Posts tagged pet store reform

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.

See: http://www.bclocalnews.com/richmond_southdelta/richmondreview/news/119949494.html

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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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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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Missouri’s Prop. B PASSES! Breeders limited to 50 dogs!

On the cusp of Richmond City Council ready to vote on a ban on the sale of dogs in pet stores this coming Monday, Nov. 8th, Missouri’s voters have taken matters into their own hands as well.  Tonight they passed Proposition B to implement new regulations for dog breeders in that state!  See the news.

Effective next year, the law will limit breeders to 50 dogs and outlaw wire floor cages amongst many other improvements for these facilities.

This new law in Missouri, a state with thousands of puppy-mill facilities, will make a difference all the way out to Richmond, BC.  In the last week alone, two dogs were surrendered to the Richmond Animal Shelter who had been purchased at local pet stores.  Both dogs (Spyder is shown left) could be traced back to puppy-mills in Missouri, where the Hunte Corporation, a puppy broker, buys many of its puppies for sale at auction.

THANK YOU, MISSOURI!  You made a real difference for our dogs tonight.

But the news doesn’t stop there.  The City of Langley has voted to have staff report back on options to curb puppy-mills right here in BC.  See the article on puppy laundering.

A special ‘thank you’ to Corry Anderson-Fennell of the BC SPCA and Helen Savkovic at the Richmond Animal Protection Society for contributions to this post!

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Humane Society International urges councils to ban retail dog sales

In a powerful statement to the world, the Humane Society International is encouraging all cities to ban the sale of dogs in pet stores and praises Richmond, BC councillors for having the courage to make the first step towards a puppy-mill free world.

“We hope that councils across Canada will do likewise and ban the commercial sale of puppies through pet stores.”  ~ HSI

Furthermore, while Richmond Council has been criticized by some for their methods of banning instead of regulating the pet sale industry, the HSI has made it clear that banning was not only the ethical thing to do, it was the right way to stop puppy-mill sales.

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City or province? Whose job is it to protect our animals?

Tracey Garbutt Photo

Last week, the Richmond News took a bold position with the editorial “City takes a bit out of suffering” and their view seems to be the prevailing one in Richmond.   However, the Richmond Review editor was unsure as to where his paper stood and posed the issue (and the often-cried protest of the pet industry), of  animal welfare being a provincial issue.

Here is my response to that editorial, and hopefully this clears up a few incorrect facts.

Dear Editor,

I am grateful for your editorial (Animal Welfare a provincial issue).  Your position on whether the issue of banning vs. regulating animal sales by the city, is a valid concern, but it appears to be based on several pieces of wrong information.

First, you state that the ban “won’t do anything to improve animal welfare in Richmond” and “purchases that end badly for the pet—represents a tiny fraction of puppies being raised in the city”.  This is incorrect.  In fact, based on the number of dogs surrendered and abandoned at the Richmond animal shelter, 57% are purebred dogs and roughly 1/2 of those came into the Richmond Animal Shelter with either admission by the owner that the dog was purchased at the Richmond pet store or an actual receipt from the pet store.  This ‘tiny fraction’ you mention, represents around 90-100 dogs per year in Richmond.  So, actually, stopping the sale of animals in pet stores will make a difference, at least in the number of animals who end up at the Richmond Animal Shelter and the suffering they endure beforehand.

Second, you state that “this shouldn’t be city business. The provincial government level—and the B.C. SPCA, which handles animal welfare issues for the province—is where these issues should be dealt with.”  Actually, this issue is very much ‘city business’ because it is the city that doles out the money to pay for our animal shelter to be filled with dogs from pet stores, and it’s the city that controls and regulates the pet stores via the Business licensing bylaws.  In fact, this is very much in the jurisdiction of the city, and since the pet stores continue to deny that they are purchasing from puppy mills, despite all evidence to the contrary by both CBC Marketplace and the BC SPCA, the city did what they could to regulate the pet stores and protect it’s animal shelter from abuse by industry animal dumping — a shelter that is not run by the SPCA, but by RAPS.  And even for those cities that have shelters operated by the SPCA, it was the BC SPCA that recommended that Richmond ban the sale of dogs by amending Richmond’s business licensing bylaw.

Furthermore, despite the fact that it seems to be the popular statement in the last week to say “it’s the Province’s job to regulate dog breeding and sales”, I have yet to see even one response from the Province or any indication they are going to do anything about this issue. And why would they?  It’s the city governments that suffer the costs and see the cruelty involved when animals are sold in their cities, and the Province can’t regulate what dogs breeders are doing in the States.  So unless the Province is prepared to amend the business licensing bylaws for all BC municipalities to ban the sale of dogs in pet stores — which I certainly hope they do — , the City Council was right to spend their time on this difficult and heartbreaking issue.

Respectfully,
Christie Lagally
Animal Welfare Advocacy Coalition

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