation.

I was hesitant to look at this video, because I already knew the horrors of puppy mills and the connection to pet stores. When I finally decided to sit down and watch, I learned that things are even worse for pet store animals than I previously thought.

In the last few months, animal welfare advocacy groups have applauded the actions of city councils all over North America as more and more cities are considering banning the sale of animals in pet stores. To date, Albuquerque, South Lake Tahoe, West Hollywood, and Austin, Texas have banned the sale of dogs and/or cats in pet stores.

As a result, a local Albuquerque shelter is now reporting a 23 per cent increase in adoptions and 35 per cent decrease in euthanasia according to a MSNBC reporter Rebecca Dube. (See article).

There are many reasons for this swell of interest and it varies from city to city. As in Richmond, councillors and residents want to stop the flow of animals from puppy mills and backyard breeders by ending retail sales of these animals.

Most supporters cite inhumane or just unkind conditions for the puppies from the breeding facility through their sale at the pet store. However, treating puppies as products is only half of the story for many of these young dogs.

The connection between homeless pets and purchasing animals at pet stores may not seem obvious to a passer-by at a Richmond mall. It seems if you spend $1,400 on a pet-store puppy, why would you surrender it to a shelter or abandon it on the street?

The reality is that puppies aren’t puppies for very long. At a pet store, what you buy is a puppy, but within a month or two, what you have is a dog — a real dog, that poops, urinates, barks, needs to be walked, must be spayed or neutered, requires vet visits, vaccinations, training, grooming, a yearly city license, leashes, collars, blankets, bones, bowls, water dishes, toys and approximately 12 years of daily feeding and care.

People are often surprised by the sheer magnitude of work required, and they surrender their purchased pets to our local animal shelter often within a year or two after their purchase.

When puppies are not provided with the proper care, like a child, they do not develop properly and will have health or behaviour problems as young adults. Certainly, not all rescue dogs have these issues, but many do and it’s a totally preventable consequence of puppies purchased without proper forethought or to people who should never own pets in the first place.

Yet, with so much money to be made through the sale of dogs, cats and other animals, apparently the conscience of pet store owners, puppy brokers and breeders is not enough to stop the cruelty to these animals both before they get to Richmond’s pet stores and their possible fates after.

That is why city council will once again be discussing the ban for storefronts.

We must speak up and tell our city to stop pet stores and backyard breeders from filling our animal shelter with hundreds of dogs.

Christie Lagally is a volunteer pet columnist. View her blog at

© Copyright (c) Richmond News

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