Pet store ban on cat and dog sales

A new proposal to make it illegal to sell these pets in stores
This issue will be debated by the city in new year
Kris Scheuer
(Written Aug. 13 for Town Crier.)

Dean Maher with his poodle Betty. Photo courtesy of Dean Maher.

If Dean Maher has his way, people won’t be asking, ‘How much is that doggy in window?’
The Ward 20 council candidate wants the city to ban the sale of cats and dogs from all Toronto pet stores. The issue is up for debate at city hall.

“The overall goal is to reduce unwanted pets,” Maher said Aug. 10.
Many unwanted animals end up in shelters and in some cases, if their health is particularly bad, they are euthanized.
In 2009, the Toronto Humane Society had 4,701 cats and 1,382 dogs and a total of 394 were euthanized, according to information Maher obtained from the organization.

Maher said there’s more education of pet owners when they buy from a breeder or shelter so this can lead to a better match and fewer unwanted dogs and cats.
He’s also concerned pet store dogs aren’t getting enough exercise.
“I challenge any pet store owners to say they take dogs for half hour walks outside,” he said.
Maher said there’s no way to know for sure where pet stores obtain their dogs and cats from but some of them use puppy and cat mills.
Dr. Kenneth Hill with the Bloor Mill Veterinary Hospital supports the proposed ban.
“By banning the sale of kittens and puppies from pet stores, the puppy and kitten mills who supply the pet stores will have a limited market to sell their stock,” he wrote in an email to the Town Crier Aug. 12.
“Sitting in a cage for often weeks on end in a pet store waiting to be purchased is not the environment to promote proper development,” Hill added. “Too often the end result is a pet who is psychologically, emotionally or developmentally challenged.”
This can increase the chance of pet abandonment.
Hill suggested people look at shelters or humane societies as a place to buy a pet.
“There are thousands of loving pets waiting for adoption into a home,” he said.
As of March 28, there are 27 registered pet stores in Toronto and 11 of them sell cats or dogs or both, according to Maher’s research.
One of the stores selling dogs and cats is PJ’s Pets.
But the chain’s director of marketing Stacey Halliday says their stores follow proper protocol to keep the animals in good health.
“They (dogs) are routinely taken out on the floor and have regimented exercise requirements for each breed,” she said.
There’s vet care, inspections and clean-up regimes to ensure pets are in good condition while in the store and before they are sold, Halliday said.
The company provides customers with a 10–15 page “puppy portfolio” to help match buyers with the right dog for them. And pet owners get a health history, including a list of prior vaccinations.
“We are trying to match you with the best type of pet and breed for your lifestyle,” she added. “We do everything we can to encourage pet ownership.”
Critter’s Castle Pet Shop on Queen Street in the Beach doesn’t sell cats or dogs even though they get plenty of requests, said owner Sonja Pavlovska.
“You need proper conditions for it not just to make money,” she said. “You can’t keep dogs full-time in a cage … Even half hour or an hour (outside) isn’t enough.”
Maher hopes the current city council will vote on this issue before the Oct. 25 election.
“It looks likely it will be up to the next council to deal with,” he concluded before the issue was to go before the licensing and standards committee Aug. 13.
The Licensing and Standards Committee voted to have the issue dealt with in the new year by the newly-elected city council.


4 responses to “Pet store ban on cat and dog sales

  1. Well, wrong move I think. i have been buying pets and yorkies for years. Nothing happened. Yorkies are fine if you take good care of them.

  2. Totally agree with Dean’s proposal. This also highlighted another real need in Toronto: for the city to hear from residents! I was one of 30 people who showed up to licencing and standards committee. pre-registered to make a deputation. They just ducked this and told eveyone to come back next year. Lack of repect for citizens is legacy for outgoing councillors.

    • Ken,
      I can imagine it was frustrating.
      I heard the committee debate whether or not to listen to the 30 people signed up to make deputations about whether to ban the sale of cats and dogs from pet stores.
      I was at city hall watching the committee (on a TV broadcast from my press office) as I worked on other stories waiting for that issue to come up. The argument some committee members gave was that the issue had no staff report, no recommendations and therefore no matter what what deputants said that day the issue had to come back to the next-elected council to deal with in January. In other words, the committee had not power to make a decision that day and the next committee meeting would be comprised of an entirely different group of councillors. After the election, all the committees will be made up a a new bunch of old and new councillors.
      In the end, it’s true none of that is the deputants fault as they were informed they could make deputations and took time out to come down to city hall to make their voices heard on this issue. Plus it would not be the first time deputants made a case for or against an issue that was deferred with no decision that day. In other words, even though it may have been frustrating for people to make a deputation without a decision that day, I imagine it was incredibly frustrating to be told that people wasted their time coming down only to be told not to bother. In fact, maybe some people may not bother to show next time?

    • Ken, also I wrote about the proposal to ban sales of cats and dogs in pet stores the day before it went to the committee. It was going to press the day of the committee, so I interviewed a few pet stores owners, four residents, a vet and the person proposing it Dean. Sorry I did not get a chance to interview you for the story. Perhaps, I can do that another time.

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