Cities Banning Sales of Pets
By Tom Ryan
The city of Richmond in British Columbia is considering
banning all sales of dogs in an effort to reduce impulse buys as well as
to crack down on puppy mills. Adopting from animal shelters and buying from
private breeders would still be allowed.
The move follows a law passed last year by the town of
South Lake Tahoe, CA to ban the retail sale of dogs and cats. Last month,
West Hollywood, CA passed a law banning retail animal sales, though pet
stores will be permitted to offer animals for adoption.
“Banning sales from retail stores is a first step in sending
a message to puppy mills and will reduce the number of dogs surrendered to
shelters,” said Richmond City Council member Ken Johnston according to the Globe and Daily
Mail. Under a law that takes effect April 1, bunny sales were to be prohibited
in Richmond due to Easter-driven sales that had caused a rabbit population
explosion in the past.
The two major U.S. pet stores, Petco and PetSmart, don’t
sell dogs and cats in their shops but offer them up for adoption.
The Richmond ban would apparently be the first of its
kind in Canada and it has met opposition from the city’s three pet store owners.
Mr. Johnston pointed to a Canadian television documentary
that showed that some dogs sold in pet stores were from puppy mills, which
are large-scale commercial breeding facilities known for producing unhealthy
dogs under deplorable conditions. The Humane Society of the U.S. has
also linked sales in pet stores to puppy mills. Finally, the Richmond Animal
Protection Society notes that shelters see a steady stream of surrendered dogs,
originally bought from pet stores, whose owners lose interest after their purchase
outgrows the puppy stage.
“The pet stores don’t screen their prospective owners,
and they can go buy a pet the same day,” said Helen Savkovic, an employee
at the Richmond Animal Protection Society. “We’re not in favor of impulse
purchases of animals.”
But pet store owners contend that they provide a reputable
selling environment and offer guarantees. If pet selling is banned
at retail, the alternative is selling dogs over the internet, classified
ads or roadside sales that often have little oversight.
“Banning the sale of dogs in stores will drive consumers
to other sources that do not offer the benefits and accountability pet stores
do,” said Louis McCann, executive director of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory
Council of Canada.
Discussion Questions: Do you think
retail store sales of dogs and cats should be banned? Are there ways
to improve on the current system so that all retailers perform to a standard
that provides for the welfare of animals sold in stores?
- Cities consider bans on shopping-mall
pet stores – The Globe and Mail
- L.A. Unleashed – Los Angeles