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