Posts tagged pet store reform

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.

Christie Lagally
Animal Welfare Advocacy Coalition

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Richmond Councillors ban pet stores sales of dogs !!!

Yes, really! I can hardly believe it myself….


We did it and you did it! Tonight, Richmond City Councillors unanimously voted to amend the business license bylaw to effectively ban the sale of dogs in Richmond pet stores! Tonight, we celebrate, because in the days and weeks ahead, a few less animals will suffer for pet stores’ profit!

There will be some additional work in the days ahead regarding implementation of the changed bylaw.  The amendment will require a 1st, 2nd and 3rd reading before council and some public consultation for implementation.

Thank you everyone for all your hard work!

Christie Lagally
Animal Welfare Advocacy Coalition

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Puppy-mill issue is in center court

The BC SPCA has seized 14 dogs from a suspected puppy-mill in Abbotsford. See article on CTV.

Marcie Moriarty, Director of Cruelty Investigations for the BC SPCA, has highlighted the need for municipalities to ban the sale of dogs in pet stores.  CTV has published Oct. 4th as the date for Richmond City Council to discuss this issue.

This comes right as we are all preparing to speak to council on Oct. 4th for the General Purposes Committee meeting, albeit the agenda item is still tentative until we hear from City Hall.

If you haven’t already sent a letter to the Mayor and Councillors regarding your support of the Ban on the Sale of Dogs in Storefronts, please email today to:

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Animal welfare history in the making

This morning I got an email from a Richmond resident regarding the process by which council is considering the proposal to Ban the Sale of Dogs in Storefronts.  This is an excellent query, so here’s a little history and some information on current events.

Richmond’s petition to stop the sale of animals in pet stores was started during a RAPS board meeting, and was based on the need to stop the steady stream of dogs, cats, rabbits, guineas pigs and birds that were purchased at local pet stores and quickly surrendered to the Richmond Animal Shelter.  A new balance between incoming animals and re-homed animals had to be established.  Hence, the need to stop retail sales of animals.  The petition has been circulated by volunteers and by the BC SPCA.

In 2009, Councilmen Ken Johnston brought forth a proposal to Richmond’s council to Ban the Sale of Dogs in Storefronts.    That proposal was considered during the March 2 General Purposes Committee meeting.  See minutes here.

During that meeting, committee members asked staff to research items further, but as of Sept. 1, this issue has not been put on the General Purpose Committee agenda. We are encouraging council to put this issue on the Oct. 4th General Purposes Committee agenda.

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Animal Welfare Advocacy Coalition now on Facebook!

You can now join forces with the Animal Welfare Advocacy Coalition (AWAC) via Facebook.  Search for “Animal Welfare Advocacy Coalition”  (location: Richmond, BC).  Request to join!

See you on Facebook!


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Converting a pet store to a humane and profitable business

Kudos to my friend Helen for sending this wonderful story about a pet store that made the change to stop selling dogs.

This pet store owner used to sell dogs from Hunte Corporation, a well-known broker and distributor of puppy-mill animals, and came to see how Hunte was lying to him about their cruel business.  Pet stores in Canada, including Pet Habitat, PJ’s Pets and Petland all sell puppies from the Hunte Corporation.

This article from Best Friends shows how a pet store owner came to see the truth.  Click here.

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CBC’s Marketplace exposes Canada’s PJ Pets and Pet Habitat

Who do you trust when it comes to investigative research on puppy mills?  On March 2, Richmond’s Pet Habitat and PJ’s Pets owners spoke to city council saying that this CBC report was one-sided and had been removed by CBC.  That, of  course, was a lie, and CBC’s research stands.  PJ’s Pets and Pet Habitat are purchasing their animals from Hunte Corporation that sources puppies from known puppy mills in the States. If these stores won’t admit to, let alone take responsibility for, their sales of abused and neglected animals, than we must instead.  Check out this documentary on CBC:

How not to buy a puppy! on CBC’s Marketplace

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