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Cities seeking to restrict pet store animal trade

Friday, August 13, 2010

05/10/10×Update: Richmond to ban sale of dogs from stores. Kudos to the city council of Richmond, BC, which this week made their city the 1st in Canada to agree to prohibit the sale of pets from stores. See the news story here

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August 13, 2010

A Toronto city council candidate has proposed a by-law to prohibit the sale of live animals from pet stores. If Toronto were to go that route, it would join a handful of other municipalities in Canada that are seeking to tackle the crisis of pet overpopulation by restricting animal sales from retail outlets.

Coquitlam, B.C., is currently considering a ban on pet store sales of unspayed and unneutered rabbits — following the example of Kelowna, which enacted such a bylaw in 2008. The measure is intended to counter feral rabbit overpopulation, which is plaguing municipalities across the province. The primary source of the burgeoning bunny populations appears to be pet rabbits that escape or are turned loose by their owners, and then go on to breed like, well, rabbits.

Another B.C. city, Richmond, has banned the retail sale of any rabbits, sterilized or not. Widening the debate beyond rabbits to include other companion animal species, Richmond is also considering a by-law to prohibit pet stores from selling all live animals.

In the United States, several cities have banned or are considering banning animal sales from pet stores. Since a ban was introduced in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2006, local shelter animal adoptions have increased 23 percent and euthanasia at shelters has decreased by 35 percent.

pup in cage
The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS…) believes that the best place to acquire a pet is from a reputable animal shelter, and we urge Canadians not to buy pets through classifieds, the Internet or pet stores. Why? These are the main points of sale for the puppy and kitten mill industries, in which animals are mistreated, neglected and bred continuously to maximize profit. In general, responsible breeders do not sell their puppies or kittens to pet stores, because they want to meet their buyers in person to ensure each animal goes to a suitable home.

A pet bought at a store is often an impulse buy, which makes future abandonment of the animal more likely. Meanwhile, thousands of adoptable animals crowding shelters across Canada continue to go without homes.

We welcome the restrictions on retail animal sales that are being implemented and considered by cities across Canada. They will likely prove to be a useful tool in the fight against pet overpopulation and inhumane breeding operations.

What you can do:

  • Write to your mayor and municipal councillor, and ask them to consider legislation to restrict the sale of live animals from pet stores. At the very least, the retail sale of unneutered and unspayed animals should be prohibited.

  • Email, call or write to stores that sell kittens, puppies and other animals, and tell them that you will not shop there until they stop selling animals and start selling pet supplies only. Tell them they can put their cages to better use and build goodwill in the community by displaying animals up for adoption from local shelters or rescue groups — as many other pet stores do.
  • Encourage everyone you know to adopt pets rather than buy them.
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